Four years ago the endorsement of the Prince William County Republican Committee was a big deal to Don Richardson, but now that he’s been utterly rejected by that committee in favor of Alyson Satterwhite, not having that endorsement is meaningless to him. It’s just one more example of the phenomenal disconnect Don Richardson has maintained between himself and the electorate. He doesn’t just not “get it”, he doesn’t seem to want to.
Four years ago an unopposed Don Richardson narrowly gained the Republican Committee endorsement for his school board race with fewer than twelve votes cast by members of the Gainesville Magisterial District. After narrowly beating the “no endorsement” option that win was trumpeted by Richardson far and wide in this conservative district, implying that Republicans who favor fiscal discipline, accountability and transparency strongly supported him. During this past term Richardson has been little more than an errand-boy of the Superintendent, voting for more spending, less transparency, attacking parents, and supporting utterly inane “solutions” to school overcrowding that garnered fierce public opposition.
Richardson has been an utter disaster. When my then third-grade daughter was given an assignment of writing a letter to Richardson congratulating him on being picked to be Vice-Chairman of the School Board and thanking him for playground equipment that had been installed several years ago at Sudley Elementary School, my suggestion to her was to mention “my Daddy talks about you all the time.” I’m sure I wasn’t the only parent doing that. Richardson has been a frequent topic of discussion in the community, and the conversations often included words not suitable for including in a blog post.
A few weeks ago Don faced off against Alyson Satterwhite in a vote where the entire Republican committee voted, and not just the members within the Gainesville Magisterial District, getting crushed by a vote of 42-14. When an incumbent elected official who has previously been endorsed by the Republican Committee is losing three to one to a political newcomer, that’s a big deal. In Virginia we don’t hire challengers, the conventional wisdom goes, we fire incumbents, and Don Richardson was FIRED.
The Gainesville Times caught up with Richardson in the wake of this rejection and now the decision of the committee doesn’t mean a whole lot.
“Well, you know, the Republican endorsement is nice to have but it was determined by less than 60 people, so I don’t really see that as being as really, how to put it, well, let’s just say I’m going to wait for the judgment of the district because there’s a whole lot more of them than the night the endorsement was made,” he added.
So when a dozen people narrowly pick you against “no endorsement” it’s a big deal, but when five times that number pick your opponent instead, the endorsement simply becomes “nice to have” and doesn’t actually represent any kind of judgment from the electorate. I get it. You lost big time, so now it’s time to wildly spin in an attempt to salvage your rapidly diminishing political career.
I find it fascinating that Richardson claims the only complaint he’s ever heard about his malfeasance on the School Board has involved his unwavering support for the flawed “Math Investigations” program. When you’re so out of touch with the electorate that you don’t even know why they’ve had issues with your tenure from the beginning, you need to pack it in and leave politics.
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