Euille launches write-in bid for re-election

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By Erich Wagner (File photo)

Updated Thursday, September 10

Mayor Bill Euille announced Sunday he is launching a write-in campaign for re-election in front of a crowd of residents and supporters at Waterfront Park.

In June, Euille lost the Democratic primary for mayor to Vice Mayor Allison Silberberg by 312 votes, while former Mayor Kerry Donley finished third. The four-term mayor said he did not plan on a write-in effort initially, but came to the decision after numerous supporters encouraged him over the last two months.

“Yeah, I lost a primary,” Euille said. “And I tried to put a new life before me. I got job offers, I travelled and I thought a lot about it. But every time, I would come home to Alexandria, and people would run up to me at the grocery store or on the Metro and encourage me to run.

“This city is worth fighting for. I was born and raised here, and I will not go quietly into the night; not when the jobs, decent paychecks and the lifestyles of the people I love the most are at stake.”

Euille said he is taking a leave of absence from the Alexandria Democratic Committee, which prohibits its members from running against or supporting candidates not on the local party slate. He cited a number of the city’s recent achievements, from its unemployment rate of less than 4 percent and the increase in parklands over the last decade, to a recent report ranking Alexandria in the top 10 cities of its size for economic success.

The mayor then launched a scathing attack on Silberberg’s record.

“[Her] view of public policy is to just say ‘No,’” Euille said. “I will not sit back and watch as a tide of naysayers take over the city. I will not watch our triple-A bond rating be jeopardized. I am energized and I will spread that energy to make sure everybody gets involved.

“We must stop this epidemic of naysaying before it spreads.”

Silberberg said in an interview that she had known a write-in challenge from Euille was a possibility and is prepared for it.

“It’s not a surprise,” she said. “It is his right to run, although he and Mr. Donley and I did sign a pledge at the [city] Registrar of Voters saying that we would honor the outcome of the primary and not run for another party. But regardless of the mayor’s announcement on Sunday, my campaign has been and will continue to be full steam ahead.”

Before Euille spoke on Sunday, former City Councilor Lonnie Rich announced that he and Donley are endorsing the write-in effort, and will offer support both in campaigning and fundraising.

“[In the spring], I had a choice between two mayors with long careers to support, and I supported Kerry because that’s who I served under,” Rich said. “But today, both Kerry Donley and I endorse and support Mayor Bill Euille’s write-in campaign.”

Rich cited his own experience on city council as part of the reason he believes Silberberg is not ready to be mayor. He said he found himself still learning the intricacies of Alexandria’s various policies a full six years into his tenure.

“She lacks the understanding and the balance of our fiscal policy,” he said. “[Silberberg] is seriously misguided if she believes she can severely limit growth while still maintaining key services. … We all want neighborhood preservation, particularly our historic districts, but we can grow as well.

“To keep everything the same is to stagnate. It’s not easy to achieve the right balance, so we need experienced, proven leaders.”

Donley was unable to attend Sunday’s announcement, but said Tuesday that he came to his endorsement decision following meetings with both Silberberg and Euille.

“I think [Euille] does have the experience and the record that you can point to and you know,” Donley said. “Allison is a good Democrat and a really nice person, but I think her campaign lacks a fair amount of specificity.

“For example, she talks about how she’s concerned about the debt, but she has always supported bond issues [while on city council]. The Potomac Yard Metro station, school capacity issues and the combined sewer maintenance issues — she supports all of those, but doesn’t seem to have a tangible plan about how to reduce the debt.”

Silberberg dismissed common refrains from Euille and his supporters, that her victory was purely a function of low turnout and strong Republican support, as unsupported by the facts.

“By all accounts, the Registrar of Voters predicted what the turnout would be on June 9, and it ended up being much, much higher than they had predicted,” she said. “It was very good turnout for an off-year primary election and that is a fact. The other thing, regarding Republican support, while it is true that I did receive some Republican votes, so did Mr. Donley and Mr. Euille.

“All three of us received not only support from [Republican] voters, but generosity as well. Not any one candidate had a corner on that market.”

Euille told reporters that he knows the immense difficulty of running a write-in campaign, but he feels he is ready for them.

“Of course I’m concerned — we have 58 days to make this campaign successful,” he said. “We need everyone to join this effort. This will be just as challenging as the primary, and we have to do a lot of field and groundwork to ensure we have grassroots support.

“But the real challenge will be to get people to spell my name correctly.”

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22 COMMENTS

  1. I had the pleasure of hearing Mayor Euille announce his write-in campaign today at Waterfront Park. I would have voted for him regardless of his decision, but am really excited that he is actively running. I will do my part to help get the word out

    • Oh, the irony! Bill Euille, our resident Poet Laureate, quoting, or should I say, badly misquoting, poet Dylan Thomas’s “Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night”. Perhaps Euille and his new best buddies falling out of the clown car, Kerry Donely and Lonnie Rich should have done their homework so they would know that Thomas’s poem is about dying and death. To quote a line, “Though wise men at their end know dark is right”- is basically saying wise men know when to give it up. Perfect!

      • The only person wisely ending something was you ending your foolish letter. I look forward to an easy Euille victory come November. The low-turnout nature of the election will make a well-coordinated write-in campaign among the City’s true Democrats an easy venture.

        • “Well coordinated” like his primary effort? That worked really well.

          What’s really happening here is establishment Alexandria democrats are bitter about being beaten by Silberberg, and the developers they represent want to them to fix their bumbling.

          “True democrats” in Alexandria mean “African Americans who vote for Eullie automatically” and “Wealthy liberal socialites who play with city planning.”

          Silberberg was a good choice then, and she’s still a good choice.

          • Playing the race card – classy. Mr. Euille’s base of support comes from people of all races, income levels, and walks-of-life in our City. A bit of voter education to inform people about the write-in candidacy will show that he is the leader that Alexandria residents want.

            Talking with neighbors in my building, I know that the West End is “all-in” for Bill.

          • This is correct.

            Euille’s biggest supporters are developers who don’t live here and the wealthy ones who do. The wealthy ones include many who are benefiting financially and otherwise from the development. It includes a large number of the lawyers in Alexandria (Lonnie Rich is just one example). They’re a cabal who feed off the local government and are the ones who put Euille in power initially. They became unhappy w/their “purchase” (Euille) so they pushed their old buddy Donelly into trying to take Euille out in June. They did so before Silberberg announced she was running. Once their plan backfired and Silberberg won, they devised a Plan C (they already had a Plan B in case Donelly lost to Euille–to have a Republican or Independent challenge him in Nov.) which is what we are seeing.

            This “ingenious” plan was devised by a small number of people who do not care about the citizens or about the City. They use the City, the City workers and the tax payers’ money to enrich themselves financially and to gain and keep power. Incredibly corrupt.

          • Silberberg’s primary effort gained her less than 40% of the primary vote, despite a small primary electorate with a disproportionate number of affluent OT voters, including many Republicans.

            I do think this will be a hard battle for Euille, because a write in campaign is inherently difficult. If he even comes close it will be a loud message to the Council.

          • Versus Wealthy Republican socialites who decry “evil developers” who might make it harder for them to park their Jaguars near their million dollar homes.

      • “Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
        Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
        Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

        Euille is a good man, and his deeds, the rise of this City, as a strong, economically healthy city for all, will dance across the bays and inlets of Potomac, and not prove frail. We, the progressive people of the CIty, will not allow the light to die.

          • A. Actually the word came from Hegel, and was later adopted by Marx
            B. In the US it was a term used by the teddy roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Robert LaFollette, etc. They were not afraid to use a word that had been used by Marx, and neither am I
            C. Thank you for admitting that Silberberg is not progressive.

  2. Former Councilman Rich’s asserts Vice Mayor Silberberg lacks enough experience to be mayor after almost three years on council. He apparently forgot the late Mayor Chuck Beatley served on council for only about a year before winning his first term as mayor. He also appointed Mr. Rich to his first major civic commission to review the City’s Charter, and one would think he would not make remarks that could be interpreted as disparaging his early patron.

    For ID purposes, this respondent managed Mayor Beatley’s last successful mayoral campaign, and his views on local issues have had no influence on public policy since the introduction of barbed wire to the prairie. K

    • It not just that Silberberg has not been on the Council long – it is also that she has been singularly ineffective on the Council. And not just because she is outvoted. But because she has nothing insightful to say.

      Watch the Council hearings on TV on something not related to waterfront development. I watched the presentation on the investments to deal with combined sewer outflows. Most of the Council members had interesting questions about it. Silberberg had nothing in particular to say.

      The only good thing is if she does manage to get elected, she will hardly matter.

      • From the day Silberberg started on council as Vice Mayor (a position resulting from having received the most votes of any council member) the old boys network sought to shut her down. They didn’t want an “outsider” who represented the average citizen and had differing opinions jeopardizing their monopoly.

        I know for fact other council members were saying untrue things about her that were repeated and became the “narrative”. This was within a month or two of being on council.

        I and others have seen council meetings and have a very different impression of Silberberg and her fellow council members. This has and will serve her well.

  3. Euille has some nerve to attack Silberberg’s record. He’s on the Metro Board of Directors, yet has been totally AWOL as Blue line service was cut by 50%. But I guess once he’s lined his pockets with developers’ money, he doesn’t care about the day-to-day life of city residents.

  4. Donley and Euille together got over 60% of the primary vote, I hope their supporters all come out and vote for Euille. Silberberg is the candidate of wealthy homeowners from East Alexandria, mostly Old Town and and a few nearby neighborhoods. We need a mayor for all Alexandria, for the owners and the renters, for the affluent and the poor and the in between, for white, black, hispanic, and asian, for East Alexandria and West Alexandria, for people who live in single family homes and people who live in high rises and in public housing..

    As for developers, yes they build housing, which is sorely in demand in this City and this region. And which will pay taxes to fund the govt of Alexandria and help the people who rely on CIty programs (as I suppose most members of the OTCA, and the Republicans who crossed over to vote Silberberg in the Dem primary, do not)

    • Actually, many Republicans (and Indep) voted for Donelly (and will not vote for Euille) so your theory is flawed.

      The Euille supporters are trying to claim that extreme development, big business & Chamber of Commerce is the ideology of the Progressives. This is confusing because historically Republicans are the party of big business/development and Dems are for big government, unions, etc. but NOT unfettered development. They claim that Silberergs’ approach to development and other issues makes her a pseudo Republican. Nice try!!

      Guess this false narrative is what Euille got from DC political consultants paid for w/LOTS of his campaign money.

      • Actually, what makes people, including me, think that Silberberg is closely tied to Republicans in this town is the way the Republican Committee is using her campaign as part of their overall campaign strategy. Van Fleet and Wood attended her election night party, Van Fleet has been an outspoken supporter of Silberberg in his letters to the press; and other Republican candidates have referred to her in their campaign material. The question is will the Republicans go so far as to put Silberberg’s name on the Republican sample ballot?

  5. Dems have always accepted the support of businesses willing to agree to progressive policies, and have never opposed economic development. In this case development brings revenue to support govt programs, density to support mass transit, and also provides housing that is in demand in the region. It is opposed because a few owners of very expensive houses want the zoning and development policies of the City to serve them.

    That the City’s most vocal Republicans loudly support her only confirms this.

  6. “The Euille supporters are trying to claim that extreme development, ”

    I know, all the 40 story hi rises being built in Potomac Yard and on the Waterfront, all the neighborhoods of detached single family homes being bought out and torn down for apartments – oh wait, that is not happening, and is not proposed?

    There is no extreme development happening in the City. There is attractive smart growth, that will mean less sprawl at the edges of the metro area, more people taking transit, walking and biking, and a healthier planet for our children and grandchildren. Plus it generates revenue for the City of Alexandria, provides housing people want to live in, and as a bonus (because I am no Marxist) it lets property owners do what they wish with their private property. Win – win – win.

    Except for those who bought in Old Town wanting a suburban lifestyle with historical trimmings.

  7. It is disappointing Euille will not honor his commitment to support the party’s nominee. In retrospect, it was easy to make that pledge until he was stunned to lose the primary. Not exactly a stand up guy (which may be a reason why he lost in the first place). While a write-in candidate won a long, long time ago, it seems highly unlikely that a write-in campaign can succeed in today’s highly partisan environment. What is more apparent is that local business interests are petrified at the thought of losing what they consider their rightful place at the front of the line drinking from the public trough..