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Value of endorsements in Spotsylvania supervisor races remains to be seen.
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Date published: 9/7/2003
Members worked for more than 25 hours on the endorsements announced yesterday at a rally, he said. "This was not a whim by any means," Witt said.
VSS spent about the same amount of time putting together its recommendations, said Kevin Leahy, spokesman for the group's Spotsylvania chapter. The PAC, which does not have a membership roll, also has seen public interest piqued since Chancellorsville.
"People are really going to look at this election," Leahy said. "I think it's going to be a turning point."
VSS endorsed Bob Hagan in last year's special election for the Courtland District seat.
Volunteers handed out fliers and erected bright yellow, plywood-sheet-size signs for Hagan at the three Courtland polling places. "Lower Taxes Stop Sprawl Vote Hagan," the signs read.
Hagan, who captured 64 percent of the vote, believes VSS' presence at the polls was a factor.
Like any endorsement, Hagan said, "It provided a short cut for deciding who to vote for. It's like getting the Good Housekeeping seal of approval."
But veteran Supervisor Emmitt Marshall, who is running for his seventh four-year term, does not place much stock in what the groups say.
"The endorsements weren't important enough for me to seek," he said. "I don't think it's going to matter in any district in the county."
Marshall, who has been out talking to constituents in the Berkeley District, said no one has mentioned the PACs. County voters "are smart enough to decide for themselves who to vote for," he said.
Jim Smith, chairman of the county's Democratic Party and a former county supervisor, said the endorsements can help draw attention to issues, but he's not sure how much impact they will have.
"The people will judge each one of the candidates on what they stand for and their past actions," he said.
Smith's party is not running any board candidates. "Partisan politics doesn't really have a strong place in local politics," he said. The Democrats plan to direct their energies to state Sen. Edd Houck's re-election campaign.
But the county GOP is taking a different approach. Four candidates are running as Republicans.
Hagan, one of the Republicans, said partisan politics don't play a substantial role in local government, but the party label is another clue for voters.
"There are people who will vote for a Republican before they will vote for a Democrat," he said, "because it does suggest a pattern of voting on size of government and taxes."
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