There’s a storm brewing in Loudoun County, and it’s just utterly awful. For some reason I can’t fathom, the Sheriff’s race has become the most prominently blogged about contest in the County, even while far more critical races for State Senate, House of Delegates and the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors are happening that vastly eclipse this race in terms of the impact on Loudoun County residents over the next few years. As people get increasingly distracted by this pathetic political sideshow, the contests that actually matter are being utterly ignored.
It’s not that Ron Speakman strangely decided to mount an independent bid for Sheriff after losing a convention, and then followed it up by sending pictures of male genitalia to a woman a-la-Weiner that makes this race bizarre. It’s that the Republican nominee Mike Chapman has falsified his resume to such an extent that not even the pathetic Steve Simpson campaign has failed to notice. So little of the resume Chapman offered about his law enforcement experience is true that it’s embarrassing beyond belief that Republicans actually nominated this guy. Served on the SWAT team in Maryland? Not true. Served as a regional director for DEA in California? The position he claims to have held never existed. The list goes on, and trying to peddle this kind of hogwash is just going to backfire, and badly. If a candidate’s resume is chock-full of outright falsehoods, he’s going to get eviscerated in a general election, at least if he’s polling high enough to constitute an actual threat.
I ran across someone working for the Simpson campaign today, and they know about all of this. It’s going to be in mail pieces soon, and will burn Chapman to the ground when it hits — even if the guy telling all these stories is a terribly flawed candidate himself. In Virginia, you don’t hire challengers, you fire incumbents, and challengers can’t make the case to fire the incumbent when their own candidacy’s credibility is smoldering in a huge crater. As much as I hate to say it, the awful Simpson is going to get a pass because everyone in this race is outrageously flawed, in which case the incumbent is going to win.
So while Loudoun County bloggers are fiercely battling about this bizarre campaign to the virtual exclusion of all else it would seem, there are candidates who actually could make a far bigger difference for Loudoun County voters that are being pretty much ignored. Utterly excellent board of Supervisors candidates like Suzanne Volpe, Matt Letourneau and Janet Clarke get little support — and even an occasional attack — candidates who could make a tremendous difference for Loudoun County Residents that have suffered under a liberal-leaning regime that has imposed costly regulations on Loudoun County businesses and residents and failed to effectively address the challenges that have emerged over the past four years.
Perhaps even more critical, Loudoun County has several rapidly-narrowing State Senate contests that could make the difference between Dick Saslaw continuing to lead the Senate and having him relegated to sidelines where he belongs. Caren Merrick, the inspiring co-founder of WebMethods is running a tremendous race against Barbara Favola and Patricia Phillips is riding a huge electoral wave that may well swamp Mark Herring this cycle. Changing the balance of power in the Senate is the most significant opportunity to impact the entire state, and right-of-center Loudoun blogs have utterly ignored that an important battleground in that contest is happening right in their own back yard, other than throwing rocks at Dick Black in support of Obama acolyte Shawn Mitchell.
The same is happening with races for the House of Delegates. Either right-of-center blogs are disparaging Republican candidates in Loudoun, or ignoring them. While these races aren’t as crucial for the balance of power in Richmond or control over the agenda for the Loudoun County board, Loudoun County voters have a choice of sending conservatives or liberals to battle for Loudoun in Richmond. In the House, if you pick the liberals, you’re getting nothing next session. That small contingent is going to shrink considerably this election cycle, and hanging your hat on the power of the House Homosexual Caucus isn’t going to be a winner. Besides, small government conservatives like Dave Ramadan could make a huge difference for Loudoun, and so far all bloggers seem to be interested in is that Ramadan can fight back when he gets attacked. Sheesh.
This shouldn’t be construed to mean that a Sheriff’s race doesn’t mean anything. It does. It’s just that a Sheriff doesn’t decide your tax rates, he doesn’t decide what the laws are, he doesn’t control the budget at any level of government, and the only policies he sets (in Loudoun at least) affects a few hundred deputies and not directly the hundreds of thousands of residents of the county. If the Sheriff decides to not show up to work and sell sports drinks instead of doing his job that sucks, but he’s not the deciding vote on whether we require businesses use E-Verify in Virginia to stop unscrupulous employers from employing cheap illegal aliens while the national unemployment rate persists at 9.1%. In Louisiana the Sheriff is on control of everything. In Virginia, that span of control is rather limited.
With 28 days left until the election, I’m hoping the blogs in Loudoun County who consider themselves right-of-center, or even conservative, start paying attention to where the real contests are that make the biggest difference. Many of those folks I consider good friends despite their occasional silly intramural fighting, and I hate to see them get distracted by a race that has all the hallmarks of an entertaining sideshow, but one that doesn’t amount to much at all.
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