DNC Race Heating Up with 1 Week Until DPVA State Convention


    With just over a week to go until the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA) holds its annual State Convention at George Mason University in Fairfax, the race for the 2 male DNC delegate slots appears to be heating up (note: to my knowledge, there are only two women running for the two female slots, so they’re both guaranteed victory on June 2). Here’s the news:

    1. I’m hearing that two more male candidates for DNC have thrown their hats into the ring, joining Frank Leone, Ben Tribbett, Hampton Vice Mayor George Wallace, and Del. Lionell Spruill. The new candidates are former 1st CD Democratic Congressional nominee Shawn O’Donnell and Shaun Broy. It will be interesting to see how these additional candidates might affect the dynamics of this race.

    2. George Wallace sent out a mass email earlier today, claiming he is “the only candidate who has been (and is) a local elected official.” According to Del. Lionell Spruill, who I interviewed, that is simply not the case. To the contrary, Spruill says that George Wallace needs to not “mislead people” and should “get his facts straight and tell the truth,” as Spruill served for 7 years (from 1981 to 1988) on the Chesapeake Planning Commission (including as chair), and on the Chesapeake City Council for 5 years (from 1988 to 1993). Spruill also noted that Hampton is just a fraction of the size of Chesapeake, and that Wallace was “removed as City Manager [of Hampton].” Spruill, who clearly was not pleased with Wallace’s email, added that Wallace “hasn’t been seen or her heard from” outside of Hampton, has “done nothing for the Democrats statewide, hasn’t been on Central Committee, nothing.” So, I asked, why is he suddenly interested in running for DNC? According to Spruill, “he was put up to it by certain members in the [State] Senate…he’s just an instrument to get me off the DNC.” Wow.

    3. Finally, Ben Tribbett is not pleased with Frank Leone for the way he’s campaigning. Specifically, Ben (who I also interviewed) says (note: bolding added by me for emphasis):

    Frank Leone has campaigned as someone who is integral to the DPVA’s rules. Yet, when it doesn’t suit him our chief rule maker becomes our chief rule breaker. I am having to email delegates individually to stay within the rules- while Frank just dumps them into a spam account to get mass emails from the unity team. That’s not right.

    I think DPVA needs to consider serious, real sanctions against those candidates breaking its rules. I would suggest since this “Unity Team” is the group breaking the rules that DPVA consider banning slates from the ballot as a sanction for their rule breaking activity.

    In sum, it’s fun times, one big happy family, and all that in the Democratic Party of Virginia these days. 😉

    P.S. Also, Del. Spruill emphasized his strong support for labor over the years — 100% over 20 years, he says, even kicked off of the Labor and Commerce Committee by the Republicans for being “too pro labor.” He argues that he should get labor support for his DNC candidacy based on his record, and that he can win if people vote on that basis.

    • Dave

      To Ben’s point, I think he’s certainly handling it “the proper way” as I would. And Frank and George are likely breaking the Terms of Use of their bulk email provider (Constant Contact, I think). But I’m not aware of any “rule” by DPVA as to how the delegates should be communicated to. As delegates, we were made aware that our names would be published publicly and our contact info provided to the candidates. For those national delegate candidates given delegate lists from the 8th, they were told the following:

      “As a qualified candidate you’ve been shared on the 8th CD Delegate / Alternate list Google Doc. The list is for personal use only as a candidate and not for redistribution or sale”

      However, that doesn’t cover bulk vs. individual notifications. I think if somebody wanted to bulk-email folks, they would probably properly ask on the first send for people to explicitly opt in for further communications. And that would probably still be a violation of their terms with their provider, but at least it would be a step closer to etiquette.

      So, anyway, as somebody who runs a bulk email company by day, and as the person generally considered the “spam cop” for Northern VA Dems, I have to disagree with Ben here. I think Frank and George’s method of communication is arguably tacky, but doesn’t break any rules except maybe those of Constant Contact – but that’s between them and CC. It can be reported, but it’s also generally flexible where they’re concerned.

    • kindler

      Only one I saw mentioned above is labor.  The rest sounds like a bunch of mud, which I’m confident we can rely on Repubs to fling at us rather than flinging at one another.  

    • Elaine in Roanoke

      I’m heartened by the fact that there is so much competition for the DNC seats, regardless of who ultimately wins. I would like to see the DPVA ban any use of slates like the “unity ticket” in such elections simply because slates foster a feeling that “insiders” control all decisions. Competitive elections create far more interest among party members and give a voice to a wider range of viewpoints.

    • linda b

      As the out going District Chair, because of redistricting, our convention had no slates and all candidates for National delegate, who attended, where allowed to speak.

      It was well attended and everyone left feeling it was a fair process.

    • sbroy2013

      The few minutes I will have at the podium during the convention, will turn some heads… To say the very least! So… Don’t place all your chips down quite yet folks! This one is going to be quite interesting now that I am on the ballot.

      The staff of the DPVA observed as names were drawn randomly out of a hat for the order in which we will appear on the ballot.

      The order is:


      Shaun Broy

      Shawn O’Donnell

      Frank Leone

      Lionell Spruill

      George Wallace

      Ben Tribbett


      Doris Crouse-Mays

      Mame Reiley

      I could care less about any “Unity Ticket.” I am 100% Pro Labor…  HELL YES we must revoke the right-to-work law! And another HELL YES to giving public workers bargaining rights!

      Then when it comes to these middle school games other candidates want to play, by calling names and throwing out these spam emails. Let them. Their actions speak for themselves.

      You want a progressive, passionate fighter on the DNC representing VIRGINIA… You got one… ME.

      GAME ON.

      All I ask is that you lend me your ear for a few minutes at the convention, then make your decision. You just might hear a little truth for a change.

      Forget all this other nonsense… Really…

      I’ll see you all in Fairfax!


      Shaun Broy