Does Saying You’re A Democrat Make You a Democrat?

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    As most of you know, I was one of the co-founders of the “Draft James Webb” movement. I say this not to pat myself on the back, but to note that I’m perfectly happy to accept “converts” – as Webb put it – into the Democratic Party. That is, as long as they’re sincere, have good reasons for becoming a Democrat, and aren’t just switching parties because it’s the politically expedient thing to do. In Webb’s case, he explained very clearly to Josh Chernila, Lee Diamond and me in December 2005 why he had switched from the Republican Party and become a Democrat (e.g., “the health of a society should be measured at its base, not at its apex;” the Democratic Party is the party for working people; the Republican Party has lurched to the right). His arguments were compelling to me, and I believed he was sincere.

    Why do I raise this subject now? Because, just recently, a candidate announced for Braddock District Supervisor as a Democrat, yet everything I’ve learned about him so far indicates that he’s been a Republican for years. For instance, this article has a quote by Republican John Cook, the current Braddock Supervisor, claiming that Wade has “voted in a few Republican primaries, has never voted in a Democratic primary.” In addition, according to Cook, Wade “did not vote in the local elections in 2007, has not been active in his community and from what I can see has not had any leadership role in any community organization or any community effort at all.”  Of course, that’s Republican John Cook – who Wade is challenging for the job – talking, so let’s take that one with a grain of salt.

    I also checked the Wade for Supervisor website and could find no indication of Wade ever being a Democrat. More importantly, I found no reason why he has supposedly become a Democrat.

    But here’s the killer for me: a Democratic friend of mine checked the voter file (owned and operated by the DPVA and DNC), a screen shot of which I’ve included in this post, and what we found was that Wade had identified himself on November 1, 2008, just prior to one of the most important elections of our lives, as a “strong McCain supporter.” Not only that, but he only identified himself as “leaning” Mark Warner. That’s right, believe it or not, this guy who now claims to be a Democrat appears to have voted for McCain-Palin (unless he went from “Strong McCain” on November 1 to voting Obama a few days later – not!), and may have voted for Jim Gilmore over Mark Warner (hard to tell on that one). Anyway, to me, that’s the end of story, as the 2008 election was recent and utterly crucial – one of the most important of our lifetimes. As far as I’m concerned, someone who voted for John McCain and Sarah Palin just 2 1/2 years ago could possibly be a Democrat today, but only if they had articulated a d*** good reason for switching their entire way of thinking in that short time period. With Christopher Wade, there’s absolutely nothing. Sorry, no dice.

    Oh, one more really weird thing on the voter file. As you can see, someone went in there on March 22, 2011 – about 2 weeks before Wade announced for Braddock Supervisor as a Democrat – and updated Wade’s entry to indicate that, suddenly, he’s a “Strong Democrat.”  Very, very fishy.

    Last but not least, I was also told just a few minutes ago by one of the most committed and active Fairfax Democrats I know, “I don’t know where Chris Wade comes from…I’ve never seen him at any Democratic events until March of this year.”

    Bottom line: Christopher Wade shows absolutely no sign of being a Democrat. Instead, he shows every sign of being a long-time, strong Republican, one who went so far as to vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin (ack!!!) in 2008.  I’m sorry, but that’s not acceptable. We need a real Democrat running for Braddock District Supervisor, and we need one ASAP!

    • independent in arlington

      I don’t mean to sound ignorant, but here I really am.  I assume its some kind of database, but who compiles it and maintains it?

    • Dan Sullivan

      Why would there have been a voter file entry at all on 22 March, 2011? Do we know of a reason to contact him or anyone at all that day? Access to this data is guarded and it should be possible to determine how and maybe by whom it was updated.  

    • NotJohnSMosby

      His voting record only goes back to 2001, and he voted every year except 2007.  He voted in the 2005 Republican primary and in the 2008 Republican primary as well.  Overall, He’s listed as “LD” or leaning Dem.  I don’t know him at all, but there’s no mention of him being on FCDC, so I have no clue if he just signed up this spring to run or if he’s signed up at all.  He does have the two entries you mention, from 2008, being Strong Republican on the Presidential question Leaning Warner on the Senate question.  His only activist code is that he wants a yard sign, and that’s for 2011.

      On VPAP, there’s no mention of political contributions before this year, where he’s given Dave Marsden $100 and himself $250.  

      Judging from the VAN, I would assume he’s a moderate to strong Republican, and a regularly voting one.  He could be a recent convert, of which there are more than a few. That said, that doesn’t qualify you to run for a very important seat like a Fairfax Supervisor.

    • listlady

      with VAN access should be able to see who entered the supposed 3/22/11 survey results.

    • Mike1987

      It seems to me you all are missing the point.  Fake Democrats, Wisconsin? ring any bells?

      Assume DPVA is useless and will do nothing.

      WAPO?

    • totallynext

      Democratic party IDing going on in Fairfax County in March!

    • Tom Greeson

      I have no problem with his candidacy. I believe Chris to be a Democrat. Many long-time Democrats support him.  He’s young, energetic — and, most importantly, electable. And he will support Sharon Bulova’s budget and agenda. He will vote on issues with Sharon and the other Dems. Let’s not form a circle and turn our aim inside the circle. The focus should be on replacing John Cook, and Chris Wade, in my opinion, is the best nominee the Dems can put up to win in November.