Republicans, independents seek board seats

WOODSTOCK – Shenandoah County Republicans won’t run a candidate for District 4 Board of Supervisors race in November.

Voters instead can expect to choose a supervisor among several independent candidates on the ballot.

The deadline to file with the Shenandoah County Republican Committee to seek the party nomination to run in the Nov. 7 election for seats on the Board of Supervisors passed Thursday. Shenandoah County general voter registrar Lisa McDonald said Monday that Karen Kwiatkowski had filed by the deadline to seek the party’s nomination to run for the District 1 seat on the Board of Supervisors. Former District 5 Supervisor Dennis Morris filed at the last minute to seek the party’s nomination to run for his old seat, which he lost in 2013 to independent candidate Marsha Shruntz.

The Republican Committee will proclaim Kwiatkowski and Morris as its candidates to run for District 1 and 5 respectively. However, no one had filed by the deadline to seek the party’s nomination to run for the District 4 seat held by Cindy Bailey, McDonald said.

Committee Chairman Vito Gentile said Monday that he certified Kwiatkowski and qualified her as the party’s candidate to run for District 1. Morris filed before 5 p.m. Thursday and Gentile certified him to the state Department of Elections as the party nominee for District 5.

Karl Roulston, a founding partner of the Regulus Group and one of several owners of the Woodstock Brewhouse, filed papers with the registrar to run as an independent candidate for District 4. Thomas Spiggle, an emergency responder with the Woodstock Rescue Squad, announced earlier this year he intends to run for the District 4 seat as an independent. McDonald said Spiggle had not yet filed all his papers to qualify for the ballot.

Independent candidates still have until 7 p.m. June 13 to file the necessary documents with the registrar’s office to appear on the ballot in November.

Scheduling the local primary on the same date as the filing deadline for independent candidates makes impossible for anyone who fails to win the party’s nomination to then try their luck as an independent. The situation raised concern among some potential candidates, McDonald said. District 1 Supervisor and long-term Republican John R. “Dick” Neese and initially announced his intentions to seek the party’s nomination to run for a fifth term. Kwaitkowski announced her intentions the next day. Last week Neese announced that instead of seeking the party’s nomination in the primary, he would run as an independent.

Independent bids proved successful for candidates who ran for two of three seats on the Board of Supervisors in 2015. Richard Walker ran as an independent for District 3 and unseated longtime supervisor and Republican candidate David Ferguson. Longtime supervisor Conrad Helsley chose not to seek the Republican Party nomination to run for another term representing District 6 and, instead, ran as an independent. Helsley fended off challenges from the Republican Party candidate and two independents. District 2 Supervisor Steve Baker ran on the GOP ticket and fended off his independent challenger.

Bailey has indicated in local media her intentions to run for a second term. Bailey and Shruntz ran successful campaigns as independent candidates in 2013 after their bids for the Republican Party’s nomination were rejected in a primary earlier that year. Primary voters instead picked Steve Shaffer and Morris to run for Districts 4 and 5, neither of whom was successful in the general election that year.

The Republican committee voted in February to hold a nominating contest for supervisors’ races by piggybacking on the Republican gubernatorial primary scheduled for June 13. However, that date also is the filing deadline for anyone seeking to run as an independent for a local office. McDonald said some potential candidates voiced concern that trying their luck in the Republican primary could cost them a chance at running as an independent.

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