Write-in: Latecomer challenges Dorrier

Last Thursday, the same day The Hook came out with its round up of Albemarle County candidates (and the area stood braced to welcome Hurricane Isabel), Kevin Fletcher announced he was challenging Board of Supervisors chairman Lindsay Dorrier for the Scottsville Magisterial District seat.

The filing date for candidates to get on the ballot for the November 4 election was June 10. "It's very late," acknowledges Fletcher, a 38-year-old farm manager who's running as an independent.

So why run now, particularly since he isn't on the ballot and faces the additional challenge of a write-in candidacy?

"I was unaware Walter Perkins was not running," says Fletcher. "I look at him as the voice of agriculture on the Board of Supervisors. I could be that voice for people who make a living off the land."

Fletcher says he was approached by a number of people to run against Scottsville native Dorrier, who had been unopposed. "We all deserve a choice," says the challenger, who's lived in Scottsville for nine years.

"I think my chances are pretty good," Fletcher says. "Quite a few people are concerned about growth. And Lindsay is hard to get a hold of. I'm easy to reach. I live here on Route 20, and people can stop by my house if they want to discuss something."

Fletcher cites the Board decision approving Hollymead Town Center as one he might have voted against. On the other hand, he'd like to see Scottsville's empty storefronts filled to improve the tax base. "I'm in favor of nurturing small businesses. Those become big businesses, and they hire locally," he says.

Dorrier had been hearing rumors that he might have an opponent in the race, but says he's never heard of Fletcher. "I think competition is always good," he says. "This race is no exception."

And Dorrier doesn't underestimate the threat of a political novice mounting a write-in campaign. "I take everything seriously in a political campaign," he says.

Winning a write-in campaign for the Board of Supervisors is not without precedent. That's how Sally Thomas was first elected to the board in 1993.

Fletcher's campaign strategy is to spread the news on foot, with flyers, and by word of mouth in the six weeks before the election.

"I never heard of him," says Emery Skeen, owner of C&S Motors in Scottsville, "and I've been around here 75 years."

As for Fletcher's chances of beating incumbent Dorrier, "It's hard to unseat anybody whether they're any good or not," observes Skeen.

Over at Lumpkin's, a restaurant and a Scottsville institution, Virginia Lumpkin has never heard of Fletcher either. "He better get in here and show himself," she says.

Both Lumpkin and Skeen express concerns about Dorrier's health. "I've known Lindsay Dorrier all his life," says Lumpkin. "Physically, he is not able."

"I haven't missed a board meeting in a year and a half, and I've had no problem carrying out my duties as chairman," responds Dorrier, who has Parkinson's Disease. "My doctor says I'm fit to do the job."

Fletcher thinks the new keyboard system on voting machines will make it pretty easy for voters to write-in his name. And as late as he is in starting his campaign, he does have a motto: "Yes, Scottsville District, you have a choice."

Though many old-time Scottsvillians have never heard of him, Kevin Fletcher is launching a write-in campaign against incumbent supervisor Lindsay Dorrier, whose S-ville roots run generations deep.