After drugs-for-sex scandal, City of Fairfax votes for new mayor

WASHINGTON — Voters in the City of Fairfax are headed to the polls Tuesday for a special mayoral election following a difficult and embarrassing scandal that put their community in Northern Virginia on the national stage for all the wrong reasons.

The city’s former mayor, Richard “Scott” Silverthorne, was arrested last year in connection with a drugs-for-sex case, and three members on the city council are running to replace him: Eleanor “Ellie” Schmidt, Michael DeMarco and David Meyer.

“We will not only preserve, but improve our neighborhoods,” said DeMarco during a forum for the candidates in January.

He told voters he would work to attract new businesses and employees to the city and improve the transportation network.

“Strategy is about making choices and taking a few measured risks,” he said. “We need foresight and leadership to deliver this vision.”

Meyer said he would ask the city council to establish a citizens commission to come up with recommendations for local housing needs.

“Our greatest asset is our citizens,” said Meyer. “I will do all I can to leverage this impressive human capital to get the best return for all of us.”

Schmidt focused on her voting record, saying she has prioritized working with businesses in the area.

“We have to continue our focus on economic development and a strong commercial base, including the retention of existing businesses as well as recruiting new businesses,” Schmidt said.

The polls are open until 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Silverthorne, a three-time mayor, faces charges related to distribution and possession of paraphernalia. Fairfax County police arrested him in early August at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Tysons Corner along with two other men accused of distributing methamphetamine.

Police said Silverthorne provided an undercover detective with two grams of crystal methamphetamine as payment for a group sex encounter with other men. The detective had been in contact with Silverthorne via text message and a website used to arrange encounters between men.

Silverthorne resigned a week after he was arrested, and the city council voted to make Steven Stombres the interim mayor. The former three-term city council member agreed to stay in that position until the new mayor is sworn in.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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