RICHMOND (AP) -- A Republican state Senate candidate was indicted yesterday on 11 felony counts.
A Loudoun County grand jury charged Mark Tate with nine counts of perjury and two counts of election fraud, Loudoun Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Plowman said.
The indictments come exactly three weeks before a primary election between Mr. Tate and Republican rival Jill Holtzman Vogel for the 27th District nomination.
Mr. Tate also sought the seat in 2003, but lost in a close primary to Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr., Winchester Republican, who is not seeking another term.
Mr. Tate's attorney, Edward B. MacMahon of Middleburg, said the charges and the timing smacked of dirty politics.
"I'm outraged that the prosecution would inject itself into the democratic process like this," Mr. MacMahon said. "There is an election in 18 days. This is an awfully curious coincidence."
Mrs. Vogel, a Warrenton lawyer and former election-law attorney for the Republican National Committee, called the comment "shameful."
"A special prosecutor from another county investigated Mark, a circuit court empowered the investigation, and a grand jury indicted Mark for 11 counts of criminal behavior. No amount of name calling or blame shifting can change that fact," Mrs. Vogel said.
Mr. Plowman, who endorsed Mrs. Vogel a year ago, said Mr. MacMahon's claim was "outrageous" and "offensive," noting that he recused his office from the case after a preliminary inquiry of a complaint lodged against Mr. Tate in February.
The case was turned over to King George County Commonwealth's Attorney Matt Britton.
Mr. Plowman said the charges against Mr. Tate are punishable by as little as a fine or by up to 10 years in jail.
Mr. Tate, a Middleburg restaurateur, surrendered for an initial appearance yesterday in Loudoun County Circuit Court. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 5, one week before the June 12 primary.