Jeremy Borden of the Washington Post traced the wind blown political career of Supervisor Corey Stewart over the past 9 years, on the eve of his announcement to run for Virginia Lt. Governor. In his article entitled, Stewart’s changing stance on development in Prince William, Borden shows a candidate who goes where he thinks he will get to votes. Stewart certainly showed his stripes today as he planned to announce his candidacy from Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center in Woodbridge. According to Borden, at the Washington Post:
Stonebridge, Stewart says, is emblematic of a new way forward for economic development in Prince William, an issue that was the focus of his reelection campaign last year.
Stewart started out as a politician with a strong desire to stop sprawl and to protect the environment. He had many folks, both Democrat and Republican on his side for that reason. This flip flop has caused many of his former supporters to become disenchanted with his political career.
But some former supporters say Stewart has lost his way on development issues.
No longer, critics say, is he seen as someone who would force developers to pay their fair share and help temper the feverish pace of home construction that has overwhelmed roads and schools.
“His campaign account shows he is now beholden to the development community,” said Jeanine Lawson, a former Stewart campaign volunteer. “It’s a disappointment because I thought he was principled on the issue.”
The project’s developers, District-based Roadside Development, contributed $10,000 to Stewart’s campaign account in the past couple of years, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, or VPAP, which tracks money in politics.
In recent years, Stewart has greatly increased his totals from real estate and construction interests, according to VPAP. From that sector, Stewart raised $308,782 in 2010 and 2011, compared with $134,901 from 2003 through 2009.
Back in the old days, Stewart prided himself on not taking developer money. That was then and this is now. The most cursory glance at VPAP tells the story. Cory Stewart is running on developer money. He even says:
“Some of that comes with the maturity of being in office and having to govern,” he said of his shift on development issues. “When you become chairman, you get a broader perspective. You understand . . . ‘We cannot provide for increased prosperity and increased job growth without promoting and helping businesses to grow.’ ”
Stewart says that in a free market, developers have a lot of latitude: “The only way is to work with [developers] and cut deals with them.” [emphasis mine]