Del. James Dillard (R-41st) has yet to announce his intentions for seeking re-election to his seat in the Virginia General Assembly, but a former candidate in the upcoming 41st District Democratic primary came down hard on the veteran delegate.
Prior to withdrawing from the race, Ben Tribbett, a Burke Centre resident and former campaign manager for current Del. Chap Petersen (D-37th), lofted accusations of money laundering at David Marsden, who would have been one of Tribbett’s opponents in the June Democratic primaries. According to Tribbett, Marsden and his wife, Julia, both received $5,000 payments from Dillard last year, money that Marsden funneled into his campaign fund.
Tribbett dropped out of the race last weekend, citing what he termed "family issues," which he said would mean he would leave the area for a short time.
"I will support whomever the Democrats nominate," said Tribbett.
THE FINANCIAL dealings of political campaigns, which are public record in Virginia, are available on several Web sites, including www.sbe.state.va.us. According to the Web site, Dillard paid Marsden and his wife $5,000 each for "constituent services."
"I don’t think Republican delegates have any business intervening in Democratic primaries," said Tribbett. "If he [Dillard] wants to give Marsden money, do it, but don’t try to hide it."
Dillard said all his dealings are completely legitimate.
"There are absolutely no irregularities. [Marsden is] my campaign manager who I’ve been paying for a number of years for constituent services. I paid him and his wife, and they decided to put it in their campaign fund," said Dillard. "It’s up to them. They pay taxes on it."
Marsden has served as campaign manager for Dillard for Dillard's past two campaigns, and said he and his wife both received payment from Dillard for work they did on Dillard's campaign.
"It's reportable income for work which my wife and I had done for him over the past year," said Marsden. "Because it's done right out in the open, it appears in Jim's report on expenditures."
Marsden said Tribbett called him on Sunday, Feb. 13, to inform him that he was dropping out of the race.
Dillard, who has served for more than 30 years in the House of Delegates, said he would announce his plans for the upcoming elections "by the end of the session" of the General Assembly.
"He’s just trying to find something," said Dillard of Tribbett. Marsden said that Dillard's retirement from the General Assembly was "the direction he's leaning in," but added " he's always made certain everybody knows he's keeping his options open."
A former superintendent of the Fairfax County Juvenile Detention Center for 17 years, Marsden will make the 41st District race his first foray into politics.
"I've got a history of getting things done, and I'm looking forward to heading down to Richmond and continuing that," he said.