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Loudoun County Democratic Committee Imploding?

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Is the Loudoun County Democratic Committee (LCDC) imploding, as this post on Too Conservative, as well as this one by Liz “Doorbell Queen” Miller (the nickname comes from her prodigious door-knocking efforts for Democratic candidates), seem to indicate? Well, I’ve now had the chance to speak with Miller and another prominent Loudoun County Democrat, and sadly, the answer appears to be a resounding “yes.” Here’s what I’ve learned. First, see the “flip” for a transcript by Miller of what went down at the LCDC meeting last night. As you read the transcript, and also as you read the rest of this diary, keep in mind that, just a few years ago, LCDC was named the top Democratic County Committee in Virginia. Now, it’s apparently falling apart. This is what I’ve been told by my Loudoun Democratic sources:

*Only about 30-40 people attend LCDC meetings in a county of 300,000+ people. For comparison purposes, Arlington has 200,000 people, and frequently gets 100-200 people for its ACDC meetings.

*LCDC Chair Mike Turner has been driving people away from the committee. Basically, Turner’s attitude is “my way or the highway.” He’s “out of control.”

*Turner has even formed an secret/ad hoc committee to investigate Loudoun County Board of Supervisors member Stevens Miller (D).

*LCDC is in “total disarray,” “completely dysfunctional.” A number of standing committee chairs (e.g., “diversity and outreach,” “membership”) have left, as “noone wants to work with Turner.”

*This disarray has affected candidate recruitment, fundraising, canvassing, infrastructure, etc. in a “purple”/”swing” county that’s absolutely crucial to Tim Kaine’s and Barack Obama’s chances of winning Virginia in 2012, not to mention Democrats’ chances of holding the State Senate.

*The disarray is having a “cascade effect,” turning off independent voters to the Democratic Party, even as the Loudoun County Republican Committee lurches far (FAR!) to the right.

*Bottom line: this is all a total distraction from

what we need to be doing in Loudoun County

*Last but not least, DPVA Chair Brian Moran hasn’t been involved at all in this situation, may not even be aware of what’s going on in Loudoun (although DPVA political director Don Mark is reportedly now aware). Another major FAIL by DPVA, apparently.

What’s going to happen next? What I’m hearing is that it’s possible the DPVA and/or 10th CD Democratic Committee could get involved, possibly force out LCDC Chair Mike Turner. In the meantime, though, we’re wasting time as we move towards important elections in 2011 (for the General Assembly) and in 2012 (for U.S. Senate and President). We’re also pushing away great Democrats like Liz Miller, even cutting her off from the VAN as she attempts to help Democratic candidates. It’s truly unacceptable, as Loudoun County clearly is far, far too important for this kind of situation to continue. So, who’s going to step in and remedy this situation, ASAP?!?

Mike Turner unsubscribed me, Stevens, and another member from the LCDems Members and Discuss mailing lists.

…Mike said that if we wanted to know why, we should ask.  

So last night, during 2 minute rants, I asked (Stevens wasn’t there. He was in DC working).

Mike said that I had said, in a public forum, that I would back Cliff over Andrea; and that Stevens spoke publicly against party unity in the redistricting process and that he and a third person had given “proprietary redistricting information” to the LCRC.

He said that there is an adhoc committee looking into what their response could be to Stevens, but in the meantime, HE felt that he had to cut off our sources of information and ability to help opponents of Dem candidates.

So I said, “is that all?” He said, “yes, but I’m not going to debate you about this.”

I said, “I’m not going to debate that.” And I turned to everyone and said, “I never said in a public forum that I would support Cliff over Andrea. If you’d like to read what I said, you can see it at doorbellqueen.blogspot.com, I HAVE said it to individuals, and it’s true that I will be supporting Cliff over Andrea. I’ve been friends with Cliff for nearly 12 years. If he weren’t running OF COURSE I’d be supporting Andrea. If she weren’t running, there wouldn’t be a problem.”

Then I turned to Mike and said, “I think I’ve been a valuable member of this organization. I resign.”

UPDATE: Here’s the text of an email from Mike Turner which I’m told has gone “viral” in Loudoun. I’m also told this “didn’t sit well with eastern Loudoun Democrats, and Democrats like Kevin Turner, who ran as a D for school board in 07, to be told their plan was basically a Republican plot.”

From: Mike Turner

Date: March 6, 2011 11:09:00 PM EST

To: lcdems-members

Subject: [LCDems-members] HOA Plan Problems

All:  I’ve finished analyzing the HOA plan.  It has serious problems which you can speak to tomorrow night if you’d like.  Here are the key public talking points:

1.  It essentially reduces rural representation on the BOS by 50%.  Blue Ridge would become the only rural district.  Our rural heritage in Loudoun is what makes us so special.  Catoctin would no longer be a rural district.  Loudoun County’s rural representation is critical if the BOS is to fairly represent both the rural and suburban cultures of our county.  We must maintain two rural seats on the BOS.

2.  It carves up Leesburg.  Broad Run would take four Leesburg precincts, the new Dulles North district would take a Leesburg precinct, and the new Catoctin would take two Leesburg precincts.  Leesburg is the cultural center of this county, and this plan would essentially leave Leesburg no vote as a single entity.

3.  The plan is clearly an attempt by four suburban HOAs to forcibly make the Loudoun County BOS a suburban-dominated board.  This is completely innappropriate for this county.

This plan is bad for Loudoun County for the above reasons, however the plan also has serious implications for the Democratic Party in this county.  They are so serious that I’m convinced the HOA plan is really a Republican plan masquerading as a non-partisan community plan.  If you plan to speak on Monday night, PLEASE call me on Monday to discuss these additional concerns.

Thanks.

Mike.  

  • Tom

    n/t

  • But this is a deeply discouraging post to read.  If this is the way it is, I hope that there are people in a position to not only guide LCDC back on track, but have the stamina to make sure it is done in a timely matter.

  • mosborn

    Mr. and Mrs. Miller have every right to post about the events of Thursday night on their blogs, and LCDC gossip is perfect fodder for Too Conservative…but what’s this doing on Blue Virginia?

    A bullet list of inflammatory quotes by anonymous “sources”?

    Attendance comparison between a small urban county and a huge rural one?

    Damning evidence indeed.

    Feelings were definitely hurt during the redistricting process. But Mike was dead on about the “HOA” plan.

    Thursday night’s events were unfortunate, and I have no doubt that they could’ve been handled better. But if the LCDC is imploding, I haven’t noticed. It’s a shame that those poorly substantiated claims are being shouted from the rooftops at a blog I respect.

  • Paradox13VA

    Is it really shocking that there are disaffected and frustrated Democrats in Loudoun County, or in ANY county, for that matter?

    Yes, some people have difficulties with Mike Turner, and some meetings have low attendance, but Loudoun is notorious for people not wanting to go more than five or six miles for anything (other than their job). If you lived here, you’d know that. The fact is that our actual paid membership number is higher than it has ever been.

    Does the LCDC have it’s problems? – absolutely. Some of us are working very, very hard to fix them, every day. Many of us are doing our level best to reach out, build bridges, seek understandings. We’re bringing new people into the LCDC every week. We’re rebuilding and reforming, block by block, district by district. It’s hard, but worthwhile work.

    Others are screaming, “I’m taking my ball and going home!” Or launching anonymous attacks on LCDC leadership. They’re doing damage to our candidates in the midst of an election year where our majority on the Board of Supervisors is at stake.

    Liz Miller has the decency to go on record about her issues and frustration. She’s supporting a Independent in the general election against an incumbent Democrat. This is not an internal primary between two Democrats. This is actively campaigning against a Democrat in the general election.

    Mike Turner, as Chair of the LCDC, felt he had to take action to prevent LCDC resources from being used to defeat the Democratic candidate in a local race. It was a judgment call. It’s the kind of judgment call that Party Chairs are elected to make.

    As for the other matters, a four-volume history could be written on Loudoun’s Redistricting. If you feel like you need to know more, ask me over email or by phone, and I’ll tell you.

    In closing, some of you here (including you Lowell), know me personally. You know my history of blogging, history of Democratic involvement. And perhaps more importantly, you know how to reach me. I humbly request, in the future, when you hear a rumor or news out of the LCDC, you do me the courtesy of reaching out and asking me about it, too. I’m not saying your post isn’t accurate in points, but it is clearly reflective of the point of view of one side of a very, very complex internal debate.

    Respectfully.

  • I strongly support strong environmentalist, strong Democrat, and strong Loudoun County Supervisor Andrea McGimsey for reelection to the Loudoun County Board. That one’s a no-brainer, frankly, as it should be for anyone who calls him/herself a Democrat, an environmentalist, or a progressive. Now, I understand that sometimes people support their friends for public office, even when they’re not in the same political party. However, I also understand that doing so can result in consequences. In this case, for instance, if Loudoun County Supervisor Stevens Miller (D) were to support his friend Cliff Keirce (I) against Andrea McGimsey (D) in the general election, let’s just say my positive attitude towards Miller (e.g., I supported him strongly when he ran for House of Delegates) would change significantly — and not for the better. Obviously, I hope it doesn’t come to that. Instead, I strongly urge Stevens Miller to either: a) support Andrew McGimsey for reelection; or b) at worst stay neutral. I’ll definitely be watching this one closely.

  • notlarrysabato

    Stevens Miller was a surrogate speaker for Brian Moran in December for party Chairman.

    Now he and his wife (otherwise a great Democrat) can’t decide if they will support the Democratic candidate in a neighboring district who also happens to be one of the leading environmentalists in Loudoun.