Now that the Dan Halloran issue seems to be settled (at least until election day), lets turn to the other candidate who was recently outed as a Pagan. On September 18th the conservative talk-show SpeakOut interviewed Alice Richmond, Democratic candidate for District 1 Supervisor in Page County, Virginia. During the program a “Jim Logan” called and asked Richmond if she was “Lady Raya”, author of two books on Wicca. Richmond repeatedly denied the allegation on the air, causing her to backtrack later when a local television channel followed up on the story.
“A bio of Lady Raya on that site is almost identical to Richmond’s resume, including education at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. “Lady Raya isn’t anyone. Lady Raya is a fictional character,” says Richmond. “Did I, however, write that book? Yes, I did.” Richmond also writes the Page County Watch blog and has made open government a central issue in her campaign. So, why did she deny questions about her past? “Many people when they are misunderstanding and not knowing what metaphysical books are, can react badly,” says Richmond.”
Now trying to move past the outing and her initial denials, Richmond talks to the local Page News and Courier, explaining why she initially denied being Lady Raya and writing those books on Wicca.
“Richmond explained that at the time of the broadcast, she didn’t want to say “yes” because of what people may think. “I essentially panicked when that guy asked the question,” said Richmond. Richmond later publicly stated she did write the books. Though prepared to express her beliefs as a Wiccan, Richmond said she was not prepared for the books and Lady Raya to be brought up.”
While the initial denials, and subsequent admission, most likely hurt her standing with some in Page County, it has also spurred a big spike in traffic to her web site and gained her new supporters.
“Thanks to the Speakout show for invigorating interest in my campaign and traffic on the blog. The Blog pages were viewed 1,360 times yesterday. And thanks to the anonymous mass emailer, who has been sending the link to PageCountyWatch.org out titled “Page County Watch or Page County Witch”. Traffic is at new highs, and I no longer have to be concerned that my message is not being widely received around the county. In fact, the Blog has been viewed more times in the past week than the Page News and Courier has circulation in the county.”
While her outing as a Wiccan may be damaging to the campaign, it is also very likely that opponents may have over-stepped in their out-the-Witch campaign, bringing her more free publicity and new supporters than she may have otherwise gotten. Meanwhile, a commenter on Richmond’s blog points out that accusations of a set-up by the hosts of SpeakOut were all but confirmed on the program’s next episode.
Interesting that the talk show hosts were too cowardly to bring up the matter themselves and instead set up an ambush. If this is the way politics are done in Page County, Virginia, maybe they really do need a change in government. As for Alice Richmond, she may just yet become living proof that there is no such thing as bad publicity.