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PACs Attempt to Sort Out Crowded Democratic Primary Field

Three PACs form to offer voters their opinions for the June 12 primary.

Democrats for a Better Alexandria unveiled its list of endorsements in the race for City Council Thursday morning at the in Old Town after 11 of the 14 Democratic candidates completed questionnaires on time and were interviewed by members of the political action committee.

“We picked the six that seemed to fit the best in how we believe a better city can be achieved,” said Dorothea Peters, who co-chairs Democrats for a Better Alexandria with Jack Sullivan.

After what Sullivan categorized as an “extensive” process, the political action committee opted to endorse candidates , , , , and .

The committee posted the candidates’ completed questionnaires on its website. 

PAC members said they sought to identify candidates committed to “a forward-looking set of priorities and practices” on issues of development, affordable housing, education and transparency in government.

“There were some differences of opinion,” Sullivan said of reaching a decision about the endorsements with the other dozen or so DBA members. “We have a lot of seasoned people who have been politically active for a long time.”

Sullivan said he is pleased the endorsed candidates all live in different parts of the city.

“There’s a good geographic spread, which wasn’t intentional,” he said. “[The slate] represents a major constituency, which is important because you don’t want everyone from the same side of town.”

Candidates and didn’t have time to complete the 37 questions sent out by the political action committee, Sullivan said. did not complete her questionnaire until after an extended deadline.

The PAC's announcement came just two days after Alexandrians for a Livable City, a new political action committee, unveiled its list of endorsements. The group lists Lynn Bostain, Robert Pringle, Ginny Hines Parry and Katy Cannady—a member of Citizens for an Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan—as its directors.

Alexandrians for a Livable City identified the city’s waterfront plan and Beauregard corridor plan as matters “illustrative of bad choices current Council members and some candidates for Council support,” according to a news release.

Based on the “public statements” of the 14 Democratic candidates and “their answers to questions put to them by citizens,” the group opted to endorse five candidates: , , Moshenberg, Peabody and Walker.

“None is an incumbent or past member of Council,” the group wrote in a release. “That reflects our strong belief that Alexandria needs new leadership.”

Incumbents and did not receive endorsements from either group. Wilson and Lovain, both former members of City Council, did receive nods from nods from DBA.

Voters can select as many as six candidates in the June 12 Democratic primary. Alexandrians for a Livable City urged voters to select only the five candidates it endorsed.

Another PAC is expected to unveil its list of endorsements in the next three weeks, according to former Alexandria Police Chief David Baker.

Baker is a member of Securing Alexandria’s Future, which also includes current City Councilmen Kerry Donley and Rob Krupicka (both are not seeking re-election) and former members David Speck and Lonnie Rich. All five have personally endorsed candidates in the race.

Baker said the PAC currently has about 20 total members. 

The group has distributed its questionnaire to the Democratic candidates and will offer recommendations “on those candidates whom we believe to be most prepared to lead our city for the next three years,” Speck said in a release.

In a conversation with Patch, Baker said he intends to find out where the candidates stand on a variety of issues, from taxes and education to development and public safety.

“If you look at it, if you’re unable to go to the debates or happen to be one who’s door is not being knocked on, it’s a difficult decision,” Baker said. “This is our way of creating the best community conversation about the race.”

Matt Harris May 04, 2012 at 01:04 PM
While I don't agree 100% with all of these endorsements, the effort, objectives and values that the group infused into the selections are evident. Nice job, and even if I am not entirely in sync with these picks, the group has done a great service to our city. -Matt Harris, Democrat
Michael A. Hepburn May 04, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Just to clarify… Unfortunately I was feeling under the weather during the week that the questionnaire was due – so I was not able to complete answering all of the questions before the deadline. However, I emailed the message listed below to DBA. Good afternoon Democrats For Better Alexandria, Unfortunately, I will not have enough to time to complete the survey in the fashion that I would have liked to and really explain in depth the complexities of the challenges that we are facing here in our city on paper. However, since the majority of my energy and time is truly being thrown into making sure that I execute one of the strongest grassroots campaigns – I am very confident that as I continue to walk every block of our city and educate our residents about my candidacy for Alexandria City Council and also where I stand on the issues that they are concerned about. Everyone that I encounter will understand my commitment to service and my vision for how I will govern on our City Council. In addition, with the multiple upcoming debates, my Listening & Learning Tour, and also the information that our residents will be receiving from me – I am confident that “DBA” and our fellow residents will have an ample amount time to find out more about who I am and what I stand for. Respectfully, Michael A. Hepburn www.MichaelHepburn.com
Tom May 05, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Let's see ... Melissa Feld doesn't have an opinion on the waterfront, and can't meet an extended deadline for a survey. If she doesn't have time to actually inform us about her positions, I don't have the time to vote for her.
Melissa Feld May 07, 2012 at 04:07 AM
Thanks Tom for your comment. In fact, my survey responses are posted on the DBA website. Here is a link to my responses as well as what all the candidates wrote: http://bit.ly/JNZUnv.

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