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Reasons They Stayed Late

The candidate had just cleared out, but Charley Conrad kept going. It was past 9:30 on a Sunday night in a gutted Hollywood Video store and Conrad was hunting for a few final precinct volunteers with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Fred Flintstone eyeing him from ripped-up walls. A blue bucket sat on the floor to catch drips, and 51 brown paper bags were lined up, filed with Brian Moran signs and cheap cheddar crackers to keep poll workers moving Tuesday.

Conrad heads a gay rights group, the Virginia Partisans, and met Moran when the former state delegate was recruiting candidates in Republican territory in Virginia Beach as Democratic caucus chairman. Moran fought against a constitutional amendment in 2006 banning gay marriage

"Moran was out there on the firing line. He was standing up for us, and nobody really asked him to. He just saw how innately bad this was," Conrad said.

conrad.jpg

Although it passed, Moran's early position helped convince other top state Democrats Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, and Jim Webb to oppose it. That's why Conrad spent another Sunday night in an Arlington strip mall. "That's the character of the man," he said. "That's the main reason."

Prudencia Chism was there riffing on the phone-banking script and thinking about her husband. He fought in World War II, she sewed wedding dresses. When he'd play the piano, she would sing. Their 20th anniversary would have been the day after election day.

"I miss him so much," Chism said, and then began to cry. "He was a plain, simple man who never pretended nothing, only serving his country and his God. What I'm doing here I do in his memory."

chism.jpg

He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in April. Moran, after a day of campaigning that began at a Baptist church in Richmond, headed toward the exit and stopped to hug Chism.

"I know you are going to do great. I pray for you. That is the only thing I know how to do," she told him.

"You're going to make me cry," Moran told her, then walked through the glass doors into the parking lot.

"I never dreamed he was going to die," Chism said.

By Michael Laris  |  June 7, 2009; 11:52 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Brian J. Moran , Election 2009  
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Comments

Charley Conrad is the gold standard in terms of civic activism! He gave his heart and soul to get President Obama elected and has given it equally for Brian Moran and Miles Grant.

Charley is the type of citizen we should all strive to be and both Arlington and Virginia should be proud to have him as a citizen. I know that I am proud to stand with him tomorrow in support of both Brian Moran for Governor and Miles Grant for 47th District Delegate.

Just like Charley, both of these candidates embody Arlington values and we need them fighting for us in Richmond!

Posted by: tiffanyjoslyn | June 8, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

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