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MORE: Dave Butler to run for Leesburg mayor in November

Facebook/Dave Butler, Leesburg Mayor
Current Leesburg Mayor David Butler announced his candidacy for the November mayoral election Monday night.

“I am honored to be Leesburg’s mayor, and I look forward to continuing in 2017 and beyond,” he said during a conference call from Nashville, Tenn. He invited reporters from several media outlets, including the Times-Mirror, to join the call.

First elected to council in 2008, Butler was appointed mayor on an interim basis in February after previous mayor Kristen Umstattd won election to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors last November.

His appointment was anything but smooth, with council going through several rounds of nominations and votes before landing on Butler with a 4-2 vote.

Butler believes that he will stand out from the other two announced candidates, Vice Mayor Kelly Burk and former councilman Kevin Wright, because he has worked with members on both sides of the aisle during his eight-year tenure on council. He also cited the many improvements he helped spearhead, including the Plaza Street bike lanes and the sidewalk-widening project on King Street.

While Burk refused to become mayor because she did not want to create an incumbency for the town-elected position, Butler believes his current experience will help him serve Leesburg.

“There are advantages to running as an incumbent,” Butler said. “I hope that residents will see how they perceive me as mayor, and if they perceive me as doing a good job, then they’ll continue to ask me to do the job.”

When asked why he did not announce his mayoral bid closer to Burk’s announcement and to Leesburg’s Democratic caucus, he said that the caucus’s date during spring break and lack of provision for absentee ballots would prevent many from voting. He wanted the date moved, so he “declined to participate,” he said. If he does not get the Democratic endorsement, he will not seek an endorsement from the Republican Party.

Burk, also a Democrat, believes that Butler has not done enough during his tenure as mayor, and she hopes that her platform of government transparency will set her apart.

"I feel very strongly that there are some important things that we need to work on in the town," she told the Times-Mirror. "He's going to have to do a lot more than get four votes to become mayor this time."

Following are Butler’s complete comments:
Today, I’m announcing my candidacy for Mayor of Leesburg.

In my eight years on Council serving the town, we’ve accomplished a lot. It takes a willingness and ability to get things done. You do this through working with the town staff, our boards and commissions, and the public; and with all members of council, regardless of what side of the aisle they may be on. As I’ve said, you never know where the four votes will come from.

It’s important to focus on improving quality of life for all of our residents, including:

-New development where it makes sense
-Advocating for arts, entertainment, and dining
-Implementing multi-mode transportation improvements, that is, automobiles as well as bicycles and pedestrians
-Improving downtown, which is a key element of what residents say they like about Leesburg

We now have a council room in town hall, mayor’s hours, and we’ve had a state of the town address, all improvements worthy of the largest town in Virginia. I hope to continue this path towards maturing us a town. I’m honored to be Leesburg’s mayor, and I look forward to continuing in 2017 and beyond.


The notion advanced by Burke that she didn’t want to become mayor because she did not want to create an incumbency is laughable.  There is nothing wrong with incumbency; in fact, it is what politicians and party leaders strive to achieve.  The more likely reason she is that her term for council member end December 31, 2018.  If she had been appointed mayor, she would have to give up her council seat.  So if she then ran for mayor and lost, she would not have a seat on the council.  By not being appointed, she is guaranteed a seat at the town council whether she wins the mayoral race or not.

I believe Burk tried to rush the endorsement process to avoid giving Butler the opportunity to prove himself as mayor or for the two candidates to engage in any sort of public forums.  She mishandled the snowstorm crisis and her one job as acting vice-mayor, which was to appoint the new mayor to finish Umstadtt’s term.  (Suzanne Fox and Butler made a bi-partisan call for a special meeting on this.)  She is a poor public speaker and has voted against economic development (i.e. local jobs) time and again on Council.  Not a good choice for a candidate, IMO.

Leesburger with Ketchup’s comment is spot on. I would have loved to have been able to participate in the caucus.  It seems like someone wanted the least amount of participation for a maximum effect.  We need more candidates who can cut through the crap on both sides and work for the betterment of all Leesburg citizens I believe our Mayor is already doing a great job! He will have my vote.

I love how the Democrats blather incessantly about “inclusion” and then, when it doesn’t suit their conniving purposes, they hold a caucus to keep as many people out as possible.

There’s Bob O (Ohneiser) again spouting off without knowing the facts.  Leesburg has a cigaret tax and you cannot run a road through Morven Park!  Stick to school issues

A large Democrat field with Wright, Burk and now Butler.  Dems love to be in control.  Maybe the GOP will find someone.  Maybe some blasts from the past will resurface like Gordon, Schmit, Reid, Hallingshead or Fox.  The new guy Gimell seems on the ball.  What is Dunn going to do, has he announced?

I’m with the Leesburger with Ketchup. Seriously, whose idea was it to hold the caucus during the break? I can’t think of a worse date myself.

Butler should be applauded for not participating in a caucus that disenfranchised voters.  To schedule a caucus on Spring Break and not allow absentee voting is unconscionable, particularly when the simple solution would be to schedule a date voters would more likely be present.  Burk owes the public an explanation as to why she would agree to this.

LAWMAN, Burk has a lot to explain to the Democrats.  On February 8, 2016, she voted for a Republican to be the Leesburg mayor, and when that didn’t pass she voted against a Democrat.  Had she gotten her way, a Republican would be the current mayor.

What I would like to hear from candidates rather than which party they talk to or talk about is:

1 Given how great downtown Leesburg is on first Fridays, flower show, parades and other events where the historic nature can be appreciated isn’t it about time somebody stepped up to lead a bypass effort so traffic going to and from route 15/bridge to Maryland can go from Sterling (behind HHMI) to the bridge?

2 Isn’t it about time the Leesburg Mayor convinced the Loudoun BOS to submit a charter application to the state so they could collect cigarette tax meaning people would have less incentive to avoid Leesburg tax burden on such purchases by buying cigarettes outside of Leesburg. This could increase taxes collected by Leesburg.

3 Love to hear a mayoral candidate describe how they are going to decrease the ridiculous congestion immediately around Leesburg. There seems to be an entrance to a commercial establishment every 10 feet! Can’t some of these entrances be closed (shoppers use service roads)?

4 How about allowing a path through Morven Park? Allow the library parking lots to connect? Connect DMV parking to the neighborhood behind it? etc, etc, etc
Bob O__ Esq.

Uh, didn’t he get the job after he specifically promised not to run in November?

I’d have appreciated the opportunity to vote for Mr. Butler if a caucus had been held. He’s done a good job on Council and as so far as mayor. Spring Break was terrible timing. We need more candidates who can reach across the aisle and work together.

Maybe at some point he can explain why he cut a backroom deal with the Republicans and turn control of the Town over to Bill Fox, yes, Bill Fox, he is pulling all the strings now.  He should not get one single Democratic vote.  Hopefully this will be the end of tenure in Town Government.

This will be one delicious cat fight.

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