At-Large School Board Candidate Says FCDC Violated Election Rules

Jeannie Armstrong continues her campaign as she awaits results of her appeal to state party officials

In another twist in the Fairfax County Democratic Committee's attempts to endorse at-large school board candidates, former candidate is accusing the committee leadership of failing to follow its own rules, leading to a "process that was ripe for fraud."

Documents submitted to the three Democratic Congressional District Chairs in Fairfax County and the Virginia Democratic Party by Armstrong's campaign contend the committee did not follow minimal procedures to protect the process from fraud, did not have the authority to set new bylaws for a special endorsement election, and did not follow the proper procedures to establish a special election process.

Under the Virginia Democratic Party Plan, the rules of the party in Virginia, the chairs or their appointees must hear the appeal.  

"We're surprised that the other campaign even accepted the endorsement, given how the vote was conducted," said Vince Leibowitz, a consultant on Armstrong's campaign.

The July 26 endorsement election, followed the , creating a rare situation in which the committee had to elect a replacement candidate.

FCDC bylaws did not at that time specify a process for a special election due to withdrawal of a candidate. A process was proposed by the the steering committee and voted on by the assembled committee July 26, prior to the endorsement vote.

Before the vote, Armstrong told the committee she would refrain from running if she lost the endorsement. On Monday, she said she would continue her campaign at least until the party makes a determination about her accusations.

Though Armstrong's campaign directly accuses top leadership of the FCDC of a failure to follow rules, Chairman Rex Simmons said the allegations are unfounded and that the process was legitimate.

"Ms. Armstrong and her campaign knew about the the rules in advance of the vote," Simmons said. "Only when the outcome of the vote was known did they object."

The first round of FCDC endorsements in May upset some members because the party , instead of candidates with a majority, after two ballot votes failed to yield a clear winner.

Maria Allen, who decided to run unendorsed , said Friday she is no longer running for the school board seat.

Allen shared Armstrong's criticisms of the process, pointing out what she says is a flawed system, the rule that a candidate must agree to drop out of the race if not endorsed and partisan politics.

Karen Goff reported for this story. 

JoAnne Norton August 02, 2011 at 03:34 AM
Ms Armstrong did not take the time to file on time in the first place. Two many sour grapes this election.
Marcia Christian August 02, 2011 at 08:54 PM
I heard that our Fairfax County School board election is supposed to be non-partisan.....so anyone should be allowed to run. It doesn't seem like a candidate should get barred by a political committee.
Jane Q. Public August 03, 2011 at 04:21 AM
Knowing that McElveen tried to get the endorsement of FCDC the first time around is the important piece of information here - and the fact that Mr. Moon, Ms. Glassman-Espy and Mr. Velkoff finally, after a lot of wrangling of procedures and votes, got the support of FCDC. Greg Brandon and Maria Allen were in a fierce throwdown to get the third slot. That's 5 candidates, making McElveen 6th place out of 6 candidates. Then Ms. Glassman-Espy had to "drop out" after it was revealed she has criminal charges pending in Washington DC for hitting pro-lifers. McElveen is now elevated and put forward by the most narrow of margins to fill Glassman-Espy's vacated spot? This sort of makes him 7th place out of FCDC's 3 spots. Yuck. This whole process has been bad and it seems like Ms. Armstrong has a point - makes one wonder why any of these folks deserve our vote. If they can't get a consensus in the party so they can even be on the ballot, they can hardly be sold as the right stuff.
Erica R. Hendry August 03, 2011 at 06:03 AM
Hi all, just offering a point of clarity on the vote numbers: In our original story from the May meeting: Moon was the only candidate to get a majority. After two rounds of votes, Glassman had 136 votes, Velkoff had 129, McElveen had 122 and Brandon had 117. Allen did not have enough votes to move past the first round.
Will Radle August 03, 2011 at 11:20 PM
Want to clarify, Jane. "The party" consensus has no relevance to whether a School Board candidate "can even be on the ballot" for a non-partisan office.


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