May 28, 2015

Draft Tim Nank for Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chairman

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.


  1. Phil Tran says:

    Tim Nank is the man.

  2. localgop says:

    I’m sure Nank is nice and has a good resume but name 1 person tht has gone from a non-elected office to chairman of the BOS in Fairfax. There is no such precedent. That outta tell you what the logical choice is. Don’t waste resources opposing Sharon and instead take the Board back. Without 5 votes the Chairman is irrelevant. We stand much better chances of taking the boar than unseating Shaon.

  3. Chris says:

    Sean Connaughton

  4. David Skiles says:

    Tim Nank would be an excellent candidate. He is young, energetic and has the ability to put together a coherent message.

  5. Brian Schoeneman says:

    Local, there is no way we can contest enough seats to win a majority. Lee and Mason are unreachable. I have not heard of anyone who is interested in Providence or Hunter Mill. And John Cook s going to have a very tough race in Braddock.

    Chairman is winnable. Nank is a good candidate, even if he is not currently sitting. He has run a campaign. He has name idea in a blue portion of the county and he will earn it throughout the reat of the county if he gets in. I think this is the most likely chance we have to win on the BOS.

  6. Chris says:

    I think Will Nance would be a better choice personally given his credibility with Cuccienllie supporters, Herrity supporters, and the votes of retired folks. He’s one of the few who can bring the entire coalition together.

  7. Brian Schoeneman says:

    I agree that Will is great. I have talked with him about running and he is just not in a position at work to be able to run – he just got promoted and has a lot more work than he had before.

  8. Lovettsville Lady says:

    I would like to see someone with more name recognition,but NOT Mike Frey. Definitely NOT him.

  9. Local, I wanted to revisit your point briefly – one of the things I really don’t want to see is us not contesting every possible election that we can. That’s been the Bedell strategy, and if we don’t force Sharon to spend money countywide, that’s more money she’ll be able to spend to defeat John Cook.

    We need to be fighting over every precinct in every district. If we don’t, we hand the Democrats easy wins and I don’t want to do that. Ever. Neither does Anthony.

  10. Will Radle says:

    Too many politicians run on personality. What will any of these candidates put forward to measure their performance if elected?

    We have not had a Chairman who advocates for Fairfax County for 20 years.

  11. Personality is important. People want to be able to connect with their elected officials. I agree that it’s important to talk about performance and goals, but those are arguments best left up to the candidates. If Tim decides to jump in the race we can ask him what he thinks we should measure performance on.

    And I agree – we haven’t had a Chairman who has been an effective advocate for Fairfax’s citizens since Tom Davis.

  12. Will Radle says:

    Personality is an important part, but it seems to be the thing we look for first when we draft politicians to run for specific offices. That’s how politicians can end up in offices where they have no vision.

    It is time for an assertive advocate for Fairfax County to fill the Chairman’s seat.

  13. VA Blogger says:

    Local, I agree that our focus needs to be on taking back the Board. Running a strong candidate for Chairman helps moves us toward that goal. The Chairman is one of the 10 votes; there’s no reason we shouldn’t look at the seat as one of the three pickups we need.

    Will, since you want to be Chairman, what vision do you have? Simply badmouthing others isn’t enough.

  14. Will Radle has Personality? says:

    Last time I checked Will Radle was a mindless robot who reminded you of the sketchy pedophile who lived behind the playground.

  15. Steven says:

    If course you’d like to see someone with my name recognition, and bring all their baggage with them…. Will Radle has no personaility that’s why he doesn’t want to run on one. People dismiss grassroots all the time, but personaility and connections with voters drive this action and determine close races. I’m for Fairfax nominating qualified candidates for every race possible and in where there are not qualified candiates developing them internally and externally through appointments….

  16. Will Radle says:

    I am a civic person living in a political world. With 20 years experience serving on state, regional and local public committees as well as nonprofit boards, my focus remains creating effective, sustainable solutions for the challenges confronting our community.

    Our nation is engaged in a global contest and I want us to win. I have put forward a comprehensive plan to eliminate federal taxation of American production by 2021 while eliminating our federal deficit beginning October 2011. I seek to build a track record in local office so I can earn the privilege of tackling these bigger challenges.

    I have a vision and a plan to strengthen Fairfax County. I will put it forward in the next few months. I encourage constructive criticism to help make the plan better. My plan focuses on education, transportation and innovation, of course.

    Sincerely, Will

  17. Will, are you running for President now?

  18. Will Radle says:

    Sorry, I cant’t hear you over the sounds of Marine One! Did you say you want to draft Tim Nank for County Chairman and Will Radle for President now?

  19. localgop says:

    My point is that we shouldn’t be picking up a big pile of poo and hurling it at the wall and praying something sticks. We do not have a strong candidate for Chairman that has a legitimate shot at unseating Sharon. We may have professionally qualified candidates (Tim Nank, Marianne Horinko, Pat Herrity, John Cook, etc), but what we are lacking is a person that has a combination of professional and civic experience all wraped into one.

    We don’t need to unseat Sharon to force change in the BOS. All we need is to pick up Dranesville and Mt. Vernon (assuming we can also hold Braddock, Sully, & Springfield). By picking up those 2 seats, it causes a 5-5 board which forces concessions in governing. Would unseating her be nice? Sure. But is it practical given the lack of legitimate candidate? No. I don’t want to see us run some Brickner/Baise sacrificial lamb for no other reason than “lets challenge everyone.” Run if we have a shot at winning, if we don’t have a shot then focus resources other places.

    By not challenging Sharon we take her coat tails away and will actually help Cook. She won’t be driving out the Braddock vote against him. Will she spend money? Yes. Will she be a powerful fundraiser? No. Other candidates will get money and not her.

    Instead of praying for a legitimate candidate for Chair, we should just be using the Senate candidates for the ticket toppers. You said yourself Brian it’s usually one of those 2 anyway. We have some legitimate strong candidates for Senate (Merric, Spike, Hunt, etc) and they will be much better vote getters than….insert token chairman candidate here.

    Will is right to a certain extent, its time to focus on problem solving policy and not partisan crap. Partisan crap led to the idiots during the primary lynching Herrity for “Herrity Hiked Taxes” and the real policy was the fact that he forced down millions in spending when he could have just sat back and casted a BS protest vote. Just an example, yes, I have others too.

  20. Local, you can’t win if you don’t have a candidate in the race. We have no idea how weak Sharon will be this time around, and we have no idea how strong or what issues will come up that will be effective.

    The Chairman’s race is the top of the ticket for all of the state Senate and state House races, as well as the individual magisterial district races. If we let it go uncontested, we are giving up far too much ground. There is no downside to putting resources into that race. Every door that is knocked on behalf of a chairman candidate is a door also knocked for the state senate and house candidate, the magisterial district candidate, the sheriff candidate, and all of our other down ballot candidates.

    Even if the person doesn’t have the resume and experience of Tom Davis, contesting that race will be of a benefit to all of us throughout the county. It’s the one major seat that unites the County. We can’t ignore it.

    Especially when you recognize that the Chairman job has been a stepping stone to higher office, we can’t afford to let that seat go uncontested, ever.

    The idea that by not challenging Sharon we take away her coattails to help Cook is just not accurate. Those activists are still going to be out there. And with Chap Petersen having a race, you can guarantee that all of his precincts in Braddock are going to turn out.

    Honestly, our Senate field has not been living up to my expectations, but that’s because I think – other than Spike and Caren – the real candidates are waiting to see what happens in redistricting before getting ahead of themselves.

    Policy is great, but policy by itself does not get people elected. As I’ve told Will, you can have the best policy in the world and it may still never happen. First things first. We need to get people into office and then we can focus on policy.

    It’s simply bad politics to not contest Sharon Bulova.

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