Charlottesville Clerk of Court Battle Heats Up as November Approaches
There's a real battle going on in the Charlottesville city race for who will be the city's next circuit court clerk. And the campaign has already created a divide within the Democratic Party.
Pam Melampy ran and lost to Llezelle Dugger in the August primary. Now, despite the wishes of the Democratic Party, she is continuing her campaign, but as an Independent. Melampy says if she knew then what she knows now, she would have never run as a Democrat to begin with.
"I don't believe the clerk's position is a political race. It shouldn't be partisan," stated Melampy.
That's why Albemarle County Deputy Circuit Court Clerk Pam Melampy went against the wishes of the Democratic Party and continued her campaign as an Independent. Now she has some tough words for Democratic nominee Llezelle Dugger.
"It doesn't matter what you know, it's more, who you know…she's in with the Democratic inner circle group. She's their chosen person. I found that out in the beginning," said Melampy.
Dugger says that was not the case she when announced her plans to run against incumbent Paul Garrett. And she says Melampy's continued campaign doesn't change her own strategy.
"We have always been moving forward with a positive strategy, telling folks why I'm the best person for clerk of court," said Dugger.
Melampy highlights her experience working in similar positions in the county as the reason she should be elected. Dugger touts her budgetary and managerial experience, most recently serving on the city school board.
Despite winning a majority of support in the primary, Dugger says a win in November is not a given. "We're in a democracy. Anybody who wants to run for an office can. She got her signatures in, and she is rightfully on the ballot," said Dugger.
But Melampy believes one party has run the city for too long.
"It's pretty sad that the primary is the election in this town, and it should not be. November the eighth is the election, and all we need to do is get the citizens out. Let their voices be heard," she said.
In addition, if elected, Melampy says she plans to donate 10 percent of her salary to a variety of Charlottesville charities.
This is the first time in decades this position has been contested. Whoever ends up winning November 8 will take over a job that Paul Garrett has held for the last 30 years.
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Derick Waller joined the NBC 29 news team in August, 2010. Prior to this, Derick graduated with degrees in both broadcast journalism and political science from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story