Home 2019 Elections Fairfax County School Board Member Ilryong Moon (D) Quits Dem Committee Amid...

Fairfax County School Board Member Ilryong Moon (D) Quits Dem Committee Amid Concerns He Could Stay on Ballot, Lead to 1-2 Rs Winning

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Earlier today, Fairfax County School Board member Ilryong Moon (D) announced he quitting the Fairfax County Democratic Committee (FCDC), “effective immediately.” According to his resignation letter (click on image at the right to enlarge):

“…I have been profoundly disappointed with
the decision of FCDC to reject an incumbent who has served as an elected official for 20
years and been a loyal member of the Committee for 25 years. Following much reflection over the last two months, I have  concluded that, while I remain a strong Democrat, it is time
for me to take a pause from FCDC.”

This is a problem, unfortunately, for a bunch of reasons.

  • First off, there are a lot of concerns among Fairfax Democrats and Democratic-endorsed School Board candidates that Moon quitting FCDC makes it more likely he’ll stay on the ballot, along with six other candidates — incumbent Karen Keys-Gamarra (D), plus challengers Cheryl Buford (R), Priscilla DeStefano (R), Rachna Sizemore-Heizer (D), Abrar Omeish (D) and Vinson Palathingal (R) — for just three “at large” slots. The concern is that Moon’s candidacy – assuming he stays on the ballot and doesn’t pull his name off by the deadline (I believe it’s in September) – could result in one or more Democrats losing to (right-wing) Republicans this November. Obviously, that would not be good. At all.
  • Second, based on multiple sources I’ve discussed this with, this whole situation is causing a good deal of angst/frustration – and even anger – among many numerous Fairfax Democrats.
  • Third, the fact is that Moon lost the FCDC endorsement vote to Karen Keys Gamarra, Rachna Sizemore-Heizer and Abrar Omeish based on the rules – whether one agrees with those rules or not – that had been agreed upon by FCDC. Note that all the candidates pledged that if they lost, they wouldn’t stay on the November ballot. Yet Moon hasn’t pulled his name off the ballot, and there are rumors flying around that he’s not planning to do so. Clearly, this resignation letter fuels those rumors. Also, I check out Moon’s website, and right now it just says “Private Site.” Hmmmm.
  • Fourth, the irony is that Moon himself was one of the people pushing for the party member method of nomination, as opposed to a “firehouse caucus,” yet now he appears to be arguing that the process – the same one he pushed for – was not to his liking.  [UPDATE: I’m told by an FCDC source that Moon was also 100% against ranked choice balloting, said he didn’t want to “rank his friends”]
  • Fifth, note that in 2015, one Democrat (Omar Fateh) lost the Democratic endorsement election in May, but stayed on the November ballot, winning 11,062 votes in an election that saw incumbent Ted Velkoff (D) lose to Republican-endorsed Jeanette Hough by just over 5,000 votes. So there’s recent precedent for the scenario outlined above.
  • Finally, I’m told that it’s not likely Moon will win, but that it’s quite possible he’ll get even more votes than Omar Fateh got in 2015, potentially resulting in 1-2 Democratic-endorsed candidates losing. So what’s the point?

Anyway, the bottom line is that this is a very tricky, and potentially very bad, situation. The *last* thing we want to see this November is Republicans somehow managing to get one or more of their right-wing nominees onto the School Board, just when it seemed possible that Democrats might end up with unanimous control. So personally, I hope that Ilryong Moon will seriously consider taking his name off the ballot. He’s been a superb and much-admired School Board member for many years, but the fact is, he lost the endorsement process, pledged not to run if he lost, and now needs to follow through on that.