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School Board Candidates, Officials Respond To Fairfax Dems Endorsements

Allen says she will continue to run; Fairfax County Democratic Committee says endorsements were given with a fair vote

At least one of the Fairfax County School Board candidates who did not receive an endorsement Tuesday night from the Fairfax County Democratic Committee will run anyway.

Maria Allen, of Reston, says she will still run for an at-large seat on the board in November's election.

Allen, a long-time schools advocate and parent, first entered the race for the Hunter Mill District seat in February, but a month later said she would run as an at-large candidate instead.

, Allen did not receive enough votes to move onto the second round of voting. Ballots cast in that second round — which did not include the votes of 60 members who had already left the meeting — did not give a majority to any of the remaining four candidates. After debating whether to push ahead with endorsements or delay the vote to a future meeting, members voted 138 to 85 to settle the endorsements that night, said Rex Simmons, chair of the FCDC. They then voted 144 to 72 to endorse the next top two vote-getters: Ted Velkoff, a computer software engineer and former president of the Chantilly High School PTSA, and Charisse Espy Glassman, an attorney and school activist in Falls Church.

"All the endorsement decisions were determined with a fair vote of FCDC members after several weeks of exceptional campaigning by all our candidates," Simmons said.

Allen called the endorsement an example of partisan politics.

"[Glassman and Velkoff] had lots of endorsements from prominent elected officials," Allen said. "This is intended to be a non-partisan election in order to limit control by the party machine. But it is the most partisan it can be. This way a committee decides."

Velkoff declined to comment. Glassman did not return a request for comment.

"Our endorsed candidates for the November election are outstanding leaders who will ensure Fairfax County continues at the vanguard for providing the highest quality education for our children," Simmons said.

Simmons said all six of the at-large candidates involved in Tuesday's endorsement process "signed pledges in seeking our endorsement to support the candidates endorsed by FCDC in the November general election." Going against that agreement should raise "serious concerns" about a candidate's trustworthiness, Simmons said, as well as the model they set for the system's schoolchildren.

"The appropriate conduct for a losing candidate who had sought our endorsement is to support and respect the decisions of our committee just as all our other unsuccessful candidates have done and the losing candidate would have expected of others if she had won our endorsement," Simmons said.

"Parents care more about who is on their school board than they did four years ago," Allen said. "I am not going to roll over and play dead while the party chooses for them. I hope they will judge candidates on their quality, not just check off Republican or Democrat."

McLean resident and at-large candidate Greg Brandon said Wednesday he was not happy with the "non-standard voting process," but is still undecided on how to move forward or if he will still be a candidate.

At-large candidate Ryan McElveen of Vienna, who lost to Velkoff in the late motion by seven votes, said he will not pursue a recount, nor will he continue to run for the seat.

“It was unfortunate that the rules seemed to change because people wanted to go home," he said in a statement Wednesday. "I hope that we can improve the process in the future to remove some of the friction that was evident last night."

He said despite that friction, he supported the endorsement of Moon, Velkoff and Glassman for the board's at-large seats.

"We were lucky to have such a qualified group of candidates, and after getting to know them over the past few months I know they will be great members of the School Board," McElveen said.

Karen Goff reported for this article.

Catherine S. Read May 26, 2011 at 10:56 PM
Is it just me, or does the greatest voice of reason seem to be coming from the youngest candidate in the race - Ryan McElveen? What he lacks in experience he seems to make up for in wisdom, maturity and a long term perspective.

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