Prince William County Supervisor Marty Nohe, R-Coles, said he plans to run for at-large chair of the board of county supervisors in November 2019.
Next year, all eight supervisor seats will be on the ballot. Current At-large Chair Corey Stewart has spent the past two election cycles chasing statewide elected office — first in a narrow gubernatorial primary loss to Ed Gillespie in 2017 and now as the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate against incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat seeking his second term.
Stewart said Tuesday he doesn't know if he will seek re-election in the November 2019 election, pointing to the final weeks of his Senate campaign. "I'm completely focused on Nov. 6," he said.
Nohe has served since 2004, and he doesn’t take the decision to run for chair lightly, he told InsideNoVa. The chair needs to be focused on the county, he said.
“I don’t want to make this about Corey,” Nohe said. “But Corey has run statewide campaigns. It’s brought a lot of attention to the county, but not a lot of the attention has been about the county.”
Haymarket resident Ann Wheeler announced Monday that she plans to run for chair in 2019, and also referenced Stewart's controversial time on the campaign trail.
Stewart has led the board as chair since 2006 and has served on the board since 2004. And he has been a lightning rod for controversy throughout his years-long chase for higher office.
During the 2016 presidential primaries, Stewart was hired and fired as chairman of then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign in Virginia. In his failed bid to be the Republican nominee for Virginia governor last year, he raffled off an AR-15 rifle to show his support for gun rights.Stewart also has embraced Confederate flag display supporters and those defending Confederate monuments.
Nohe, who is the president of Appliance Connection in Woodbridge, has served on the board of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority since 2005 and as chair of the NVTA since 2009.
He has served as a member of the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission since 2004 and on the Virginia Railway Express board as an alternate from 2007 to 2014 and as a member since 2014.
“I believe I have already demonstrated the leadership that’s necessary to really move our county forward,” Nohe said.
He runs the risk of losing to Stewart and not serving on the board altogether. Still, he doesn’t look at it that way.
“My passion is not for politics or for winning elections,” Nohe said. “My passion is for serving Prince William County. I grew up here and I’m proud that this is my hometown. I want my kids to be as proud to have grown up here as I am.”
Nohe said he’s running for chair to continue focusing on community safety, growing the local economy to have more high-paying jobs in the county, reducing class size and trailers in the school division and to make road and transit center improvements.
“Those are the issues that hit home every day,” Nohe said.
Building a better relationship with the school board can mitigate the “natural tension” over funding between the board of county supervisors and the school board, he said.
“I think that the board of county supervisors and the school board have to start treating each other as partners, rather than as rivals,” Nohe said.
And he stressed he is prepared to take on the chair position.
“I’m not talking about Corey; I’m talking about Prince William County,” Nohe stressed.