Bailey launches last-minute write-in candidacy in Newport

Published 12:47 pm Wednesday, October 21, 2015

By Diana McFarland

News editor

Newport District Supervisor Buzz Bailey is running as a last minute write-in candidate for the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors despite formally withdrawing from the race earlier this year.

Bailey, who is finishing a first term on the Board, has placed an ad in The Smithfield Times as a write-in candidate, as well as having put up campaign signs in the Newport District.

Bailey said he decided to run as a write-in candidate because he is better qualified than the other two candidates, Albert Burckard and William McCarty. After all, he’s had four years of experience on the Board.{mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

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Also, Bailey said “comments like the tail wagging the dog don’t sit with me,” referring to criticism that the present board is led by the county administration. Bailey pointed out that he was the first vote against the ISLE 2040 plan, first to vote in favor of the Carrollton and Windsor Volunteer Fire Departments, and first to vote against using eminent domain to build the Nike Park bike trail.

The notion that Bailey might run as a write-in candidate first surfaced around the time of the candidate forum held earlier this month. He arrived at the forum dressed in a suit coat and tie and carrying a briefcase, according to witnesses.

He asked moderator and The Smithfield Times Editor and Publisher John Edwards if he could participate, and Edwards advised him to consult with forum organizers.

Isle of Wight Citizen’s Association President Grace Keen took charge of the situation, spoke to Bailey and reported that he would be going home.

He did not participate in the forum.

Later, rumors started swirling that Isle of Wight County Administrator Anne Seward had urged Bailey to run as a write-in because she was fearful for her job.

With three seats up for grabs, it is possible that there will be three new faces on the Board of Supervisors, and the loss of Windsor Supervisor Dee Dee Darden could be a blow because she has been a strong supporter of Seward.

Darden is being challenged by Carrollton Fire Chief Joel Acree, who entered the race, in part, over the controversy over the fire and rescue facilities use agreement.

In addition to the facilities use agreement, which was eventually amended at Carrollton and Windsor’s insistence and signed by all agencies, other proposals put forth by Seward, such as the failed ISLE 2040 and the proposed water line to Gatling Pointe, are some of the reasons candidates Albert Burckard, Dick Grice and Lawrence Pitt are running.

However, when asked about the rumor, Bailey vehemently denied that he would do such a thing and was insulted that the newspaper would, in his view, question his integrity.

Bailey also blamed the newspaper for his decision to pull out of the race in June.

He cited Edwards’ editorial reference to the email scandal two years ago that involved racist emails of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama — an issue that eventually ended up in Isle of Wight Circuit Court.

Edwards said Bailey’s candidacy would become a referendum on racism. At the time, Bailey said he didn’t want to put his family through that again. {/mprestriction}