A petition filed in Loudoun County Circuit Court argues Republican candidate for Commonwealth’s Attorney does not live in the county and is ineligible for the office.
The petition, filed by four Loudoun Democrats, seeks to have Nicole Wittmann, the chief deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney, struck from Loudoun’s voter rolls and disqualified as a candidate, pointing to the home in Herndon where she has long lived with her husband and two children. The same day Wittmann filed her Certification of Candidate Qualification, swearing under oath that her primary residence is in Loudoun, she filed a new voter registration listing a Leesburg address. The new address, the petition says, is an apartment rented from a subordinate, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Alejandra “Alex” Rueda.
Wittmann and her husband Joseph Langone have owned the house in Herndon since 2001, have not separated, and Democrats presented evidence her car is still parked there regularly. The petition also says her bills are still sent to the Herndon address and her children still attend high school in Fairfax County.
The house in Herndon has been put up for sale, listed almost four months after Wittmann filed for office and changed her voting address.
Under Virginia law, to run for office, a candidate must have lived in Virginia for a year and be eligible to vote for that office. If the court finds that Wittmann’s primary residence is in Herndon or that she is ineligible to vote for Loudoun Commonwealth’s Attorney, she could be removed from the ballot. With the deadline to get on the November ballot past, if Wittmann is disqualified, the Democratic nominee Buta Biberaj would appear on the ballot unopposed.
Wittmann’s attorney, Charles King, called the suit “feeble” and said “Biberaj’s suit is a desperate attempt to take the decision about who should be our next Commonwealth’s Attorney away from the citizens, and move it into the court.”
King successfully defended another Republican, David I. Ramadan, against a similar claim in his 2011 race of the House of Delegates.
The petitioners requested Loudoun’s Circuit Court judges recuse themselves from hearing the case. The petition is set on the Sept. 9 docket for scheduling.