Will Radle, independent candidate for Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, isn't like his opponents. He doesn't have his own website, preferring to operate in comment sections on others. He won't be holding any fundraisers. At the end of June, his campaign only had $5, a loan from the candidate himself.
"I expect to get that $5 back," he says.
But if the 39-year-old Radle is low on traditional political trappings and prospects, he doesn't lack for ideas. Central to his campaign is a plan to restructure a Virginia tax mandate for education. Radle says Fairfax County taxpayers pay $501 million a year to meet the mandate, which he thinks unfairly penalizes Fairfax to benefit poorer counties. Radle would rather see the tax burden shifted away from Fairfax County by lowering real estate taxes.
When asked whether this would be better accomplished by running for a position in the General Asssembly, Radle says he's talked to Democrats and Republicans in the legislature who say Fairfax's representatives need a "unifying force" on the issue—a role he'd fill as chairman.
Radle, a Franconia resident and insurance agent for AFLAC, isn't worried about running without support from a party. He expects the county's independent voters will support him instead of his opponents, Republican Spike Williams or incumbent Democrat Sharon Bulova.
"Do they want more of the same with Bulova or less with Williams?" he said.
Radle takes a similarly unworried attitude to his opponents' fundraising advantage. , Bulova had more than $210,000 in her campaign account, while Williams had more than $40,000.
"Money helps, but ideas and solutions are better," Radle said.
Instead of raising money to buy ads, Radle plans to promote his campaign through the media, including interviews with local political blogs and posting comments and on Patch. According to Radle, this makes his campaign more accountable to voters.
"Typically, what do you see on politicians' websites?" he said. "Questions like, 'When did you first start walking on water?'"
In an interview, Radle criticized Bulova for not working to prepare the county for the impact of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.
"She's not been advocating for our community," he said.
Radle doesn't think much of Williams's campaign, either. When I miswrote one of the many financial figures Radle peppers his sentences with, confusing "billion" and "million," he looked at my notepad and corrected me.
"I feel like I'm talking to Williams," he said.
Radle, a native Fairfax County resident, has served on the Lee District Land Use and Transportation Committee. He attended Northern Virginia Community College, although he's quick to point out that he was accepted at George Mason. He lives with his wife and their four dogs.