Independent's day: Clerkship-seeking Melampy runs-- again
Despite being resoundingly whupped in the Democratic primary, Pam Melampy declared her candidacy as an independent for Charlottesville clerk of court on September 27.
"We're not happy she's doing that," says Democratic co-chair Jim Nix. "She signed a document saying she would support the Democratic nominee."
Melampy contends that her over 20 years of experience in the court system make her the best choice for the $112K-a-year job, and if elected, she promises she'll donate 10 percent of her salary to the local Boys and Girls Club, SPCA, and Hospice House of the Piedmont.
"I want to take a pay cut," says Melampy. "You don't hear many people saying that."
Independent City Council candidates Scott Bandy and Andrew Williams joined Melampy as she entered the November 8 race for the second time.
Her first time as one of three Democratic candidates in the August 20 primary running against incumbent Paul Garrett and public defender Llezelle Dugger left Melampy feeling duped, she says. The Democratic Committee initially was "gung ho" about her candidacy until she had signed a check for $250 to the party and the declaration that she would only support the Democratic nominees, according to Melampy.
The support she thought she had among Dems and local lawyers evaporated when Dugger entered the race, and Melampy feels Dugger was the party favorite all along, she explains. Dugger received 1,534 votes in the primary, Garrett 656, and Melampy 294.
"More people will come out on election day," predicts Melampy. "Charlottesville shouldn't be run by 2,500 voters," the number that showed up for the Democratic primary.
Her husband publicly scolded the media and party bosses for alleged mistreatment. (The ballot listed candidates alphabetically, rather than in order of announcing a run, and the media mistreated her by allegedly emphasizing Llezelle Dugger in news stories.)
A native Charlottesvillian, Melampy admits she's inexperienced about politics, but firmly believes that her 22 years working as a deputy clerk in both the general district and ciruit courts is what really counts. She currently is employed by her sister, Debra Shipp, clerk of Albemarle Circuit Court.
In a "Dear Charlottesville Voters" letter, Melampy explains why she's running as an independent after pledging to support the Democratic nominee: "I felt as if I never had the support from the Democratic Committee once I had pledged to run on their ticket. Why should I feel any disloyalty to them now that I have chosen to run as an Independent?" she writes.
"I think it speaks to her integrity," says Nix. "Some [in the party] wanted to take a hard line. But she's not a threat. She's not a serious candidate."
Nix says the Democratic Committee didn't support anyone during the primary, and was very careful to show no favoritism among the candidates.
"The clerk of court is not a partisan position," say Melampy. "Charlottesville voters should have the right to decide, not just a handful of people."