Home 2017 Races We Now Have a Republican Candidate for the Fairfax County School Board...

We Now Have a Republican Candidate for the Fairfax County School Board Vacancy


Back on May 23, Blue Virginia reported (a scoop) that Republican School Board at-large incumbent Jeanette Hough (R) would be stepping down, setting up a special election for her seat. On the Republican side, I was hearing at the time that their likely candidate was going to be realtor Kyle McDaniel, the former Policy Director for Fairfax Supervisor Pat Herrity (R). Now, according to northern Virginia Tea Party blog The Bull Elephant, McDaniel appears out of the race, while Chris Grisafe is in.

There’s not a lot of information about Grisafe out there, from what I can tell, other than a few videos (e.g., his 2011 announcement speech for Fairfax County Board).  Other than that, in 2011, Grisafe ran against incumbent Fairfax County Board member Linda Smyth (D) and lost “bigly,” 63%-37%. Here’s what the Washington Post editorial board had to say at the time about Grisafe’s “tissue-thin” grasp of “policy and politics,” as well as his complete lack of “any experience or qualification for the job.”

So…yeah, there’s that. I guess we’ll see if the “tissue” has gotten any less “thin” since 2011, also whether Grisafe has gained “any experience or qualification for the job over the past six years.

Meanwhile, see here for Fairfax County Democratic Committee Chair Sue Langley’s statement regarding Jeanette Hough’s resignation, amidst “[t]roubling signs indicate that Republicans may have pressured Ms. Hough to resign early.”  No question, Hough was planning to resign due to her husband’s “job transfer overseas,” but by resigning now, instead of in a few weeks, that means the election will be this summer instead of in November, costing Fairfax County taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and almost certainly resulting in (far) lower turnout than would be the case in November, when the state will elect a new governor, a Lt. Governor, an Attorney General and the entire House of Delegates. Gee, wonder why Republicans might want the lowest possible turnout in deep-blue Fairfax County. Hmmmm.

We’ll see who Democrats nominate endorse, but whoever it is, we definitely need to make sure we take back this School Board seat from the anti-government, anti-LGBT right wing.

  • LaureenMT

    Democrats must organize to get out the vote this summer! I look forward to hearing who will run for this seat. I hope Karen Keys-Gamarra will step up, after coming so close to winning the Sully school board position in 2015!

    • Yep, Dems need to start gearing up ASAP for this.

    • Ben Adelstein

      Not a county wide candidate by any means.

  • John Farrell

    It’s not a nomination.

    It’s an endorsement. All School Board candidates must run as independents.

    It’s likely that this special election will happen on August 29, the second day of the new school year, when families with children in school will be back from vacation.

    It’s a shame Ms. Hough couldn’t wait until June 10 to resign. The special could been have been held simultaneously with the November general election. Instead, FCRC thinks nothing of forcing Fairfax taxpayers to spend $250,000 – $350,000 to gain an expected electoral advantage.

    What’s vital is that the FCDC meeting to decide the endorsement have a quorum: 350 members voting. Otherwise, the endorsement will be suspect. That kind of turn out is most likely to happen at the regular July membership meeting.

    With 4 announced candidates, it will be vital to use IRV voting to make sure the FCDC endorsee has the broadest support among Fairfax Democrats.

    And FCDC doesn’t need an endorsee who had a no bid contract from FCPS.

    • “It’s not a nomination. It’s an endorsement.”


  • John Farrell

    So the School Board troop into tonight’s special meeting of the FCDC Steering Committee and insist that the FCDC endorsement be decided on June 14!

    Of course that’s only 6 days after they will act on a petition to the Circuit Court to call the special election and probably before the Court issues the writ.

    And if that didn’t suit, their alternative date was the 25th which of course is a Sunday and would cost FCDC $2000 to rent a school.

    And if that didn’t work, their next suggestion was Friday the 23rd.

    It went on like that for an interminable list of dates; all of which were before the 30th of June.

    We know that these guys are trying desperately to rig this process to favor the beneficiary of the no bid contract.

    But have these worthies given 2 thoughts about the challenges of getting a quorum of 350 FCDC members to show up to a special meeting on short notice to make the endorsement valid?

    If the FCDC endorsement is decided by only 200 members, it will be less than worthless. It will cause chaos.

    Just what Democrats need in a year when we’re trying to elect a Governor, Lt. Gov, AG and House of Delegates.

    • Ken Wheeler

      John, what you see as chicanery, I see as common sense. The sooner we settle who our endorsee is, the sooner we can ramp up a campaign, in what will be a tough election, given the focus on Statewide and HoD races. We endorsed your motion for a resolution, and as a new Dem, your argument made sense to me, but in point of fact, Sue Langley’s caution of what would likely happen came true. The resolution is worthless, and we wasted 45 minutes making ourselves feel good, but accomplishing nothing. I think I wil be listening to the steering committee on this one. I hope the meeting is not on June 14, since I have another meeting I would rather attend that night, but if that is the night I will be there.

      • John Farrell

        Ken, it was more like 10 minutes than 45 and those resolutions still may be effective depending on what the Circuit Court does. But for those resolutions, the FCDC chair told me she didn’t intend to bring the pending vacancy to the attention of the membership that evening.

        You should have received the e-mail from FCDC announcing the endorsement meeting for Friday, June 23 at 7:00 pm at the Government Center.

        Will the necessary 350 FCDC members vote on the night of the last day of school? If not, there will be no endorsement, as only the FCDC General Membership can endorse a candidate and the quorum requirement is 30% of 1165 members.

        We’ll see.

  • Ben Adelstein

    No rigging by deigned candidates. We only wound up with McElveen after, what, 3 rounds and he barely cleared. What was it, by one vote? Look what that has gotten us.

    We have to do this without anyone “insisting”. All that results in is another playmate, if you will, being hand selected.

    There’s no way that will fly this time. Let everyone who is interested step up to the plate and we’ll pick the best. The unknowns filing may wind up being the best of.

    Let’s be Democratic in every sense. Otherwise, the hand pick will be a sham.

  • Anonymous

    The Dems have already been playing it somewhat dirty… candidates will be running for endorsement under the assumption that it’s a fair process when they’ve already picked their person. In fact, they even changed their rules to allow people to vote before seeing or hearing any of the candidates. We’ll see if the democrats actually use a democratic process…