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Stewart Gets Tea Party Endorsement

By Greg L | 29 April 2013 | Virginia Politics, Prince William County | 9 Comments

Being on the board of directors of a local tea party that is affiliated with the Virginia Tea Party Patriots, I really don’t expect to be surprised by an out-of-the-blue candidate endorsement by them along with a federal/state political action committee called “Middle Resolution PAC.”  Yet I was, so I’m immediately suspicious about how this came to pass after I realized this wasn’t in fact some cruel joke.

To be fair, Corey Stewart has been a fixture at Tea Party rallies in the past, although that’s hardly any inclination of anyone’s allegiance to lowering taxes and corralling spending.  Manassas City Councilman Jonathan Way, who voted last week to hike taxes by 10.4% in the City of Manassas in a single year was another elected official clamoring for his turn in front of a microphone at these events, and we know how that one turned out.  Still, on a board where the big spenders were often a majority, Corey was usually on the smaller-spending side and was trying to cut down the spending increases.

We still have had pretty substantial spending increases during Corey’s tenure on the Board of Supervisors, however.  When Stewart talks about how he cut county government spending, it isn’t really true.  During his tenure property taxes have increased nearly 50%, far more than the rate of inflation and population growth.  In many instances the “cuts” Stewart talked about were merely decreases in the planned rate of spending increases, or spending reductions in “out years” of the five year plan.

Total General Property Taxes and Local Consumer Prince Index, Prince William County, VA

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Change
Total Property Taxes 439,217 481,333 533,470 558,391 621,262 575,483 580,737 603,396 653,567 49%
Average Annual CPI 195.267 201.558 207.344 215.254 214.567 218.085 224.935 229.604 228.667 17%
County Population 354.4 371.2 381.2 388.3 392.9 402.0 409.3 413.4 417.3 17.7%

If you think Corey Stewart is a fiscal conservative, you really need to take a look at this.  He simply isn’t.

Were other supervisors partly responsible for this?  Absolutely.  As Chairman, and as someone who likes to toss around the word “leadership” on a regular basis however, these budget exercises are a leadership test.  If you’re going to sit back and facilitate a tax hike instead of fighting for a better solution - which was entirely the modus operandi for Stewart this year, you failed that test.

One of the drivers of this long-term spending spree was the ridiculous method the county has been using to budget spending.  County Executive Melissa Peacor, in a rare moment of candor talked about budgeting $5 and spending $4 so the unspent funds could be re-allocated towards the end of the year.  This left supervisors with a huge pot of “free” taxpayer money to spend during the doldrums of the summer which has been handed out in true political fashion - to produce votes, reward allies, and earn political loyalty using someone else’s property.  Oftentimes this pot of money amounted to well over $30 million.  Stewart didn’t invent this corrupt system, but he’s the one that drove the hiring of Melissa Peacor who is the chief culprit and he’s done absolutely nothing to stop it despite a persistent stream of outrage expressed over the situation.

Speaking of corruption, the most famous issue (other than the OIT embezzlement scandal) has been the longstanding “discretionary” slush fund that supervisors were using to dole out cash to political friends and allies.  Stewart did absolutely nothing to halt this blatant abuse of taxpayer funds, fought reform at every turn, then tried to take credit for eliminating discretionary funds when he learned he was finally going to lose this battle and then sought revenge the one supervisor with the moral courage to lead the battle to eliminate them.  This disgusting and thoroughly embarrassing  leadership failure should give great pause to anyone considering handing out an endorsement to someone seeking to have greater authority over how public funds are spent.

Stewart recently has been touting how successful he supposedly has been at creating jobs in Prince William County as evidence of his suitability for higher office, another claim that is rather dubious.  Other than ensuring that illegal aliens have ample employment opportunities as construction workers in the county due to excessive residential rezonings, the job creation story in Prince William County should serve as a warning to the rest of the Commonwealth rather than an example.  Unchecked residential growth has continued to shrink the county’s commercial tax base during Stewart’s tenure and to the extent new jobs have been added in the county they have, with but few exceptions (one being local government), been almost entirely within the low wage retail and service sectors.  Between tax-negative residential development and a proportional decrease in high paying jobs in the county the fiscal future of the county has eroded since 2005.

There are legitimate reasons to support Corey Stewart for Lieutenant Governor — crime has decreased, we made some strong progress in discouraging illegal aliens from unlawfully residing in the county, and the tax and spending problems we have could have been considerably worse under a different chairman.  Stewart brings a proven fund-raiser to the statewide ticket as well, which is a positive for the ticket.  I’d still feel a lot more comfortable about a campaign from him that didn’t depend on twisting the realities we face in the county and ignoring some of the corrupt government practices we still haven’t been able to put an end to.

If we’re talking about core Tea Party concerns like lower taxes, smaller government and adherence to the Constitution I can’t see why in the world anyone would think Corey Stewart is the standard-bearer on those issues.  He might not be the worst in that regard, but he certainly isn’t the best by any objective measure.  Any endorsement by the Virginia Tea Party Patriots going forward has become utterly meaningless, and they have done themselves considerable harm to their reputation in doing this.

UPDATE: The Prince William Tea Party didn’t seem to appreciate this endorsement and sent out this message to members.  It’s worth noting that these are Corey Stewart’s constituents, who are probably far more knowledgeable about what Corey Stewart stands for than the folks down in Richmond who made this endorsement.

Dear PWCTPP Delegate:

The Virginia Tea Party Patriot Federation completed a vetting of the candidates for LT. Governor and Attorney General on Saturday, April 27, 2013. After getting feedback from participants, we believe the process was flawed. It didn’t take into account the candidate’s voting records or public records of those candidates that had not held office. It focused on unlikely scenarios, and asked candidates who were their favorite philosopher and economist. It did not address issues.

Therefore, the Prince William Tea Party Patriots does not support the vetting process. We will not endorse any candidate for Lt. Governor or Attorney General recommended by the Federation. Please feel free to vote your conscious at the Republican Convention on May 18, 2013.

Nancy Schiffman
Chairwoman, PWCTPP for the Board of Directors

I’m hearing that a two man executive committee made the selections in this endorsement following a broader review of candidate answers made by a much larger group.  The scorecard for Rob Bell was 95% while the Scorecard for Mark Obenshain was 70% going into this two man panel, but lo and behold after they had a chance to ‘adjust” the results Obenshain gets the endorsement.  I’m also hearing the name Boyd Marcus thrown around a lot, which is rather unusual since Marcus has always been a consultant within the Richmond establishment.  Having him involved in a Tea Party operation is quite an unusual development. 

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  1. VA Cons said on 29 Apr 2013 at 9:12 pm:
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    Was it an official endorsement, or did Stewart simply get the best scoring through the vetting process?

  2. Anonymous said on 29 Apr 2013 at 9:20 pm:
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    After Faisal Gill went down in flames, Corey accepted his help in screening his donors to make sure that terrorists weren’t connected to Corey. If a terrorist gave Corey money, Faisal would tell him and Corey would send the money back. Yeah, Stewart NEVER CONTACTED THE AUTHORITIES ABOUT THIS.

    Heck, anyone comes up to me and says they know who active terrorists are on American soil, and the last thing I’m doing is having them screen donor lists for me. I’m turning them in so AMERICANS DONT DIE.

    Screw you JIHAD COREY. How many people died so you could keep your dirty hands clean?

  3. Anonymous said on 30 Apr 2013 at 7:41 am:
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    Corey Stewart is not a tea party fiscal conservative. I just don’t get why they would endorse him.

  4. Doug Brown said on 30 Apr 2013 at 11:26 am:
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    I would have thought Jackson, Lingamfelter and Stimpson , in that order, would have been preferable to Stewart in keeping with the spirit of the Tea Party.

  5. Craig DiSesa said on 30 Apr 2013 at 3:13 pm:
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    There is a tremendous amount of misinformation in this post. Not sure where you got a 95% Bell score and a 70% score for Obenshain but there was never a % ranking in the process. It was a total score based on the scorecards. Sen. Obenshain simply had the highest score when all the cards were added up. There was absolute objectivity in this process. To imply there are only questions about economists and philosophers is to demonstrate ignorance. And the last bit of misinformation, “A two man executive committee made the selections” is an outright lie. The group of more than 200 people made the selections after spending two days listening to candidates answer over 30 questions each. The questions were designed to see if they had a strong understanding of limited government and free market economics. I was surprised at the lack of depth of some of these candidates when they were put on the spot without a stump speech. I strongly suggest not relying on rumors. It only makes people lose credibility and look foolish.

  6. Anonymous said on 30 Apr 2013 at 3:48 pm:
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    So says a major donor to the Middle Resolution PAC. Are other donors like Boyd marcus and Bill Howell going to weigh in on how this benefits the Tea Party as well?

  7. T2T said on 30 Apr 2013 at 4:20 pm:
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    Only two people deciding on this endorsement … probably over a beer where the results were tallied on a bar napkin. What could go wrong?

  8. Manassasinsider said on 30 Apr 2013 at 8:03 pm:
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    Craig, what I have seen with my own eyes from the Tea party is that Bell was rated the highest legislator by thE Tea Party voting score card.

    If Bell’s votes in the legislature rank higher than Obenshain’s (by the Tea Party’s own standards), HOW IN THE HELL can you guys endorse Obenshain over Bell?

    The Tea Party is no different than the R’s or the D’s. Its a few elites within the group calling the shots. So get the hell off your Tea Party High Horse.

  9. nova1983 said on 30 Apr 2013 at 9:41 pm:
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    “The questions were designed to see if they had a strong understanding of limited government and free market economics.”

    If the above is true, it is a ridiculous basis upon which to endorse a candidate. Understanding limited government and understanding free market economics is far, far different from acting on those principles. Corey Stewart can talk a good game, but he has not walked the walk AT ALL during his years in office. Just take a look at my tax bills here in PWC; they have gone up consistently under Stewart’s leadership. He is not an ideologue; he is not principled in any way. People are saying his big pot of developer money bought that endorsement; I believe them!

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