Satterwhite, Prince William Republican Women Call for Investigation into Misleading Election Signs

| November 7, 2018 | 1 Comment | Education, News

L-R: Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson leads a press conference outside the Kelly Center with Gainesville school board member Alyson Satterwhite and Occoquan Supervisor Ruth Anderson, Nov. 7, 2018.

Alyson Satterwhite, Gainesville school board member and candidate for Prince William School Board Chairman At-large in the Nov. 6 special elections; Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson (R); and Occoquan Supervisor Ruth Anderson held a press conference, Wednesday, regarding the “Republicans for Bender” signs and PAC.

In fact, Alyson Satterwhite, who had served on the board since 2012, not Stanley Bender, had the support of the Republican Party.

They appeared in front of the Kelley Center, the administrative building for Prince William County Schools, along with other women who supported Satterwhite. 

They called upon the Virginia State Board of Election to investigate the Political Action Committee (PAC), named “Republicans for Bender,” saying they was fraudulently filed, by three-time former chair of the Democratic Committee, Harry Wiggins, and to investigate Wiggins’ role in the filing. 

Lawson called it “an assault on the integrity of the election.”

Satterwhite and Lawson believe the red signs, that said “Republicans” in big letters confused some voter and led them to cast their ballot for independent candidate Stanely Bender. This may have contributed to Satterwhite’s defeat, Tuesday. She garnered 62,409 votes and 41% of the votes. 

Dr. Babur Lateef, interim chair of the school board, won the election with 72,552 votes, or 48%+. He had contributions and active support from local Democrats and endorsements from high profile state party members.

Bender received over 14,305 votes from around the county, 9.1%, despite running a passive campaign.

According to documents, Wiggins filed the application for that PAC late in Oct. 24, which was way into the election cycle close enough for it avoid scrutiny. Having a PAC registered with the State Board of Elections, makes the signs legal and it is illegal to remove them.

The signs did not appear at the polling places in previous days, but were discovered early on election day morning at multiple polling locations around the county.

Stanley Bender never approved the signs in writing, nor showed proof he was contacted about the PAC, as per the documents local Republicans received. Without that information, the PAC should not have been approved the PAC, according to the rules of the state board of elections, said Lawson. 

Bender told Bristow Beat, Tuesday, that he had no knowledge that the PAC was filed on his behalf. He said he would not be surprised that Wiggins may have engaged in that kind of dirty politics. He said he previously tried to become a member of the Democratic Committee but felt they were not welcoming to him and strongly discouraged him from running in his last school board election, and tried other dirty maneuvers. 

He said he once identified as a Democrat, but no longer does.

The women believe that Bender did not have enough recognition to receive the number of votes he received on his own. He did not raise any money for his campaign, did not actively campaign with a team, nor have an online presence. He attended only two out of three forums. He did not have volunteers at the polls, nor did he purchase any signs nor advertising.

At the forums, Bender showed he had little knowledge of the workings of the Prince William County School Board, and recused himself from several questions. But Bender said the questions favored those already on the board. He wanted to add an outside perspective, running the school board like a corporation.

Lawson said she is demanding an investigation from the State Board of Elections, which she believes to lean Democratic. She could not answer as to what consequences she would like to see, nor whether Wiggins should face legal action or criminal prosecution. 

Wiggins did not respond to a request for a comment yesterday. Bristow Beat will try again to reach him on Thursday. 

Satterwhite did not call for the election to be overturned or to hold a redo of the election. There will be another regular school board election in one year’s time.

Watch the Press Conference on video. 

However, the women called out Babur Lateef for not commenting on the signs, yesterday. 

Lateef sent a statement to Bristow Beat, Wednesday, disavowing the signs. “My campaign does not condone those actions and we strongly condemn them, period. The alleged individual did not have a role in our campaign.”

Prince William Democratic Committee Chair Don Shaw disavowed the signs, saying he had no knowledge of them and that his committee does not engage in dirty politics. On the phone with Bristow Beat, Tuesday, he sounded dejected about the signs and said they had only hoped to win on their values. He also said that Wiggins is no longer a member of their leadership.

The women running the press conference said the “dirty politics” was not surprising coming from Wiggins. They did not accuse other Democrats in participating in the deception and that he has a history of demeaning women.

Wiggins carried a sign to a gun control rally in D.C. organized by the Parkland Students, in which he called Supervisor Anderson and others, including men Whore for the NRA and made other disparaging comments against the Republican women, calling them “puppets” and white supremacists. 

“Women deserve so much better than how Harry Wiggins was known to treat women,” Lawson said.

Satterwhite said she was very proud of her team and the campaign they ran. She will continue to serve in the capacity of Gainesville School Board member with integrity for the parents, students, educators and residents of the county, including retirees and veterans. She has not decided if she will run again for chairman next year in the regular election.

She said her signs were not red, because she wanted them to stand out, and because she was running on behalf of all people of Prince William. Lateef took a similar approach and had yellow and black signs that looked like a school bus.

Many Democrats did support Satterwhite, especially during the tumultuous period when Ryan Sawyers was chairman. She did not run a particularly partisan campaign except to say she is a fiscal conservative. 

After Sawyers left the school board, Lateef garnered robust support from his committee, Indivisible members and others. He was a strong advocate for increased school funding. His tenure of interim board chairman had appeared to have gone smoothly thus far. 

Lateef’s win could also be attributed to a “blue wave” in Prince William County as more people turned out to the midterms in record numbers, many with anti-Trump sentiment. Other Democratic candidates carried the county, such as Senator Tim Kaine beating Corey Stewart, Chairman of the Board of County Supervisors. Jennifer Wexton narrowly won the 10th district and Vangie Williams won Prince William’s 1st District though Rep. Rob Wittman retained his seat in the house.

© 2018, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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  1. Pendragon says:

    Maybe Harry Wiggins got some bad advice from the Manassas City Mayor and his little cadre of “PAC” members. There is still funny business across the county line which no one seems to want to take ownership of.

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