March 17, 2012
For the first time, the two Democrats wanting to challenge U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt (R-5th District) in the November election are meeting Charlottesville voters in what is arguably one of the friendliest political races Charlottesville has seen in years.
"This is our chance to connect with the people and to hear what's on their mind," candidate John Douglass said.
"We can't afford to have another year or two years the way things are happening," candidate Peyton Williams said.
Douglas and Williams are facing off in the Democratic primary to challenge Hurt. They met Charlottesville voters for the first time together at a Democratic Breakfast Saturday morning at the Central Library.
"There are a myriad of problems we're facing here in the 5th District, and we need to figure out what the best answers are," Williams said.
"We have here in Albemarle County a fired up group of Democrats that are ready to take this seat back," Douglass said.
And that's what makes this race so friendly. Both candidates say they're not running against each other; they're running against Hurt.
"We had an agreement that we're going to focus on the issues and not on each other," Douglass said.
"You'd expect us, as Democrats, to have a lot of similarities," Williams said.
The differences, they say, are in the priorities. Douglass, a winery owner from Fauquier County, says national security is near the top of his list. Williams, on the other hand, is pushing for jobs and education.
Despite the friendly battle, both candidates want to win the nomination.
"I hope that they see I'm a viable candidate, that I have strong feelings about the district," Williams said.
"It's going to be up to the people of the Fifth [District] to pick the one that they think can best beat Hurt and win this seat for the Democratic Party," Douglass said.
It's a race that is only just beginning. The Democrats will have their primary in May.