For some reason that I can’t quite fathom, elections for Sheriff tend to be some of the strangest in the Commonwealth, and that’s not limited at all to Prince William County. These vicious political brawls involve some of the most colorful characters ever to run for election and the information that comes out during these races is often mind-boggling. Our neighbors in Stafford and Loudoun Counties are in the midst of such craziness right now, and I wouldn’t be surprised if these down-ticket races end up being some of the strangest that Virginia has ever seen.
Let’s take a look first at what’s going on in Stafford. Chuck Feldbush is trying to unseat a long-term incumbent and took the opportunity to make a stump speech at a rally where some locals were demanding the release of a guy named Neli Latson. Latson is being prosecuted for malicious wounding and three counts of assaulting a law enforcement officer, which is kind of a strange place for a Sheriff candidate to show up. What’s really interesting about this stump speech was that it was delivered following an “blessing” by a minister who quoted Malcom X and called for African-Americans to start a bloody race war in Richmond.
You know brothers and sisters we believe in non-violence. But brother Malcom X said something very important. He says “the ballot or the bullet.” We want to do the same justice. But if justice cannot fall our way I call forth the warriors of the Black community to stand with this brother, let us march on Richmond. If marching is not enough, then Richmond get ready for bloodshed. And I say that in the name of God, Amen.
After standing by and listening to this call for violence on behalf of someone who hurt a Sheriff’s deputy so badly the guy had to retire for medical reasons, Feldbush gives a stump speech saying the current Sheriff needs to be replaced. Are you kidding me? With whom, someone who participates in rallies where Malcom X devotees call for a race war?
The sideshow over in Loudoun County might be a more familiar one to local readers who followed the primary, but it’s gotten even stranger since then. Ron Speakman decided to run as an independent after getting crushed at the convention and is now going after the candidate who defeated him, Mike Chapman, in a way he might have considered doing back during the primary. After hearing in extensive detail about Chapman’s long experience as a federal agent with the DEA, experience that definitely helped him win the Republican nomination, Speakman is telling voters that much of that resume is actually falsified.
Chapman: States that he was the Regional Director for Far East Asia in charge of 13 countries in 2004. FACT: This isn’t true; William Snipes was the actual Regional Director at the time. Chapman is identified in an official 2004 DEA release as “Assistant Country Attaché” in Bangkok.
Chapman: Claims he was the Director for Enforcement and Operations for Northern California in 2006 (originally claiming he supervised “58 counties,” but since there are only 58 counties in the entire state; he now says “multiple field offices”). FACT: The DEA states that it had no such job title; and Chapman is identified in California newspapers from 2006-2008 as an “assistant special agent” or “spokesman” in the San Francisco office.
Would someone running for Sheriff actually falsify their resume in order to win a nominating contest? That’s almost inconceivable, even given that Sheriff’s races tend to be rather bizarre. If this is true, Republicans have nominated someone who can’t possibly unseat Sheriff Simson, even if Simson doesn’t show up for his job frequently as he also works for a private company that sells sports drinks. With accusations that Speakman doesn’t qualify as a candidate because of residency, voters in Loudoun might have to pick between a bum who doesn’t show up for work, a self-promoter who tells tall tales about his experience, and someone who might not be qualified to be on the ballot. That kind of slate just begs for a bloody negative election cycle where voters end up hating all the candidates.
I like the idea of public officials being accountable to the voters. I just wish the process didn’t so frequently resemble a circus.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.
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