Just over a week after a major earthquake shook Falls Church city politics with the passage of a referendum to move city elections to November, another shock could be on the way. The nonpartisan Citizens for a Better City will vote on a proposal Sunday that would see the group pull out of nominating candidates, merely planning a candidate forum in February:
For 52 years CBC has fielded candidates for Falls Church City Council and, since 1994, for School Board. Its decision to leave the election process creates a new playing field for the May 2012 election.
Unless a new group suddenly emerges to field a slate, all candidates for three Council seats and three School Board seats at stake will be running as independents. There will be no “brand” available and voters will have to focus more on the individual candidates, rather than voting a straight ticket.
CBC has dominated Falls Church politics for decades. From 1974 to 1986 it won every Council seat. More recently CBC won 14 of the 17 seats at stake from 2000 to 2008. However, in 2010 only one of its four candidates for Council was elected. One candidate appeared to break with the slate in the final days of the campaign, issuing his own flyers.
So what next? I’ve heard rumors the City Council is scrambling to amend the city charter to lock in nonpartisan elections. Does that signal the councilors think that without CBC nominees, party primaries are the logical next step, so they’re trying to block them now? It’s already been a busy year in Falls Church city politics, and it’s a long way from being over.