Democratic Manassas City Councilmember David Farajollahi has withdrawn from the special election for his seat in November, leaving Republican Lynn Forkell Greene as the only candidate on the ballot still seeking the office.
Early voting in November’s election began last month, but Farajollahi announced in social media messages this week that he had to focus on his full-time job in the federal government, as a congressional liaison for the U.S. Geological Survey.
While there have been challenges to how the Hatch Act should be interpreted regarding local office, the 1939 law does prohibit federal employees from running for partisan political office. Although Farajollahi was running as an independent, he has been aligned with and backed by local Democrats.
“Unfortunately, the focus the last few weeks has been on me as a federal employee instead of what is important to the citizens of the city of Manassas,” Farajollahi wrote. “I want that focus to always remain on the people’s business and moving the city of Manassas forward. That is why I believe it is best for me to withdraw as a candidate in this special election.”
Farajollahi was chosen by City Council from a crowded field of candidates to fill Michelle Davis-Younger’s council seat after she won the mayor’s race last year. At the time, he suggested he would probably seek re-election and then filed paperwork to do so. He couldn’t immediately be reached by InsideNoVa for comment.
Forkell Greene will almost certainly join Theresa Coates Ellis as the only Republicans on the six-member council. She’s been a frequent critic of what she says is a lack of transparency from the council and city government.
In September, the Manassas native spoke regularly at council meetings about the need to guarantee the Greater Manassas Baseball League a permanent home with the council’s move to pre-approve a sale of the current baseball and softball complex to Micron. She has also criticized the Grant Avenue “road diet” project in Georgetown South, saying neighborhood residents weren’t kept in the loop on the project and don’t like it.
“I just look for as many ways to give back to my community as possible,” Forkell Greene told InsideNoVa in July. “So I am always looking for the next food drive or backpack drive or community conversation, I’m very involved. … It really is a passion of mine to give back to my community.”