Warren supervisor quits GOP over successor

Richard Traczyk

FRONT ROYAL – A Warren County supervisor quit the local Republican Party this week because he doesn’t support his successor to the seat.

Shenandoah District Supervisor Richard Traczyk submitted a letter to Warren County Republican Committee Chairman Stephen Kurtz on Thursday indicating his intention to resign from the party.

Traczyk, currently the board chairman, chose not to run for re-election and his term ends Dec. 31. Shenandoah District voters elected former Front Royal Town Councilman Thomas H. Sayre on Nov. 3 to succeed Traczyk. Sayre beat Ralph Rinaldi, a member of the Planning Commission, and Dee Schools.

Traczyk said in an email Friday that he and his wife decided to resign from the committee because the party rules deem resignation necessary if a member doesn’t support the Republican candidate in a general election.

“I felt that Supervisor elect Tom Sayre was absolutely the wrong person to fill my position and I supported Ralph Rinaldi,” Traczyk states. I can not in good conscience support a candidate I feel is totally wrong for this important position just because he is a Republican.”

Sayre responded by phone Friday to Traczyk’s decision.

“Unfortunately, there was some negative, erroneous chatter and actions by some of our Republicans, which caused scandal in our local party,” Sayre said. “He has made it known to me that he cannot support some of my more conservative views.”

Reached by phone Friday, Traczyk called the Town Council, on which Sayre served, a “completely different world” from the Board of Supervisors. Sayre will be on a board that represents a larger population and oversees a bigger budget than the town, Traczyk said. The supervisor added that he didn’t like how Sayre handled issues while on council. Traczyk warned that Sayre and the board face a tough task of putting together the next budget and might need to consider tax increases. The supervisor said he hopes Sayre acts for the good of the community and not just for the political party.

“I hope Tom surprises me and becomes a very good supervisor,” Traczyk said.

Traczyk states that he didn’t put out campaign yard signs for Rinaldi nor did he write derogatory letters against Sayre or authorize political mailings using his name. However, Traczyk admits that he encouraged friends and neighbors to vote for Rinaldi. Traczyk also signed Rinaldi’s petition to run as an independent.

“I will still support the Republican party but in a different way without the restrictions placed upon me as committee member,” Traczyk states.

The rules of the Republican Party of Virginia require that members who support or vote for a candidate running in opposition to the committee’s nominee cannot participate in that party’s activities for four years, Sayre explained. Traczyk noted that the committee could ask a member to resign if he or she didn’t support the candidate.

Traczyk said he holds no ill will toward the party committee, which he joined 14 years ago while a member of the Planning Commission and before his election to the board, or its members.

“The Republican Party has done well for me over the years,” Traczyk said. “I have no complaints about that.”

Sayre narrowly defeated Rinaldi for the Republican Party nomination in the spring. Shortly thereafter, rather than lend his support for Sayre, Rinaldi resigned from the Republican Party and started a campaign to run as an independent for the board seat.

The election results showed that Rinaldi beat Sayre in his voting precinct. However, Sayre beat Rinaldi in his precinct and by a wider margin.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com