by Gary Grant

Guest Editorial Graphic Schilling Show BlogDon’t be fooled, Albemarle voters, by the “Independent” label being thrown around by a couple of candidates in this fall’s Board of Supervisors election. Authentically independent politicians in Jefferson Country are as scarce as inner tubes on a flooded James.

Camouflaged candidates Diantha McKeel and Phillip Seay in the Jack Jouett District race are, in my view, no more Independent — before, during, or after an election — than fierce Republican Ken Boyd (Rivanna District) or staunch Democrat Ann Mallek (White Hall District), neither of whom face election until 2015.

Phillip Seay was sought out, vetted, and convinced by top echelon Albemarle County Republicans to challenge Diantha McKeel for the open Jack Jouett seat being vacated by self-alleged Independent Dennis Rooker. Check Rooker’s history of campaign contributions and receipts and try to convince yourself that he’s not a Democrat. Check the same records on McKeel. She’s about as Independent as Chris Dumler, Terry McAuliffe, or President Obama regardless of how gently she whispers her faux label. As for Seay, who skillfully employs “aw-shucks” Independent-sounding phrases in interviews, I can’t wait until his final campaign finance reports come in after the election. Having once been an Albemarle County Republican Party candidate myself, I imagine that local GOP campaign bundlers are already busy behind the scenes and also timing when to accept the contributions to minimize pre-election headlines.

Even more interesting to me, though, than the simple outing of wolfish partisans in sheep’s Independent label clothing is trying to handicap the potential outcomes of the November 5 Supervisors’ races in Albemarle County.

For the following exercise, you must first accept the labels I presented above: Phillip Seay as a Republican and Diantha McKeel as a Democrat. Also, since additional Scottsville District candidates have until August 16 to come forward, there still might be the possibility of a bona fide Independent or an “Other” in that Supervisors race. So far, only Republican Cindy Burket and Democrat Jane Dittmar are announced for the open “Dumler situation” seat.

Here’s are the fight cards as of August 1:

Rivanna: Ken Boyd (R, Inc., male) – not up for election until 2015

White Hall: Ann Mallek (D, Inc., female) – not up for election until 2015

Scottsville: Cindy Burket (R, female); Jane Dittmar (D, female)

Rio: Rodney Thomas (R, Inc., male); Brad Sheffield (D, male)

Samuel Miller: Duane Snow (R, Inc., male); Liz Palmer (D, female)

Jack Jouett: Diantha McKeel (D/”I”, female); Phillip Seay (R/”I”, male)

Here’s some of what could happen in November, depending on the wishes or whims of possibly 50% of the registered voters in Albemarle County who actually go to the polls.

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors could end up with the following political and incumbent and gender demographics:

  • 5 Republicans and 1 Democrat

(5) Boyd, Snow, Thomas, Seay, Burket and (1) Mallek.

This mix would keep 4 incumbents on the Board and have a 4-2 male-female split.

or

  • 5 Democrats and 1 Republican

(5) Mallek, McKeel, Palmer, Sheffield, Dittmar and (1) Boyd.

This mix would keep 2 incumbents on the Board and would have a 2-4 male-female split.

or

  • 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats

(3) Boyd, Snow, Thomas and (3) Mallek, McKeel, and Dittmar.

This mix would keep 4 incumbents on the Board and would have a 3-3 male-female split.

or

  • 4 Democrats and 2 Republicans

(4) Mallek, McKeel, Sheffield, Palmer and (2) Boyd, Burket.

This mix would keep 2 incumbents on the Board and have a 2-4 male-female split.

or

  • 4 Republicans and 2 Democrats 

(4) Boyd, Snow, Thomas, Seay and (2) Mallek, & Dittmar.

This mix would keep 4 incumbents on the Board and have a 4-2 male-female split.

Of course, there are even more permutations to ponder depending on the gender of any bona fide Independents or “Others” coming forth in the Scottsville District before August 16 and winning or losing on November 5. And don’t forget the potential for successful write-ins in any of the four Supervisors’ races. (Search online for Sally Thomas – Samuel Miller District – 1993 – then a winning Independent write-in; now campaign manager for Democrat Liz Palmer.)

Here’s one sure bet, though. Be certain that the leadership and core volunteers for both the Albemarle County Democrats and the Albemarle County Republicans have already scribbled, counted, and erased these scenarios (and others) on the whiteboards in their respective headquarters.

They’re now busy counting doorknobs and dollars.

It will be a more than interesting next 14 weeks in Albemarle County — waiting for you to be counted on the day that really counts.

Regardless of labels.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Even though Phillip Seay has been endorsed by the Albemarle GOP, he is really a Conservative Democrat…as was his father, a supporter of Watkins Abbit Sr & Jr. Think Lindsay Dorrier and you might identify his "feathers", as in Birds of a Feather.

  2. Even though Phillip Seay has been endorsed by the Albemarle GOP, he is really a Conservative Democrat…as was his father, a supporter of Watkins Abbit Sr & Jr. Think Lindsay Dorrier and you might identify his "feathers", as in Birds of a Feather.

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