Manassas Journal Messenger | Candidates stake ground on abortion debate

A Thursday debate before the Prince William Bar Association highlighted six races, including one pitting two highly capable debaters against each other.

The 31st House race features Republican Scott Lingamfelter, one of the rising stars in the GOP’s freshman class elected two years ago, and Democrat David Brickley, a 22-year seasoned veteran of the House whom Gov. Mark R. Warner recruited to run this year.

When he was in office, Brickley said he backed legislation for parental notification for minors’ abortion and a ban on partial-birth abortions. But Lingamfelter wants Roe v. Wade repealed and all abortion illegal with a felony as the penalty, he said.

“Ladies and gentleman, that is exactly why I am running. We have strong laws on the book right up to that ultimate question. I don’t think one religion should be imposed on another’s religion when it gets to that issue,” Brickley said.

Lingamfelter said he is proud of his positions: The dignity of every life is important.

Pro-choice voters would consider Brickley somewhat extreme on his support of a resolution to make Roe v. Wade a U.S. Constitutional amendment, Lingamfelter said.

And Brickley “when he says he supported parental consent, he did it for sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles — the only person he didn’t include [to get consent from] was the pizza delivery guy,” Lingamfelter said.

Brickley clarified after the debate: The exceptions are for dysfunctional families where the parents are not around; siblings had to be over 21.

In the sheriff’s race, Republican challenger Col. Glendell Hill reiterated he is for sheriff’s deputies assisting police for public safety. Earlier in the race he had signaled the sheriff’s department should be limited to its core responsibilities at the courthouse and in prisoner transport. But the difference between him and Democrat Sheriff E. Lee Stoffregen is there needs to be unity and coordination with police — the sheriff didn’t call the police chief in responses to the 911 attacks, he said.

Hill said he would not jeopardize convictions by encouraging improper use of force, alluding to a sheriff’s deputy who Aug. 20 shocking sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad to restrain him after he resisted getting an X-ray.

Details of the hospital shocking are not public. Stoffregen has said he cannot talk about it because of the pending case.

In his response, Stoffregen said Hill’s comments were spin and rhetoric because his department has been vindicated by two audits that show it has the “highest quality standards.”

“I thank the chairman of the Board [of County Supervisors] for bringing that [last] audit. It made me very proud, it made him very embarrassed,” he said.

Stoffregen said the sheriff doesn’t work for the county supervisors or the police but the community that elects him every four years.

“When I responded to the Pentagon, I didn’t wait for an invitation,” he said.

Also at the debate were 29th Senate District candidates incumbent Democrat Charles J. Colgan and Republican David Mabie; 36th Senate District candidates incumbent Democrat Linda T. “Toddy” Puller and Republican Christian Braunlich; 39th Senate District candidate incumbent Republican Jay O’Brien; and 52nd House District candidates Republican Jeff Frederick and Democrat Charlie Taylor.

Democrat Greg Galligan who is challenging O’Brien was unable to attend.

Staff writer Chris Newman can be reached at (703) 878-8062.

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