Taxes, growth dominate candidate forum

The two Republican candidates for the 29th Senate District race exchanged jabs at a candidates forum Thursday.

Taxes and growth dominated the forum hosted by the Bull Run Republican Women’s Club. Three sets of races were featured but the Senate candidates were the most feisty.

Bob FitzSimmonds, 50, the Republican nominee four years ago, and Clerk of Court Dave Mabie, 49, are facing each other in a Republican convention May 10 to run against Democratic seven-term incumbent Charles J. Colgan, 76.

The state Republican party has targeted the 29th District race as its No. 1 priority this year because it is the most Republican-tilted district in the state represented by a Democrat, FitzSimmonds said.

The fireworks started when conservative activist Denny Daugherty asked Mabie how he could be the best candidate to defeat Colgan after he spoke so highly of him last year.

“Well, first Denny, you should identify yourself as Bob FitzSimmond’s campaign manager,” said Mabie, starting off. Last year Mabie acknowledged his friendship with Colgan.

Mabie said he will not attack Colgan because he is an honorable man, then referred to a “rag of an ad” FitzSimmonds took out in a local newspaper that portrayed Mabie as bought by developers.

FitzSimmonds supports adequate public facilities ordinances, which require county plans for infrastructure be met before developments go in. His ad attacked Mabie on that point and one question at the forum was on who supported them.

Mabie said he is neutral on the ordinances, but they are a double-edged sword. He said the ordinances are the latest cure-all being seized on by people, but really they could drive up housing costs and drive commuters farther away from jobs — and put them on county roads.

“Whoever attacks Sen. Colgan will lose this race,” Mabie said. “I don’t need to say how I’m going to win this race because I’ve won the last two races I’ve been in.”

FitzSimmonds lost to Colgan four years ago. He said he did not attack Colgan then, and Daugherty is not his manager.

The question for voters is whether Colgan represents his constituents. He does not, FitzSimmonds said, and there are no differences between Colgan and Mabie except Mabie can tell voters “I’m like him except I have less experience.”

Also at the forum were Brentsville county supervisor candidates Wally Covington and Richard Jankowski as well as Gainesville county supervisor candidate John Stirrup.

The Brentsville nomination will be decided at the convention and Stirrup’s challenge of incumbent Ed Wilbourn — absent because of a scheduling conflict — will be decided in a June primary.

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