In 2011, Loudoun County Republicans were itching to find warm bodies to compete for all Supervisor seats on the County Board. Of the nine nominees for the general election, it was widely believed by party insiders that Shawn Williams was the weakest candidate and would be the last to cross the finish line if he was to make it that far.
Yet, being a candidate and a public official are two different things. Shawn Williams, believed to be the weakest candidate for Supervisor in 2011, has become the strongest and most effective Supervisor on the currently all-Republican Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.
Shawn Williams’ leadership was critical in getting passage for Metro expansion into Loudoun County in 2012. An issue that was originally supposed to pass without fanfare 7-2 or 8-1 ended up being a media circus that ended with a 5-4 passage after anti-public transportation forces in the Loudoun County Republican Committee manufactured hysteria and culture war in an effort to destroy a proven catalyst for economic development.
Metro directly benefitted all of Williams’ constituents in Broad Run District. He performed ably in his first trial by fire on the Board on behalf of his district and his wisdom, leadership, and success resulted in a promotion to Vice Chair of the Board. Simultaneously as Williams was earning respect and accolades from the business community and his constituents, he was losing respect from the activists in the Loudoun County Republican Committee.
The Loudoun County Republican Committee is unique among party organizations in Virginia due to the fact that its membership-to-county population ratio is very low in a large county, but that absolutely no Republican in Loudoun County can secure the GOP nomination for local office without going through the LCRC. The LCRC maintains a firm stranglehold over the nominations process at a level no other county GOP party in Virginia can reach. Furthermore, the LCRC routinely struggles in membership recruitment because its longtime membership consists of the most unsavory, hard-headed, belligerent, hardline extremists in Loudoun County. I have seen curious non-activist Republicans attend an LCRC meeting only to never come back.
When Loudoun County Board Chair Scott York announced his retirement, local LCRC hack Charlie King declared his candidacy. Charlie King is Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio’s lawyer. Eugene Delgaudio is one of the most ridiculous, insane, and embarassing Republican elected officials in the country and happens to also be the favorite Supervisor among LCRC members. This just spells disaster all over doesn’t it?
Not willing to let Charlie King undo the legacy of Scott York were he to win (and winning the general election is quite a stretch), Shawn Williams stepped up and declared his own candidacy for Board Chair. That was when the extremist right wing of Loudoun County went on the attack. They publicized Williams’ arrest record from the previous decade before he got married and got elected to smear him (under the guise of “if we don’t do it, the Democrats will”…if you really cared, you would meet with him in private to work through the issue instead of publishing a hit piece) and demand his immediate resignation from the Board of Supervisors.
When the LCRC needed a warm body to take back the Broad Run District seat in 2011, they propped up a weak candidate in Shawn Williams and gave him praise.
When Shawn Williams proved himself to be an expert negotiator and legislator and saved Metro from death at the hands of extremists, he earned high respect and praise from the people who mattered the most – his Broad Run District constituents whom he protected zealously.
Yet, the LCRC activists felt that Shawn Williams betrayed their values for being on the wrong side of the culture war surrounding public transportation. For that, LCRC activists wanted retribution and payback. Williams vacating his safe Supervisor seat to present a sane, mature option in a GOP primary for Loudoun County Board Chair provided the perfect opportunity for Charlie King and his LCRC extremists to assassinate the character of Shawn Williams in a widely read blog post.
I have known Shawn Williams since 2011. I have met his wife Joy and his kid. He has always been a humble public official who does not seek attention or the limelight. This family does not deserve to be dragged in the mud by their supposed fellow Republicans.
The business community is watching to see how the new Loudoun County Board of Supervisors looks. Though bipartisan, many of these business owners happen to be Republican and will not tolerate extremist, anti-public transportation Republicans who want to make it harder to do business and attract labor to Loudoun County in the 21st century.
The unhinged, irate, extremist ideologues of the LCRC would be content to turn Loudoun County into an undeveloped, rural backwater, yet some have the audacity to complain about lack of broadband access in the western portion of the county. You can’t have it both ways, but how else are you going to engage in character assassination of a family man who has been reformed from the bad decisions of his single days from the confines of your off-the-grid cabin if you don’t have internet?