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Political website a copy?

There was something a little strange about Democratic candidate Michael Futrell’s new campaign website Tuesday morning.

For one thing, its education section referred to school districts in Albemarle County and Charlottesville. But Futrell is running in the 2nd District, which covers Prince William and Stafford counties.

Long passages of Futrell’s website’s pages on issues, in fact, were copied word-for-word from the website of House Minority Leader Del. David Toscano—a Democrat who is from Charlottesville.

Democratic blog Blue Virginia pointed out the copying in a post Tuesday morning.

Reached by telephone Tuesday, Futrell said the copying “was a mistake” and wasn’t the version of his site that should have been put online.

He said he was working to get it pulled down and would call back. While he hadn’t called back by Tuesday evening, as of Tuesday afternoon the issues section of his site was gone.

It had contained some paragraphs that set it apart from Toscano’s text—references to Futrell’s travel as a pharmaceutical rep, for example, that led him to believe the transportation funding reform bill is inadequate. The transportation section also mentioned support for extending Metro into the 2nd District.

Futrell is making his first run for office against Del. Mark Dudenhefer, R–Stafford, who is seeking a second term in this fall’s House of Delegates elections.

Dudenhefer’s campaign called Futrell’s site “plagiarism.”

“The 2nd district has unique problems that require thoughtful consideration, not blindly copying the words of another delegate from another part of the Commonwealth,” said Dudenhefer campaign manager John Findlay in a statement. “Mark addresses each issue personally and works to form the best policy for those he represents. The people of the 2nd District deserve responsible leadership in Richmond that use their own words, and do not copy someone else’s.”

Toscano couldn’t be reached for comment.

Futrell lives in Woodbridge with his wife and son. His website describes him as a former teacher who now runs a nonprofit that “focuses on helping youth make positive life choices.”

Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028