Then There Were Two

Citing GOP’s ‘Extremist’ Drift, Hess Bows Out Of District 3 Board Race

Posted: May 25, 2013

HARRISONBURG — One of three candidates who sought the Republican nomination for a seat on the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors is bowing out ahead of next week’s firehouse primary.
Connie Hess said Friday that she came to the decision because delegates at last weekend’s state Republican Party convention chose a nominee for lieutenant governor whose beliefs she will not abide.
“[W]hile I am committed to both fiscal and family conservatism, I simply cannot condone the party’s drift toward an extremist, evangelical movement made evident by the nomination of E.W. Jackson,” Hess said in a statement.
Jackson has faced criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for making statements that include — but are far from limited to — comparing Planned Parenthood to the Ku Klux Klan and saying homosexuals are “very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally.”
Hess’ decision leaves a two-man race for the Republican nomination for the District 3 Board of Supervisors seat being vacated by Dee Floyd.
Voters will decide between Rick Chandler, former Dayton town manager, and Ken Patterson, who owned a construction company for 30 years and now works as a consultant.
Polls for Wednesday’s firehouse primary will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Keezletown Ruritan Club and the Grottoes Volunteer Fire Company.
District 3 includes the town of Grottoes and communities of Melrose, Keezletown, Massanetta Springs, Cross Keys, Port Republic and Penn Laird.
No Democrats or independents have declared a candidacy for Floyd’s seat, meaning Wednesday’s polling could make the November election a foregone conclusion.
The District 1 seat held by incumbent Pablo Cuevas is the other position up for election this year to the five-member board. No one has come forward yet to challenge Cuevas, who is seeking a seventh four-year term.
The deadline for candidates to file is June 11.
In an interview Friday, Hess said she’s not yet decided whether she will run as an independent, but she’s certain her values don’t align with the GOP’s choice for Virginia’s No. 2 executive position.
“I’m brand-new in the realm of politics, and I want to make sure I’m standing up in the right direction,” she said.
Hess, 43, of Melrose, is a partner at Valley Engineering.
She would hardly be the first Republican to object to statements made by Jackson, a Chesapeake minister.
Jackson was nominated to the statewide ticket along with Sen. Mark Obenshain of Harrisonburg, who is running for attorney general, and gubernatorial candidate and current AG Ken Cuccinelli.
Hess described Jackson’s rhetoric on homosexuals, Planned Parenthood and other issues as “indefensible and really just an attack on humanity itself.”
“He’s been unapologetic about anything he’s said,” she said, “and nobody has really stepped up and said wait a minute, this guy is maybe a little bit radical.”
Contact Jeremy Hunt at 574-6273 or

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the time for Wednesday's polls, which run from 4 to 8 p.m.