|Mollie Loeffler on the campaign trail at Falls Church High School.|
Mason District supervisor candidate Mollie Loeffler, who’s running as an independent, calls a flyer sent to local voters labeling her a Republican, right-wing extremist and Tea Party member an act of desperation by Mason Supervisor Penny Gross’ re-election campaign.
The text accuses Loeffler of serving as a Republican precinct captain “leading the right-wing charge in Mason District”; signing a Tea Party Patriots letter; and having received campaign funding from “the same donors who’ve given to Ken Cuccinelli and other extremist Republicans.”
Tiny text at the bottom of the mailer reads, “Paid for and authorized by Penny Gross for Supervisor.” The flyer uses Loeffler’s campaign photo – without permission – which seems aimed at confusing voters into thinking the flyer is from the Loeffler campaign.
Gross “is clearly resorting to fear and scare tactics to get people to vote for her,” Loeffler says. “It shows just how desperate and divisive she is.”
Loeffler says she has been in both parties and joined the Republicans in 2011 to work on the campaign of David Feld, a moderate Republican who was running against Gross for supervisor. She readily acknowledges receiving an endorsement from the Fairfax County Republican Committee, but has not received funding from the committee.
“I became an independent,” she says, “after realizing that neither party has all the right answers and that partisanship is harmful to good policy. Local government should be driven by community concerns, not by party politics.”
The Tea Party letter Loeffler signed urged Congress to strengthen the borders before granting amnesty to undocumented immigrants. “They must have spent hours looking for this on the Internet,” Loeffler says. “I believe in border protection. This is it. To infer that I am a Tea Partier is a complete lie.”
The claim that she is bankrolled by extremists is “a total joke,” she adds. “Someone gave money to Cuccinelli and donated to me. This means I am funded by right-wing extremists?”
“[Former U.S. Rep] Tom Davis’ PAC gave me $1,000 – that is about as extreme as it gets,” Loeffler says. “I have people from every political background in the neighborhoods supporting me. People who gave to Penny Gross are on my donor list.”
According to the Virginia Public Access Project, Loeffler’s campaign has raised $39,000, mostly from individuals, compared to Gross’s campaign receipts of about $224,000. Like all the other Fairfax County supervisors running for re-election, Gross has gotten large contributions from the real estate sector.
“Gross has paid door knockers. I have concerned citizens walking with me,” Loeffler says. “She has a huge Democratic machine. I have volunteers and one paid staffer. She has big developers and PACs. I have the people.”
Loeffler’s campaign volunteers report that door-knockers paid by the Gross campaign are telling voters that Loeffler is a Tea Party extremist and that she has also received contributions from developers. At least one voter complained about feeling intimidated by a Gross campaign worker.