Defeated Democrat Running for Clerk as Independent

Pam Melampy, who came in third in Saturday’s three-way Democratic nomination race for Clerk of Court, is running in the general election anyway, Graham Moomaw reports for the Daily Progress. Melampy got 12% of the vote in the firehouse primary. In order to run for the Democratic nomination, Melampy had to promise that she wouldn’t support any opponent of the nominee—Llezelle Dugger, as it turned out—a promise that she’s clearly decided to ignore. (Such an agreement is in no way legally binding, and is simply intended to place people’s reputations on the line to prevent them from doing exactly this.) Dugger had been without a challenger in the general election, but Melampy’s last-minute filing with the State Board of Elections—today was the deadline—means that there will be a race after all.

15 thoughts on “Defeated Democrat Running for Clerk as Independent”

  1. interesting decision that reflects on the ethics and integrity of candidate Melampy. I’m assuming ethics and integrity are important characteristics to have in a clerk, no?

  2. I think its great for someone to run as an independent. However, losing a primary and then running in the general as an independent is just a sore loser. The premise of running in a primary for either party is stating that you support that primary and its outcome. This decision is all I know about Pam Melampy and I’m very disappointed with her ethics. What an untrustworthy, sore loser.

    Don’t get me wrong — I want to see competition in the general. This is just a disappointing way of getting it.

  3. “In order to run for the Democratic nomination, Melampy had to promise that she wouldn’t support any opponent of the nominee……”

    Excuse me, what part of this democrat-party pledge or promise is getting the sunlight of day emphasized? Naturally if you are so predisposed or inclined (nay, slanted) I guess you’d be emphasizing the part about “wouldn’t support any opponent of the nominee.”

    However, Pam paid her $250 for the SAME PARTY PRIMARY as Lezelle. What about “In order to run for the Democrat nomination?” Sounds like she wasn’t quite resigned to conceding Dugger as the party’s nominee.

    Besides, how can a democrat be an opponent of a fellow nominated democrat? Spoiler alert, don’t remind anyone of that climax to George Orwell’s Animal Farm here.

  4. can someone provide a nice quick pro/con argument as to why the Clerk of the Court is an elected position, anyway? maybe I’m mistaken or naive about what the job requirements are, but it seems like this is something that could easily be an appointed position…

  5. I’m assuming that is at me. My response was failed attempt at humor. According to the FAQs on that compensation board website, we elect constitutional officers because Thomas Jefferson thought it was important and wrote it into the state constitution. (my virginia history is a little rusty, so i hope he really did write the state constitution). Changing it one would be a big hassle, so we leave it be…

  6. Oh, no, sorry, not you—the linked comment by “Am Your Neighbor Too.” I’ve read it a few times now, and I just can’t understand it at all. Maybe I’m missing something.

    Actually, I’m pretty sure that the Compensation Board is wrong about that. The 1776 Virginia constitution says:

    The Governor, with the advice of the Privy Council, shall appoint Justices of the Peace for the counties; and in case of vacancies, or a necessity of increasing the number hereafter, such appointments to be made upon the recommendation of the respective County Courts. […] In case of vacancies, either by death, incapacity, or resignation, a Secretary shall be appointed, as before directed; and the Clerks, by the respective Courts. The present and future Clerks shall hold their offices during good behaviour, to be judged of, and determined in the General Court. The Sheriffs and Coroners shall be nominated by the respective Courts, approved by the Governor, with the advice of the Privy Council, and commissioned by the Governor. The Justices shall appoint Constables; and all fees of the aforesaid officers be regulated by law.

    Or, to rearrange that to make it more readable, “In case of vacancies [among the] Clerks of all the County Courts, a Clerk shall be appointed by the respective Court.”

    Maybe I’m missing something, but the only elected positions that I see listed in the original state constitution were the House of Delegates and the Senate.

  7. Elected Clerk of the Court should be appointed. It’s a odd postion in the modern world that seems to be mismanged (at a high salary) in both the county and the city.

  8. The Pledge is the the pledge. You sign your name to it. Its your reputation. There should be a sanction for violating it like not being allowed to run as a democrat for 5 years or not being allowed to vote in the democratic primary for 5 years.

    People should think hard before choosing to run as an I or a D or R.

    Democrats should not vote for people who have signed the pledge and violated it.

  9. @truthtopower, it would not be possible to sanction a voter for violating the pledge since the voting is done privately. As for violating the pledge to not run against your party in the general election, that would obviously be a lot harder to hide!

  10. Good for her. She has not lost her citizenship just because she lost a nomination. The party abandoned and now she’s abandoning the party.

  11. It’s important to note she almost certainly didn’t just change her mind after the unassembled caucus, either. The declaration (I prefer not to call it a pledge) was that she did not intend to support any candidate opposed to the Democratic nominees in the upcoming election. If she already intended to run as an independent if she didn’t get the nomination, as seems likely, then her declaration was a lie. Going back on a promise would be bad enough, but never intending to honor it? That’s something worse.

  12. @James — can someone provide a nice quick pro/con argument as to why the Clerk of the Court is an elected position, anyway?

    Check and Balance. What if the appointing body wanted to play shenanigans with the deed records or other historical records? What if the court clerk said no way and reported the irregularities to the public or commonwealth’s attorney?

    The appointing body could fire the clerk and appoint someone else who would look the other way. In Jefferson’s time there was a lot of property stolen by tampering with official documents– hence the revolution.

    What about the sheriff? Should he be appointed? In 2002 Greene County Board of Supervisors would have fired Sheriff Willie Morris for not enforcing the decal ordinance if they could. Instead they took him to court and the judge ruled it was a matter for the public. After enforcement was halted, decal revenue increased. Apparently citizens were protesting the ordinance, not the tax. Ending annual car tax decals has since swept across the state.

    Of course a lot has been said about the pros/cons of elected vs appointed school boards. The division of powers saves us from overreaching all the time.

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