When it comes to the fall elections, in Fairfax you have two possible “top of the ticket” races – either the State Senate seat or the Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. For some reason, many folks seem to overlook the Board of Supervisors when considering offices to run for. Many potential candidates would prefer to run for Delegate or State Senate, with its time commitment of a couple of months per year and the wider array of potential issues and subjects to legislate upon – as one Fairfax politico said to me once “The General Assembly is sexy; the Board of Supervisors is hard work.”
But there really isn’t any level of government that has a more direct impact on the lives of folks in Fairfax County than the Board of Supervisors. They run the county government, they set the property tax rate, the run the police and fire department, they get the potholes fixed, they collect trash, they run the local human services programs, they run the libraries and parks, and they determine how much money the Fairfax County Public Schools can waste. The Fairfax BOS administers a budget that is larger than four states – it’s a big deal.
Which is why I’m surprised there hasn’t been more chatter about who intends to run against Sharon Bulova (D – At-Large) for the Chairmanship of the Board of Supervisors.
So far, the only announced BOS candidate I’m aware of is Dennis Husch in Dranesville. Given that the county is in the middle of redistricting, just like the General Assembly, it’s unlikely we’ll start seeing candidates popping up in individual magisterial districts until later this spring. That being said, the Chairman’s race is an At-Large race, so there’s no need to worry about whether the boundaries of the magisterial districts will change – if you’re in the county, you can run.
The logical choice – and my personal favorite – would be Springfield Supervisor Pat Herrity. Unfortunately, the wounds from the bitterly divisive 11th District Republican Primary are still raw, and given the attacks made on Pat for running for multiple offices in the span of three years (he was narrowly defeated by Sharon Bulova in a special election for the Chairmanship in early 2009), he really can’t run this time. I have not heard any interest coming from either Michael Frey (R-Sully) or John Cook (R-Braddock) for the job, either.
That opens it up for an outside candidate to run. The biggest question – and one I have put to a variety of people across the county – is who should we run?
I’m happy to report that I’ve finally started getting an answer. The one name that I’ve heard from multiple people – including a variety of elected officials – is Tim Nank.
For those of you who don’t know Tim, he ran for General Assembly in 2009 against my good friend and fellow maritime lobbyist Mark Sickles in the 43rd district. Tim lives in Kingstowne, he’s a naval reservist and former Bush Administration official with a background in nuclear proliferation. He currently works for ANSER as an senior analyst and is an adjunct professor at Trinity University in DC, just down the street from Catholic University, where I have spent far too much of the last four years of my life.
I first met Tim when he was running for General Assembly and was struck by his intelligence, his ability to connect with people and the strong support he was getting from his wife Beth and his three kids. As a rule of thumb, I always like to see wives and family out with candidates when they’re campaigning or going to events – it’s one way I measure the strength of a candidate.
Tim has demonstrated the ability to run a hard campaign in Democratic territory. He can raise money, as he raised almost $100,000 against a very tough Democratic opponent in one of the more heavily Democratic areas of Fairfax County. And I also have to give him credit – he got into the race late, only announcing in July and was still able to put together a credible campaign. Given the resources and time, I am confident Tim can win this race and get a Republican behind the Chairman’s gavel on the BOS.
We need a strong top of the ticket in Fairfax to anchor turnout for our State Senate, Delegate and Supervisor races. Tim has the potential to be that strong top of the ticket. I think Tim would make a great candidate to run for Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and I hope that those of us who would be supportive of his candidacy can convince him to throw his hat into the ring.