Republican challenger Karla Justice has denounced comments made in a news article by Prince William County Occoquan District Supervisor Kenny Boddye as “racist.”
Democrats defended Boddye, saying his comments were not intended to be harmful.
Boddye in a Prince William Times story said Democrat Deshundra Jefferson’s surprise upset over incumbent Ann Wheeler in the race for Prince William Board of County Supervisors chair “speaks to the support on the Democratic side to elect candidates of color; she is poised to be the first Black and Black woman chair.”
“And I think it does speak to the need to take a look at how we are working with the data center industry to site data centers, and how their impacts affect communities,” continued Boddye, a Black man.
Justice, a white woman who’s contesting Boddye in the Occoquan District, released a statement on Thursday condemning the incumbent supervisor’s remarks about Jefferson’s victory, saying they were “extremely racist.”
“I’m joining Deshundra Jefferson and a host of other leaders in condemning my opponent’s remarks as extremely racist and out of touch,” Justice said in the statement.
“I resent the idea that any of our candidates were elected simply because of their race … I truly believe that every voter in our community takes the time to listen to each candidate, genuinely ascertains if their values align, and determines who will make sound decisions that improve their lives. My opponent’s remarks contrary to that belief are both disappointing and fall grossly short of the culture of unity that our community has built and so deeply appreciates,” Justice said.
Jefferson in the article called suggestions that she won because she’s Black “extraordinarily racist.”
“Because they’re basically saying that all the doors I knocked on didn’t make a difference,” she said. “Obviously the people who are saying this don’t believe in diversity; they don’t believe that Black people can accomplish great things.”
But in an interview with InsideNoVa, Jefferson said she and Boddye spoke privately and reached an understanding that she did not intend to appear like she was attacking him in the article.
“There are other people, not Kenny, who have made the suggestion that I’ve won because I’m Black. They know who they are. They know exactly who they are,” Jefferson said. “I mean, Kenny … his intent wasn’t to say I won because I’m Black, but he wanted to highlight I would be the first Black chair.”
In a statement to InsideNoVa, Boddye said: “We should not shy away from the fact that Deshundra Jefferson becoming the first Black woman to chair the Board of Supervisors would be history-making. I celebrate Deshundra Jefferson’s hard work, intellect and passion for our community, and I refuse to erase the reality that her candidacy is barrier-breaking.”