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Cathy Dyson writes about King George County. You can email her at

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Non-partisan group can’t pick in three of five contested races

The Citizens for Non-Partisan Good Government King George has endorsed only two people  in next week’s election, even though there are 11 candidates running in five contested races.

The group, which formed in 2007, endorsed Steve Dempsey for sheriff and Ruby Brabo for Dahlgren District supervisor. Dempsey took over as sheriff in January after Sheriff Moose Dobson retired a year before his term ended. Brabo is running against Robert Rhoten, a self-employed contractor, for the seat currently occupied by James Mullen, who did not seek re-election after four years.

Led by chairwoman Paula Van Alstine, the group interviewed candidates for supervisor and sheriff and determined that Brabo and Dempsey “have proven themselves worthy of our endorsement,” according to the press release. Van Alstine added that the group was able to reach a decision in some races, but not in others.

Most notably left out is an endorsement for James Madison District supervisor. Joe Grzeika, current chairman of the board, has been a supervisor for 16 years. He’s running against Renee Parker, current chairwoman of the School Board.

Grzeika said he believes the group had difficulty making decisions in races where there wasn’t unanimous support for one candidate over another.

“If that is the case, they will become irrelevant fairly quickly,” Grzeika wrote in an email this morning.

Parker  said she was disappointed the group with the lack of endorsement.

“Maybe I’m oversimplifying things a bit, but I feel that a group who invites candidates to discuss their position on various matters would gain more respect if they came forth with a public statement on their collective opinion, even if the opinion is that they are split,” she wrote in an email.

The non-partisan group did not endorse any candidates in two contested School Board races, either.

In James Madison District, Ray Duncan and  Kristin Tolliver are running against each other. Three people—John Davis, Rachelle Matney and Tony Scaramozzi—are vying for the At-Large District seat on the School Board.

The Non-Partisan group believes there’s no place for party politics in local elections and that local government officials should “strive to unify diverse factions,” according to the press release. On its website, the group lists other objectives, which include “fixing dysfunctional relationship between School Board and Board of Supervisors,” bringing in clean industry while keeping the county rural, better education at all levels and improved infrastructure, from better Internet availability to transportation, trails and fire and rescue.