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School Board Vacancy Coming Up in Fairfax County; Chance for Dems to Gain a GOP-Held Seat


UPDATE 5/24: I hear the following possible candidates spoke last night at the Fairfax County Democratic Committee meeting: George Becerra (UPDATE 5/27: Becerra contacted me to note that he’s a federal employee covered by the Hatch Act so, of course, won’t be seeking the Democratic endorsement but IS considering a run for School Board, which he points out is legally a non-partisan position), Shaista Keating, Michele Menapace, Karen Keys-Gamarra

I’ve heard from multiple, reliable sources that there will (very) soon be a vacancy on the Fairfax County School Board, as Republican Jeanette Hough steps down (announcement this Friday?), setting up a special election for her seat. Hough was just elected in 2015, so she hasn’t been there very long, and I’ve been told the main (only?) reason she ran was to oppose the School Board’s vote on gender identity. I’m told that she’s also right wing in general, ideologically opposed to taxes — the whole right-wing “nine yards,” in other words.

So, with Hough leaving, Democrats have a shot to win back the at-large seat they lost in 2015 and to increase their majority on the School Board, further marginalizing the most far-right-wing members (e.g., Elizabeth Schultz). My understanding is that Democrats have some great candidates waiting in the wings, and feel that this is a golden opportunity to improve the School Board. On the Republican side, I’m hearing that their likely candidate is going to be realtor Kyle McDaniel, the former Political Policy Director for Fairfax Supervisor Pat Herrity (R).

For a few sample tweets and retweets by McDaniel, to provide some idea where he’s coming from, see below. Clearly, he’s a hard-core Republican (e.g., a big fan of Paul Ryan, apparently), with some unfortunate views on immigration (he retweets an article which uses the dehumanizing word “illegals”), a woman’s right to choose (he retweets a nasty John Whitbeck tweet on that subject), education policy (e.g., he thinks Jeb Bush was “‘really good’ on education in Florida”), etc. The bottom line is that Democrats need to win this seat on the Fairfax County School Board and not leave it in Republican hands after Hough steps down…

  • Kyle McDaniel

    Policy Director*

    • Thanks, fixed. By the way, I’m hearing rumors that Elizabeth Schultz is busy recruiting someone REALLY far right (e.g., like her) to run..

  • John Farrell

    FCDC needs to use an open, transparent process to pick an endorsee for this race.

    Rumors at the FCDC meeting tonight are that the incumbent D school board members have already agree on who they want to dictate to FCDC to endorse and shut down the endorsement process.

    That crowd tried to pull the same trick in 2015; it back fired and we lost this seat in November.

    They did it again in 2016 and we lost the Meals tax vote.

    This is a truly sick habit on the part of Fairfax electeds.

    Please stop trying to dictate to FCDC who we should choose to support/endorse.

    • dave schutz

      Many people in Arlington are grumpy about the same issue!

    • ToddSmyth

      Nearly everyone in FCDC waits to see who you are supporting and they immediately support the candidate that can most likely defeat the one you are supporting. To you It probably does look like it’s being dictated because it is so unanimous, but in fact you are the one who dictates who FCDC endorses for school board.

      • John Farrell

        Put the hooka down, Todd.