My Side of the Fence

The danger isn't going too far. It's that we don't go far enough.

Firehouse Primary

DavidB wrote on an earlier post:  "So….What does the "Firehouse Primary" this Saturday at Metz mean for City residents?  Anything?  What little I can find in the news doesn't talk about the City at all, mostly just how it may or may not impact PWC.  I'd like to care about what's going in with local Republicans, but there's precious little word out there for the public to see."

David, this is what this is all about: There was to be a primary for all of the republican candidates for office this time around.  PWC has several supervisors who face a challenge from their own party as does the Clerk of the Court and votethe Sheriff.  The Chair of the PWC GOP neglected to file the proper paperwork for a "normal" primary (no, I don't know why or if there is some devious plot but others seem to think this is the case) so we'll have a "Firehouse Primary" at Metz from 10:00-3:00 this Saturday.  I've volunteered to work from 1:00-3:00 so if you vote during that time you'll have the dubious honor of seeing me.  🙂

The residents of the City of Manassas who fancy themselves republicans will be able to vote for the Clerk of the Court and Sheriff.  County residents will be able to vote for their supervisor as well as Clerk and Sheriff.  Pretty sure that anyone that wants to vote will need to sign a pledge stating you're a republican (or something close to that).

For my part, I've endorsed Austin Haynes for Clerk and Glen Hill for Sheriff.  Both good dudes.

Hope that helps


  1. You have to sign a pledge that you will VOTE Republican. And since we never have enough Democrats running to fill every seat, it's a pretty safe pledge for any Manassas City voter to make!

  2. Andy,

    I know there is a lot of chatter about the "conspiracy" involved with the missed primary filing deadline.  Some have concluded that the Chairman of the PWC GOP, Bill Card, deliberately didn't file the paperwork to request a state-run primary in an attempt to place several incumbents at a disadvantage and to help his preferred candidates defeat these incumbents. 

    Everyone loves a good conspiracy, especially us political types.  We like to find meaning in everything, especially when it makes our opponents look bad.

    In this case however, the Chairman simply made a mistake.  And while this may not be an entertaining conclusion, I think it is the right one for three reasons.

    First, Bill Card cares deeply about the public image of the Republican Party, and nothing in this situation makes the Republican Party look good.  Some political operatives might be willing to embarrass their Party to take out political candidates they don't like, but Bill isn't one of them.

    Second, Bill replaced the public primary with a private one: the Fire House this Saturday.  I don't see how that gives the challenges much of an advantage.  It is still a primary in which non-Republicans will be allowed to vote (if they sign the pledge, which deters almost as many Republicans as Democrats). A Saturday primary may even encourage higher turnout than a Tuesday primary, helping the incumbents.

    Moreover, the Fire House primary will be basically a month after the decision was made to hold the Fire House – six weeks before the public primary would have been held.  This forced the candidates to throw together a campaign in almost no time.  Challenges, without money, an organization or a base of volunteers, have had a very hard time doing that.  The incumbents, on the other hand, were much better placed to launch a snap campaign – and have done so effectively.  While I'm sure they didn't enjoy it, the fact is a fast Fire House primary is to their advantage.

    Third, it is clear that none of the challengers had any idea this was going to happen.  None were ready.  None had a plan in place.  And none have been able to respond especially well to the changing campaign schedule.  If Bill was trying to help them by changing the nomination process, wouldn't he have tipped them off?

    Had the PWC GOP chosen a convention instead of the Fire House, I would be suspicious.  But they didn't.  Instead, they chose a nomination process that places challengers in a similar disadvantage as would have a public primary.  All of this says that Bill just made an honest mistake.

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