<b>Flattering the Voters</b>
In politics, as in life, flattery will get you everywhere. Few of the candidates seem to have internalized this maxim more than Democratic caucus hopeful <b>Justin Wilson</b>. During an appearance at the Alexandria Young Democrats meeting last week, Wilson strategically deployed moments of adulation while taking questions from the audience.
"Great question," he said to the first question.
"That’s another great question," he said to the second question.
"All of these are great questions," he said enthusiastically, prompting a chuckle from the Young Democrats.
<b>Enter Lisa Miller</b>
Although she barely made a dent in the Republican canvass, garnering only 21 votes, Republican <b>Lisa Miller</b> made an indelible impression on city politics this month. During a Democratic candidates’ forum at the Lyceum, she took the stage to address members of the rival party — prompting incredulous glances from members of the Alexandria Democratic Committee. While stumping at Minnie Howard Ninth Grade Center, she made the high-school dropout rate a centerpiece of her attack on Democrats — clutching a stack of papers to document what she said was the city’s disproportionate number of high school students who fail to graduate. And then there are those three-inch heels.
"I suppose they’re not the best shoes for campaigning," she said, adding that she used to be a ballerina. "In the future, I’ll have to find more sensible shoes for this."
<b>A Voice of Independence</b>
Democratic caucus hopeful <b>Jim Lay</b> hopes to cast himself as a "thoughtful contrarian," someone who will not cast a vote in lockstep with other members of the City Council. During one Democratic Committee forum, Lay said that he was the most independent candidate seeking the nomination — and he was eager to prove it.
"These folks all do what their wives tell them to do," joked Lay. "I vow to follow my conscience as a member of City Council, regardless of what my wife says."
<b>Giving Them Hell, Pat</b>
Irish restaurateur <b>Pat Troy</b> may have failed to beat out former Vice Mayor <b>Bill Cleveland</b> in the Republican canvas this week, but don’t expect him to fade quietly into night.
"I’m like Harry Truman because I give ’em hell," said Troy, referring to the current members of City Council. "I’ve got a big mouth, and I’m going to continue to give ’em hell!"
<b>The Art of Recycling</b>
It didn’t take long for Democratic hopeful <b>Mark Feldheim</b> to hang a giant sign advertising his campaign on his Prince Street home. The campaign was only a day or two old when the "Feldheim for Council" magnetic sign was affixed to his black sport-utility vehicle. Then stickers began popping up all over town in a familiar campaign shade that Feldheim refers to as "Moran blue." The campaign paraphernalia seemed to appear out of nowhere — as if they had already existed for years.
"They’re actually left over from 2003," said Feldheim, who ran an unsuccessful campaign to be part of the slate of Democratic candidates that year. "It definitely helped us get a head start over the other candidates."