Former chairman of the Loudoun County Democratic Committee Mike Turner has left the committee following the local Democrats' nomination of Elizabeth Miller for the House of Delegates 32nd District race, Turner said Monday.
Additionally, at least four high-level local Democrats have resigned their leadership positions within the Loudoun County Democratic Committee (LCDC) in the four days since Miller's endorsement, according to current LCDC Chairman Evan Macbeth.
LCDC members who have vacated chairmanship roles include Ellen Heald as membership chair, Denise Pierce as the Algonkian district chair, Robert Pierce as chair of the issues committee and Bob Moses as the Broad Run district chair.
On June 6 the LCDC narrowly nominated Miller to challenge incumbent Republican Del. Tag Greason in November's election. Many Loudoun Democrats viewed the endorsement with skepticism because of Miller and her husband Stevens' history with the LCDC.
Stevens Miller, who was elected in 2007 to represent the Dulles District on the Board of Supervisors as a Democrat, endorsed Republican Ken Reid over Democrat Kelly Burk for the Leesburg district seat in the 2011 supervisors' election. That same year both Millers supported independent candidate Cliff Keirce in the supervisors race over incumbent Democrat Andrea McGimsey.
LCDC bylaws prevent members from endorsing candidates outside the party, according to Stevens Miller, which is why he and his wife resigned from the party committee in 2011.
Macbeth on Monday said the LCDC members who resigned their chairmanships had varying reasons for doing so. He said he “isn't going to pretend” the Miller endorsement isn't a factor in some or all of the party members' decisions.
Macbeth said those party members who stepped down, Turner included, contributed immensely to ensuring President Barack Obama twice won the Loudoun County vote and assisted with candidate recruitment and other party requirements.
Turner, who chaired the LCDC in 2010 and 2011, said his decision to leave the committee wasn't an easy one. He said he still holds Democratic values – “public service, integrity, real problem solving, honesty” – in high regard.
But the local party, Turner said, is only as good as the people it elects to leadership positions. As soon as LCDC members voted 32-30 to select Miller as its nominee, Turner knew he would withdraw from the LCDC, he said.
“At that moment, the LCDC fell way, way below my personal standards of integrity,” Turner said.
Turner named 10th Congressional District Democratic Committee Chairman Charlie Jackson as someone whose leadership he questioned. The 10th Congressional District committee isn't “particularly relevant,” Turner said, pointing to the fact a Democrat hasn't been elected to that congressional seat for the past 30 years.
Jackson was unanimously re-elected to chair the 10th Congressional District Democratic Committee earlier this year.
Turner made it clear he wasn't leveling attacks at current LCDC Chairman Evan Macbeth.
Macbeth is “fair and honest and altruistic” and has “done wonders for the Loudoun County Democratic Committee,” Turner said.
Commenting on the situation, 10th District chair Jackson said: "In any group, and especially political groups, disagreements happen. The challenge is working through disagreements to focus on the big picture and I'm confident every Loudoun Democrat will stand together in the months ahead to elect Terry McAuliffe governor … "