Holihan's Partner Contributed to PAC Responsible for Attack Ad
Alexandria City Council candidate Sean Holihan says he was unaware of Danny Barefoot's donation to Alexandria Democrats for Responsible Government until after he made it.
The partner of Alexandria City Council candidate Sean Holihan donated $3,000 to Alexandria Democrats for Responsible Government, the political action committee responsible for an attack ad against candidate Boyd Walker.
Holihan and Walker are two of 14 Democratic candidates in Tuesday’s primary, where voters will select six nominees for the Nov. 6 General Election.
Danny Barefoot told Patch he made the donation to Alexandria Democrats for Responsible Government because “as a private citizen” he agreed with the PAC’s platform, including its support of the city’s waterfront plan and for smart growth development practices in Alexandria.
“Sean was not aware of my donation,” Barefoot said.
Barefoot said he does not know of anyone involved in Alexandria Democrats for Responsible Government other than Gail Gordon, the PAC’s treasurer.
Gordon exited candidate John Chapman’s campaign team on Saturday after news broke of her involvement in the PAC.
Barefoot, a former Patch columnist, said he only made a donation to the group and “didn’t put up money” directly for production and mailing of the attack ad against Walker. He said he is involved in many political groups in the city and has also donated to candidate Melissa Feld’s campaign.
“In this case, Sean and I are completely separate,” Barefoot said.
Holihan told Patch he was unaware of Barefoot’s donation until after he made it.
“I have to say I'm pretty shocked and disappointed,” Holihan wrote in an email. “I personally do not support nor would I make a donation to this PAC.”
Walker released a statement Sunday morning accusing the Holihan campaign of coordinating with the PAC to produce the ad. Walker said it was “cowardly” to form the PAC late in the campaign and to leave Gordon alone to take the blame “for the people who designed, wrote and paid for the piece.”
“It seems like the PAC and the Holihan campaign must of been coordinating,” Walker wrote. “I am very disappointed and surprised by this, and surprised that anyone in a local City Council election would stoop to running attack ads on another candidate to try to win an election. … There is still a question of who paid for the piece, and a question as to whether it was paid for out of campaign funds from the Holihan campaign. I also hope that they did not use a list provided by the Democratic Party of Virginia.”
Walker added later that he believed Chapman took the “correct action” in removing Gordon from his campaign and said the incident “should not reflect badly on John or his campaign as they had no involvement.”