Campbell Petitions Democratic Committee to Allow Members to Support Independents

By Danielle Nadler & Kara Rodriguez

Ron Campbell, Leesburg Town Council member and candidate for mayor, is calling on the Loudoun County Democratic Committee to no longer require members to pledge their support for only Democratic candidates.

Campbell created an online petition that calls LCDC’s pledge in his membership application a form of suppressing an individual’s right to vote.

“This clause is in violation of two core principles of the democratic party; which is to support the inclusion of many voices and the right to vote without any ill-conceived means to suppress your vote,” he wrote on the petition.

He said he decided to create the petition only after attempts to speak with LCDC leadership and members about his decision to run for mayor as an independent were rebuffed.

“I started communicating with the local committee chair in December 2017 and was denied the opportunity to speak to the membership where I wanted to share my reasons for not wanting to rejoin LCDC in January 2018,” he said. “I made repeated attempts in January, February and March to meet with new LCDC leadership and the Democratic Committee of the 10th Congressional District with the only response being an email that indicated my written complaints about voting rights and the ill-conceived membership loyalty oath had no basis for a complaint on the state or local level.”

Campbell sought and won the endorsement of the LCDC in his 2016 race for council. He is running for the town’s mayoral seat as an independent against incumbent Kelly Burk, who has been endorsed by the LCDC.

He said he sparred with LCDC leadership and two other candidates endorsed by the Democrats in the 2016 council race—Burk and Evan Macbeth—throughout the campaign over the partisan nature of the race.

“Even though I won my race I have been told by party officials and other elected Democrats that I ran a non-traditional race and it was not well received by the party,” he said. “I have determined that running in a local race unendorsed by any party allows me the freedom to serve in the best interests of the people and not the party. My political affiliation is not tied to this local committee and over the course of my life, my values and integrity have been mine to choose.”

As of Thursday morning, 21 people had signed the petition. Among the signers is Gwen Pangle, who ran unsuccessfully as an independent for Town Council in a February special election. Joshua Thiel, who was supported by the Loudoun County Republican Committee, won that election, besting both Pangle and the LCDC-endorsed candidate, Neil Steinberg.

Campbell has said he wants to take politics out of local elections. The Town Council and mayoral seat are non-partisan. Still, most candidates seek the endorsement of one of the local parties, and candidates running independently have not been as successful.

LCDC Chairman Al Nevarez said Campbell didn’t have any concern about the committee’s bylaws when he sought the party’s endorsement two years ago. He has also invited him to seek its endorsement in his mayoral run.

“He has a campaign strategy and a big part of his strategy is to act as though the Democratic party didn’t give him a fair shake. I’ve told him if he wants to seek our endorsement he can. He’s chosen not to,” he said.

Nevarez noted that the core mission of the LCDC is to elect Democrats to accomplish larger goals such as equal access to quality education, defending immigrant rights and protecting natural resources. “So outlining rules for members to support the Democrats on a ballot I don’t think is unrealistic or unreasonable,” he said.

The Loudoun County Republican Committee asks members to take a similar pledge to support Republicans.

Regardless of whether either local political committee changes its requirements, Campbell hopes the petition raises recognition of the issue at its heart, to make local races truly non-partisan.

7 thoughts on “Campbell Petitions Democratic Committee to Allow Members to Support Independents

  • 2018-04-05 at 4:22 pm

    Look at Campbell history:
    Lived in town 17 years and was appointed to a commission 15 years ago and quit after 4 months; then DEM Party Chair Martinez appointed him to another commission during the election year to show he has done something.
    He complained to the DEM party about the selection process for Congress cause he was not getting the nod.
    Open Mayor seat selection process by Council was ok until he did not get selected Mayor, then that process was bad, why cause he was not handed the Mayor position.
    Then there was the open Council seat which he wanted and again he did not get it so that process was also bad.
    Then he gladly runs on Dem ticket without question and getting full benefits and wins a Council seat. Less then a year in office he wants to run for Mayor. He was told by Martinez he would not get the endorsement so he now claims to be independent.
    He wants to be a Democrat insider but he has done nothing for any political party nor for his town. He claims that he wants bus shelters at $30,000 each all over town for the 20 people who ride the bus. He suggest and Economic commission which suggested 75 action items of which 70 had already been done or tried in town, but he did not know that cause he has been uninvolved for 17 years. And just two weeks he suggests $2,000,000 more in tax spending on top of the other $1.5 million increase he is supporting.
    We can afford this want-a-be no matter what party or nonparty he claims to be from today or tomorrow.

  • 2018-04-05 at 10:30 pm

    Good Ole Liar,
    Once again you post so many untruths that I feel I want to take advantage of the opportunity to respond. When I was appointed to the technology commission it was a great honor and when my job situation required me to travel and I would miss too many regular meetings I felt the right thing to do was resign and let someone else be appointed. I don’t know anything about the congress nod, you must have been dreaming. I have been quite happy my entire life as an activist on many issues and when we settled in Leesburg it has been my pleasure to work quietly until I ran for office serving my community. It’s strange that I never see you out anywhere at anytime or at any event. When I announced for Mayor I did so on the platform of running unendorsed not because I was refused the support by anyone at anytime. The best position to serve is not representing a party but the people. I am not an independent, state election code requires all local candidates to be listed without any party affiliation. You can try to mislead the public with your untruths but the reality is that the Town currently spends $20/$30,000 per bus shelter and I say we can do better with a public private partnership and serve more people. We have over 59 bus stops in town and only have 13 bus shelters. My plan might cost the town some money but less than they currently spend. And as a final thought, the process we engaged in last week is called a budget exercise and this is how it works, you look at all the necessary items proposed by staff and then you make a priority list, then you look at funding options and make more choices as you deliberate, at the end you make decisions. Just because at an earlier point the considerations might look like they require extreme tax increases or cuts, an experienced person knows that this is just a point in time in a competent process.
    Good ole mis-informer-in-chief, please keep giving me the opportunity to correct what most people know is wrong if it comes from you.

  • 2018-04-06 at 9:17 am

    I presume he means the Democrats were angry he ran a “non traditional race” by doing what every candidate has to do — run your own campaign with your own message, media (palm card, ads, etc.). He also was the top vote getter (among 8 candidates) in Tolbert, East leesburg and Brandon Park, the largest non-white precincts in the town. But in my estimate, Ron also won in large part because (1) he was endorsed by the Democrats and ran in the 2016 election year when Hillary Clinton swept Loudoun and Barbara Comstock (the next position on the ballot) lost the county by a hair (2) the ballot order is alphabetical by last name, and Campbell was top on the ballot. Having top position is helpful. See the 2012 results and how much Dave Butler beat out the No. 2 candidate, Tom Dunn. I was last on the ballot in 2016, but top vote getter due to name recognition. I do not blame the local dems for wanting a loyalty pledge. We Republicans have that, too. So, when you get endorsed by the party you get the benefit of having your name on the sample ballot and do not have to round up 30 or 40 people to work the polls to hand out your stuff. As for partisanship, before Tom Dunn, myself and a number of volunteers worked hard (2010 to 2011) to get a referendum to move town elections from May to November, the Democrats ALWAYS endorsed, the GOP did not. As such, the LCDC opposed the election move on their 2011 ballot. It still passed 75-25% So the move to November helped level the playing field. There is considerable debate on whether the Council is now more “partisan.” Yes, but not due to the elections but the people who bring partisanship on the dais to almost every decision. and, i would not say Ron is one of them. If Ron wants to run as an independent for Mayor, he needs to NOT do what Dave Butler and Katie Hammler did in 2016

  • 2018-04-06 at 11:15 am

    The party should approve as long as the following conditions are met:

    1. No party candidate and
    2. Independent has the same or at least aligned platform as the party.

  • 2018-04-06 at 1:05 pm

    Reid your out of town job must be keeping you far out of touch to say Campbell is not partisan. He must be one of those non-partisans who always votes the liberal agenda. He would be very happy if the Dems were selecting him.

    Mr C you are quick to call someone a liar but you do not deny 90% of what was stated. You can’t have your own facts

  • 2018-04-06 at 2:44 pm

    “Campbell hopes the petition raises recognition of the issue at its heart, to make local races truly non-partisan.”

    Good for you, Ron Campbell. Local races should be non-partisan.

  • 2018-04-10 at 11:48 pm

    only the hardcore party members what to hide behind nonpartisan flag waving. Make the elections partisian to show them for what they truely are.

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