In the race for the 67th District seat of the House of Delegates, it appears Republican Chris Craddock may have been going a bit too fast.
The 27-year-old candidate was cited by police for speeding more than 20 m.p.h. over the speed limit, failure to obey highway signs, failure to have his car inspected and failure to renew his registration, all since March 2001.
Craddock knocked off incumbent Gary Reese in the Republican primary, and will face a Democrat and Libertarian in the Nov. 8 election.
Since March 2001, Craddock has been cited for a total of 10 traffic infractions, according to court records.
Three of the tickets were for speeding, one for driving between 25 and 29 m.p.h. over the speed limit; another for driving 19 m.p.h. over the speed limit; and the third for driving 15 mph over the speed limit.
On March 12, 2001, Craddock was pulled over for failing to obey a highway sign. During the traffic stop, the police officer also wrote Craddock a ticket for having an expired registration. The following month, Craddock was cited again for an expired registration. And two months later, on June 1, he was cited once again for the offense.
Craddock's most recent tickets were issued at the end of last month on Sept. 29. The two charges — speeding and lack of state inspection — are still pending.
"Chris has made some mistakes in his driving record," said Phillip Stutts, the Craddock campaign spokesman. "Chris is focused on winning the election in a positive way."
Stutts, who read from a prepared statement and refused to answer any follow-up questions, said it is "sad" and "typical" that Craddock's history of traffic infractions was revealed with just three weeks left before the election.
Craddock refused to answer questions about his driving record.
THE REVELATIONS about Craddock's traffic infractions did not originate from either the campaigns to elect Democrat Chuck Caputo, 67, or Libertarian Chuck Eby, 49.
When contacted by a reporter, however, the Caputo campaign said Craddock's driving record is a legitimate campaign issue.
"It seems interesting that Mr. Craddock wants to help write laws in Richmond, but apparently has trouble following the law himself," said Joe Lestingi, Caputo's campaign manager.
Mark Rozell, a George Mason University professor and expert on Virginia politics, said Craddock's driving history could hurt him at the polls.
"A few traffic tickets here and there — people can relate to that," he said. "But when someone has a habitual problem in that regard, it starts to raise eyebrows."
Voters may question Craddock's ability to lead in the General Assembly, as it appears he continues to get caught by police for traffic infractions, Rozell said.
"It's become a campaign issue and it's still happening," Rozell said. "There are still those who believe that people running for public office should be held to a higher standard."
The 67th District — which is comprised of Chantilly, Greenbriar, Oak Hill and part of Loudoun County — is not the only House of Delegates race in which a candidate's driving history has been brought up.
Last month, it was revealed that Greg Werkheiser, a Democrat running against Del. Dave Albo (R-42), had received 11 tickets over 10 years.
And three weeks ago, it was revealed that Craddock’s former campaign manager pleaded guilty in June, during the primary race, to felony drug charges including possession of methamphetamine.