JAMES CITY — More than 100 people gathered at the Old Chickahominy House restaurant on Jamestown Road Thursday night for an evening of food, politics, music and parody.
It was a fundraiser for Roberts District Supervisor John McGlennon, and attracted a large crowd of Democrats, independents and at least one former Republican, Stonehouse Supervisor Jim Kennedy, who is running for re-election as an independent.
The other independent candidate for supervisor, Ruth Larson, running in the Berkeley District was also present.
McGlennon, Kennedy and Larson are running against a Republican ticket of Heather Cardasco in Roberts District, Sue Saddler in Stonehouse District and incumbent Berkeley District Supervisor Mary Jones.
"I want to thank you all for your support," McGlennon told the crowd. "We've gone well past our goal, we'll be able to get our entire message out the way we need to."
At $35 a head, the take for the event would have been about $4,000. But McGlennon said there were sponsorship opportunities at higher dollar figures.
"And many people took advantage of those," he said.
In addition to Kennedy and Larson, McGlennon introduced others who will be on the ballot in November, including Sen. John Miller, D-Newport News, Del. Monty Mason, D-Williamsburg, Democrat Hugo Reyes who is running against Sen. Tommy Norment, R-James City, and independent Brandon Waltrip, who is running against Del. Brenda Pogge, R-James City.
Williamsburg City Councilman Scott Foster was also in attendance.
In his remarks, McGlennon was critical of the three Republican supervisor candidates.
"We have three candidates who are running as one, they don't talk to the press, they don't attend forums unless they can dictate the rules, they only answer questions submitted via email and who knows who writes those responses?" he asked. "They won't let them answer any questions. What are they afraid they might say?"
McGlennon said the campaign was about outside groups trying to take the county over from the citizens of the county.
And he named them.
"Americans for Prosperity, the Koch Brothers group that operates nationwide, the Family Foundation, which has an extreme social agenda, and the Tea Party."
Reached at the WJCC School Board candidate forum, James City County Republican chairwoman Amanda Johnston replied to the charges.
"First, if you've met our candidates you know that they are all individuals. But they are all Republicans. And we have a party platform. It has planks. And one of them is opposition to the tax increase. Since the Democrats are all in favor of the tax increase, I assume they are running as a group too," she said.
She said McGlennon was just wrong about the national groups.
"Let me take the last one first. There has not been an active Tea Party in James City County in several years. There was one in 2010, there isn't one now. And when there was one, they were all local people, they weren't affiliated with any national group," Johnston said. "As for Americans for Prosperity and the Family Foundation, they haven't done anything for our candidates, they haven't donated any money to our candidates. They don't have any influence on, or as far as I know any interest in, our local races."
Johnston is apparently mistaken about the Tea Party.
The Historic Triangle Tea Party Patriots have an active Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/whttpp, which was updated as recently at Thursday.
While political speeches and ham biscuits may have been the big draw at McGlennon's event, a former supervisor may have provided the highlight.
Accompanying himself on hammered dulcimer Andy Bradshaw sang two political parodies of Bob Dylan songs, "The Voters, It's Sure Hard To Please 'Em" to the tune of the "The Times They Are A Changing" and "Send John Back Again" to the tune of "Blowing In The Wind."
Vaughan can be reached at (757) 345-2343.