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You forgot a few things...Like Marsden was a Gilmore appointee. And as of a month ago, he was a member of the Fairfax County Republican Committee. Marsden is as much a Dem as Zell Miller. Don't take my word for it. Check out this Connection letter to the editor:

Restoring Democratic Leadership in Richmond

Dear Editor,

With the close of the recent General Assembly session we are reminded once again that Northern Virginia is not getting the leadership it deserves from the Republican majority in Richmond. The elimination of our local judges, our local rules on issues such as red light cameras and gun control, combined with continued support for ludicrous "bedroom peeping" laws all show that it's time for a change in Richmond.

Now, Delegate Jim Dillard of Burke has announced his retirement. Delegate Dillard has always been an enigma, one who has opposed many of the laws mentioned above while in Northern Virginia but at the same time supporting his rural colleagues in House committees in Richmond. His impending retirement is as an opportunity for the Democratic Party to pick up another seat and offer an alternative to Republican incompetence in Richmond.

However, as of today there no actual Democrat has stood up to offer a choice for the voters of the 41st District, which encompasses Burke and parts of Kings Park West, Fairfax Station, and Springfield. The only announced candidate is David Marsden, a lifelong Republican and a former senior aide to Governor Gilmore. That is all well and good, but Mr. Marsden made the baffling decision to file as a Democrat despite a lifelong history of being anything but. The truth about Mr. Marsden's storied history with the Democratic Party:

#1) Marsden spent 30 years as an active Republican official in Fairfax County. During this time, he supported candidates like George Allen, Jim Gilmore, Oliver North, Mychele Brickner, Carter Thomas, George Bush the 1st and George Bush the 2nd.

#2) Marsden was rewarded for his loyalty to the Republican party with an appointment by Jim Gilmore to a cabinet level position as Director of Juvenile Justice, a rare appointment indeed for a "Democrat."

#3) When Gov. Mark Warner was elected and began cleaning up the mess in Richmond, he replaced Gilmore's political appointees with the best-qualified individuals, regardless of party. It comes as a surprise then that Dave Marsden was not rehired.

Yes, that's right. A Democratic Candidate that Gilmore Hired and Warner Fired.

Marsden claims he became a Democrat long ago, and that this flip-flop does not smack of blatant opportunism. However, the facts - so often the thorn in the side of Republican Party - do not back this up. As recently as 2003, Mr. Marsden was a Republican poll worker for Ken Cuccinelli. In 2004, the most important election in recent political history, this "longtime" Democrat did not vote in the Democratic presidential primary despite the fact that 5,200 other people in the 41st found the time to express their preference for who would represent the Democratic Party that he supposedly belongs to. In fact, he has never voted in a Democratic primary. It appears that the first time he will do so will be when he votes for himself on June 14th.

To the Democrats of the 41st District: It is not too late to run.

The filing deadline is April 8th, and surely a district so rich in young professionals and people of ability can find a real, viable Democrat to be our voice in Richmond. If you are interested in running, please contact me at jfrick@gmail.com and I will walk you through the process.


Joseph P. Frick

(The writer is a longtime Democratic activist and the former president of the Robinson Young Democrats.)

With real Dems like Werkheiser and Bulova/Oleszek running in the area, why would anyone help out this guy?


Maura, puuuhhhleeeeezzzeee put another post up so I dont have to see that headline again when I come back to your site. I wanted to puke.


Check out http://virginia2005.blogspot.com to get the real story on "Diamond Dave" today

Dave Marsden

It’s great to know that there’s so much interest in my race here in the 41st District.
I am incredibly grateful for the generous support that I have received from so many local activists, including the Springfield and Braddock Democratic Committees. Unfortunately Senator Ken Cuccinelli is trying to distort information about me and my campaign in order to confuse activists and voters. I would like to clear things up for anyone who may be confused: I have never supported or campaigned for Ken Cuccinelli. While I respect the office he holds, I do not support him now and never have.

I am the Democratic Nominee for the House of Delegates in the 41st District. I decided to run I believed that something was very wrong with the current Republican House leadership and the direction they are taking Virginia. I decided to run because our roads are too congested, our schools do not receive their fair share of funding, and because gang violence is a growing concern in our community. The House leadership has all but ignored these challenges and prefers to focus on wedge issues that divide Virginians and achieve nothing.

I believe we need a change in Richmond. That’s why I decided to run for the House of Delegate and it’s why I decided to run as a Democrat. Simply put, the Democratic Party stands for the best interests of Virginia voters.

Although I’m flattered that some right-wing columnists consider me a “political insider”, I’m not. I spent my career serving the Fairfax County Juvenile Justice system, first as a Probation Officer and then as Superintendent of the Fairfax County Juvenile Detention Center. I saw first-hand what happens when families and communities neglect young people and their future.

After retiring from the Detention Center, Jim Dillard asked me to run his campaign. I was honored to do it. Jim Dillard has long carried the support of Democrats and Republicans alike, because he shares our values: investing in education, protecting our environment, standing up for working people, civil rights, and fiscal discipline.

While I fully supported Jim, I did not support other local Republican candidates, including Senator Cuccinelli. The work I did distributing sample ballots during the 2003 election was meant to benefit Jim only, not Senator Cuccinelli. His assertion that I somehow campaigned directly for him is nothing more than a political gimmick meant to confuse voters.

I hope Republicans and Democrats alike see through these sorts of tricks and focus on what is really at stake in this election: our schools, our transportation system, and a growing gang problem. I am proud to be the Democratic nominee here in the 41st District and welcome the support of all like-minded Virginians, who, like me, see the need for a change in Richmond and see that the Democratic Party represents the real interests of Virginians.


Dave, So you admit handing out a Republican sample ballot with Cuccinelli on it?

You know what makes you?

A Cuccinelli Republican.


Marsden--I have even less respect for you now than when I read that letter to the editor.

Not only are you NOT a democrat, you have exposed yourself as nothing more than a political opportunist who whores for whoever he thinks benefits him most. Your explanation is pathetic, and you refuse to own up to your past mistakes CAMPAIGNING FOR THE ENTIRE SLATE OF REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES LESS THAN TWO YEARS AGO. How are we supposed to trust you when you show no character? (Your spelling and grammar are atrocious, too.)

There is no interest in or democratic grassroots support for your campaign because there are REAL DEMOCRATS running in nearby districts who actually deserve our help. You are a Dillard protege who "earned" the nomination only because of backroom deals between Dillard and democratic leadership (shame on them, too!) that strongarmed REAL DEMOCRATS out of the race (like Cathy Belter).

You stand for nothing which is why you won't find many of us standing for you. You sacrificed the republican leadership that protected you and Dillard (when you begged for it) when it was advantageous for you. How long before you sacrifice us to rejoin the republican caucus if it benefits you more?

You are an embarrassment to our party and I am disappointed to even share the adjective democrat with you.

Maura in VA

"Saddemin41" and "arealdem" (same person):

First, you commented here by reprinting an LTE which urged Democrats to run a "real Democrat" in the primary against Dave Marsden, even though the LTE was written before the filing deadline but your post was written weeks after the deadline. If you are really "a real dem", you could have gathered signatures and gotten on the ballot yourself. But you did not, did you? So what do you gain as a "sad dem" and a "real dem" by bashing the Democratic nominee, who ultimately ran unopposed? He may not have the credentials you'd prefer if you ran yourself or ran your idea of an ideal candidate, but he's on the ballot as a Democrat now.

Would you prefer that the 41st elect the Club for Growth acolyte instead of Marsden? If so, you're even less of a "real dem" than you accuse Marsden of being. And IMO that makes you a "sad dem" indeed.


Your avoiding the real issues raised by MANY REAL DEMOCRAT ACTIVISTS to question and attack me reflects your real agenda.

I suppose your question is rhetorical, but I'll answer it anyway. As I don't read the connection cover-to-cover, I did not see the letter to the editor until it was posted on the virginia2005 blog in the 41st discussion, long after the filing deadline. (I wouldn't have run anyway, as I don't have the time to commit to such an effort or the financial resources to forfeit months of salary to serve.) That's when I became aware of all the chicanery that led to this point.

I have been living in the 41st a lot longer than you, and active to boot, so your questioning my commitment to my community falls on deaf ears.

Do I want the republican to win? No. Why do you think I am disgusted to have Marsden as my nominee? Is this logical train of thought too difficult to understand?

Now that I've answered your questions, why don't you take a crack at responding to my legitimate concerns? While you're at it, why don't you tell me where you draw the line? If Connolly/Watts/etc. brokered a deal so Gilmore would be our unopposed DEMOCRAT gubernatorial nominee in 2009, would you give him as spirited a defense if he simply said "I now believe the democrat vision is better for Virginia"? (I bet you haven't been programmed to answer that question.)

The debacle in the 41st makes me and others like me very, very sad.


Jim Dillard has always been a very very liberal Republican. David Marsden is clearly in that mold. The likely Republican nominee is a right-wing Club For Growth guy. Having the Republican win this seat would, effectively, be like having a Republican pickup on social and economic issues. Give Marsden a chance!

Ben Tribbett

Dear Dave,

That was amazing to read. So are you admitting you lied when I asked you about this at the Janurary Springfield Dems meeting? Remember when you shook your head no the entire time I was speaking about you working the polls for Cuccinelli/Dillard? That must have been a relief when you became the nominee and could stop lying about it.

I will say (with my name right out here) I think you are pathetic. You probably enjoy the pain this causes Democrats you fought against for so long.

Asaddem, I agree with what you are saying, but I think you would be better off putting your name on it. I'm sure Dave would like to know, and so would I. By the way, consider a bipartisan request (with me being a Democrat and Dave .... I'll stop here)

Ben Tribbett

Waldo Jaquith

I ain't in the district, and I have no patience for lying. That said:

Welcome, Dave Marsden! As a recovering Republican, the first step is to admit that you have a problem. You've gotten close to doing that. Recovery is a process, not an event -- we understand that distancing yourself from the free-lunch economics and anti-sex social programs of Virginia Republicans is a difficult process that you're only just now beginning. That's OK. That's what step six -- acceptance -- is all about. We'll accept you as you are if you'll accept yourself for what you are. If you're willing to make amends and forgive those Democrats who you feel have wronged you, you'll be well on your way to a full recovery.

Virginia Republicans have tried to close ranks, and in doing so, they've cut off responsible, long-time Republicans -- Del. Preston Bryant is a prime example -- for the sake of adopting an extremist platform. Any Republican like you, Dave, is welcome in my Democratic Party. We're a big tent party, big enough to accommodate recovering Republicans.

Join the weekly meeting. I hear it's at Mr. Bryant's house.


Dillard was more a Democrat than many Va. Dems in the House. Moreover, he was courageous. His endorsement is enough for me, even if Marsden was running as a Republican.

But the fact that Marsden felt so strongly that he changed parties I can't see as a negative. The district is a toss-up, where being a Dem isn't necessarily an advantage. Would we want to kick out Jim Jeffords or Bernie Sanders because they left the GOP, became independents and joined the Democratic caucus?

Isn't converting more Republicans to Democrats what we want?


Gilmore Hired, Warner Fired. Thats all I need to know

Maura inVA

Bob, the Jim Jeffords analogy is a great one. :-) Except Marsden has gone even farther than Jeffords did - he is actually calling himself a Democrat, not an Independent.

As for Bernie Sanders, though, he never was part of the GOP. He's a progressive, through and through. Rep. Sanders helped to found the Progressive Coalition in Vermont, which later became Vermont's successful Progressive Party. (Which has often been a thorn in the left side of Vermont's Democratic Party!) He's long been a champion of working people and has served the state very well as their lone Representative in Congress. And he'll make a great Independent Senator, caucusing with Democrats. But he was never part of the GOP! :-)


Ben Tribbett clearly does not like Marsden--though seemingly wasn't willing to run against him. If he's a real Democrat, he'll stop badmouthing the party's nominee when clearly it will do nothing more than help elect a far-right Republican. The "Dillard/Cuccinelli" attack is too inane to even rise to the level of gotcha politics.


I've enjoyed reading two types of posts on here:

1. Republicans pretending to be Democrats

2. Democratics getting huffed up about very little.

3. Ben Tribbett, who is on a vendetta against Dillard/Marsden.

Fantastic circular firing squad we've got going here.

Ben Tribbett

Woah, before you attack the Dillard/Cuccinelli line that is the exact material Marsden handed out.

Republican Sample Ballot

Vote Cuccinelli for Senate
Vote Dillard for Delegate
Vote Brickner for Chairman

That's what Dave himself admitted to handing out.


fancy math there, paul.

if the concerns voiced are so trivial and easily dismissed, why has no one dismissed them? tribbett may have a vendetta, but you still haven't explained why his reasoning is wrong.

my sources tell me the reason why marsden is running as a dem is because dillard told him there's no way he could win the republican primary when there were dueling primaries. dillard should know--the last time there were dueling primaries, he lost (which is why he retired...he knew he couldn't win the primary either).

can't win the republican primary? switch parties, run as a democrat, and watch as the mindless party drones circle the wagons to protect their new best friend.


Maura, I obviously had a brain freeze re Sanders. I just can't understand what's so bad about Marsden -- that he handed out election ballots? Geez!


Ah, just what we need, anonymous "sources" in addition to anonymous posters.

Okay, here's how I'd dismiss the "concerns": Yes, Marsden, as part of campaigning for Dillard, distributed party flyers that had other Republican candidates in addition to Dillard. Is there anyone here who honestly believes it would not have been political suicide to refuse to participate in the joint brochure or sample ballot? Who believes that the Democrats would keep a candidate who did that? If so, I admire your absolute commitment to principle, but I'd rather win elections. If you think that the existence of such a flyer means that he ought to be lumped with Cuccinelli in purpose and politics, then I think you're misguided.

Here's my question -- this is Democracy for Virginia, not the Democratic Party, and while the principles we support are almost exclusively to be found in the Democratic Party (especially here in Virginia), in concept we judge candidates based on principles, not party. Though more information is always useful, everything I've heard and read of Marsden's views and goals as a candidate seems consistent with those principles. If anyone knows of anything substantive that would disprove that -- public statements, policies or legislation proposed while working for Dillard or at the Department of Juvenile Justice (guilt-by-association or "he was appointed by Gilmore so he must agree with..." don't count), then we've got a real issue to discuss here. If not, then not.

(And Ben, I think you have some legitimate gripes with the way candidates are chosen in Fairfax and Virginia in general, and I think that's an area where a lot of DfV members would be interested in working for change. I just don't think that trashing this candidate is going to help bring about that change, or benefit anyone except Michael Golden.)

Jim E-H

Sorry, that last comment was me. Darn browser auto-filled with the wrong identity.


I don't want to keep bashing but since you guys want to compare Marsden to Jeffords...

Jeffords flipped when the Senate was 50-50. He turned control of the Senate from GOP to Dem. He made a decision that with the Senate that closely divided it was time to join a party that represented his constituents in Vermont better. While he became an I, he caucused with the Dems, and esentially became a part of a Dem majority until the next election.

When the VA House was 50-50 in 1999, we had a GOP Governor (Gilmore) and a GOP Senate. With redistricting coming the next year GOP control of the House would mean they could destroy the Democratic Party. Marsden decided to run (Campaign Manager) a GOP campaign against a VERY ABLE Democratic opponent, Eileen Filler-Corn, and won it late with a very negative campaign. One piece that I recall compared Eileen to a pile of mud.

Marsden won that campaign for his candidate, the Republicans took control, and promptly eliminated FOURTEEN Democratic Delegates in redistricting.

Yeah, great analogy!

Ben T.

Jim: Good post. I have nothing against such a flyer existing. I have no problem with Dillard, an R Delegate being on an R sample ballot. I do have a problem with someone handing that out who in the next state election wants us to believe he is a D. A D would not get near a Cuccinelli ballot.


Perhaps this will shed a little light on why some are so angry about Dave Marsden handing out the entire Republican sample ballot:

In 2003, Dillard had his own, independent election day flier that his volunteers were handing out at the polls. At at least two polling places (where my friend and I worked) Dillard's people didn't even handout a Republican sample ballot, just his flier. They had other Republican volunteers handing out the ballot. I woulnd't be surprised if that was the case at other polls, as well.

Marsden could have chosen to hand out Dillard's flier only, but instead he chose to hand out the full Republican sample ballot. Sorry, but I've got to go with the other posters. Why else would he hand out the entire ballot unless he was either angling for the Republican nomination at the time or he really supported all those candidates? If he really only supported Dillard, why wouldn't he do what the other volunteers did and just hand out Dillard's own flier?


OH MY GOD!!! MARSDEN COULD HAVE GRABBED THE OTHER PAPER BUT HE DIDN'T! I can just imagine it all happening in slow motion, with creepy music playing. And Marsden was laughing an evil laugh!

God you're pathetic. And you're definitely not a Democrat either. You're a right-winger. Probably on Golden's campaign. Get lost, idiot.

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