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National Journal's John Fox Sullivan runs for mayor of "Little Washington"



Beverly and John Fox Sullivan on the patio of their 18th-century home in Washington, Va. (Photo by F&E Schmidt )

In Washington, D.C., people know John Fox Sullivan as the publisher of National Journal. In Washington, Va., folks know him as councilman and, as of Tuesday night, "Mr. Mayor."

Barring a last-minute write-in candidate, the veteran political journalist will be elected mayor of the tiny Virginia town -- population 200 -- about an hour from the nation's capital. It's a pretty good bet he'll win: Current mayor Eugene Leggett endorsed Sullivan -- oh, and he's running unopposed. As are all the other candidates on the ballot for the town council.

Why run? "I love Rappahannock County," he told us Monday. "I like Little Washington. As my magazine life comes to an end, the title of Mr. Mayor sounds pretty good to me."

Sullivan, 66, and wife Beverly have lived near the Blue Ridge Mountains for 20 years; five years ago, they moved into the town proper (they still have a pied-à-terre in D.C.). After covering politics for 35 years, Sullivan became a member of the town council three years ago and announced his candidacy for mayor this winter.


A substantial part of Washington, Va.'s tax base: The Inn at Little Washington. (Gordon Beall)

The town's big draw is the renowned Inn at Little Washington, the gourmet restaurant that brings in 75 percent of the tax revenue; chef-owner Patrick O'Connell is also a councilman. The hot-button issue facing the historic village (surveyed by a 17-year-old George Washington in 1749) is the new sewer system, the first ever. Residents are worried the update might entice a bunch of newcomers to move there. Hence Sullivan's platform: "A little bit of change, but not too much."

"Come enjoy the great beauty, the food, the wine -- and then go home and tell your friends how great it is," he said with a grin.

Win or lose, he's headed to the Inn for a post-election celebration: "They count the votes at 7 p.m. We have a reservation at 7:30 p.m."

By The Reliable Source  |  May 4, 2010; 1:04 AM ET
 
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Comments

Congratulations to John! A smooth transition from one fine mayor to another.
Keep those sewer lines open, and keep
the Inn going strong. We love you both, but not enough to move into town. Keep up the good work. Chez Strange.

Posted by: Phip | May 4, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

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