Battle for the 31st
Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, R-31st is trying to return to the General Assembly for the seventh straight time after a failed lieutenant governor bid earlier this year. Photo courtesy of the Lingamfelter campaign
Democrat challenger Jeremy McPike was cleared of any wrongdoing in a recent whistleblower case in the city of Alexandria but has received criticism for his role in the case by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter. Photo courtesy of the McPike campaign
Despite a relatively easy victory in 2011, Virginia Delegate Scott Lingamfetler, R-31st has come out swinging against his latest foe heading into the November election.
Attempting to win his seventh consecutive term in the House of Delegates, the Woodbridge resident and former candidate for Lieutenant Governor is challenging Democrat candidate Jeremy McPike’s stewardship of money and his ability to work well with others.
Earlier this year, McPike was embroiled in a whistleblower case as the Director of the General Services for the city of Alexandria. Fired architect Henry Lewis raised concerns over how McPike – his boss at the time – was handling contract documents with Whiting-Turner to build the city’s new $81 million police station.
According to the Alexandria Times, Lewis was fired in 2011 and then sued the city under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayer Act. Although McPike was cleared of any wrongdoing, the city was found guilty of violating whistleblower status and is appealing the case to the Circuit Court of Appeals.
“I think when people bring you waste, fraud and abuse, you should thank them, not fire them,” said Lingamfelter, who championed his 2009 audit-related bill of the Virginia Department of Transportation during an interview with the Fauquier Times last week.
McPike wouldn’t go into detail about the whistleblower case but stated that he will “not tolerate poor performances from my employees,” and that he “will continue to fight for good government.”
McPike added that cleaning up the gift culture in Richmond is a priority and criticized Lingamfelter for his 2011 trip to a French uranium mine paid for by Virginia Uranium.
According to VPAP, the trip was worth $8220.
“The irony is that while I was fighting for good, accountable government, Scott was taking special interest funded luxury trips to Paris,” McPike said.
Lingamfelter defended his trip in which he was accompanied by both Republican and Democratic Delegates alike.
“The trip two years ago to France was a bipartisan inspection of a former uranium site there (which is similar to Southside Virginia), so legislators understand the difficult issues surrounding uranium mining,” wrote Lingamfelter in an e-mail Monday.
With only six weeks before the election, both candidates are doing their best to raise support in the district, which includes a large portion of Prince William County and as well as a large section of eastern Fauquier County.
In data provided by the Virginia Public Access Project, Lingamfelter has received $82,834 in cash contributions from 215 individuals, groups or Political Action Committees in 2013 while McPike has garnered $55,970 in cash contributions from 370 various sources.
McPike has received approximately 80 percent of his cash and in-kind large contributions ($100 or larger) from in-state compared with 90 percent from Lingamfelter.
However, with Fauquier County only encompassing roughly 21 percent of the 31st District, neither candidate has received much financial support from those in that jurisdiction. McPike has just $2050 from Fauquier County compared with Lingamfelter’s $3642.
Lingamfelter’s largest contributors have been from those in his party as well as coal, electric and nuclear energy lobbyists.
He’s also received $1,000 from Brookside Communities LLC for this year’s campaign, and $23,540 from the Fauquier County-based developers since 2002.
Lingamfelter garnered $5,000 from Brookside principal Ed Moore before his 2011 re-election campaign, as well.
Lingamfelter said voters in his district always come first despite where he gets his campaign money. In the last election, he won nearly 79 percent of the Fauquier residents who voted that day.
“Back in the days during the [Dominion] power line crisis in 2007, I stood against some corporations who basically helped me politically,” Lingamfelter said. “I told them ‘I’m sorry, my first loyalty is to the people of my district.'”
Lingamfelter recently met with Grapewood subdivision residents, who are extremely concerned with Brookside’s plans to connect Grapewood Drive with Brookside Parkway in New Baltimore. While he said he’d be happy to help everyone involved come up with an amicable solution, Lingamfelter said residents need to stay engaged with the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors first and foremost.
“I have spoken to some of the local supervisors, and I have encouraged them to try to resolve it in the best way possible,” Lingamfelter said.
McPike’s largest cash donors have been $3,000 apiece from a Vienna-based real estate investor and a Richmond-based pro-choice group called Women’s Strike Force.
He’s also received a substantial amount of support from Prince William County, where he’s outraised Lingamfelter by nearly $4000.
In the 88th District, which encompasses the southeast corner of Fauquier County, Republican incumbent Mark Cole has raised more than $28,000 compared to Democrat challenger Kathleen O’Halloran’s $8,140.
The 88th is primarily made up of Spotsylvania and Stafford Counties and the city of Fredericksburg.
Cole was initially elected to the House of Delegates in 2001 and has been unopposed in the last two election cycles.
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