At first it looked like a done deal.
Officials at the Democratic Party of Virginia alerted the media a little after 5pm that the field had been cleared and Mayor Dwight Jones was the only candidate to file to run as for Chair of the party.
According to DPVA leaders three people originally filed but all three decided to withdraw their applications and support Jones.
But it turned out to be a bit more complicated than that.
David Leichtman the party's chair of Tech and Communications was among the three that filed but withdrew late. Not because he supported Jones but because he was under the impression another challenger had emerged. That candidate is Joel McDonald a member of the Virginia Beach School Board.
McDonald confirmed to me that he did indeed submit the relatively simple application and emailed it to the party at roughly 4:50pm and that he intends to run against Jones for party Chair.
But while McDonald submitted the application prior to the deadline on his end, a computer glitch in the transmission prevented it from getting to DPVA prior to the deadline. At one point it looked like party leaders would be left with deciding if that was enough to accept his application.
That would not an easy decision.
Aside from the logistical issues it presents, it also sets the stage for a contentious party convention that DPVA leaders and Governor Terry McAuliffe were hoping to avoid.
Mayor Jones's personal opposition to same-sex marriage has raised concerns from the LGBT wing of the party. Gay rights groups believe the party's main spokesperson should be a strong supporter of same-sex marriage, especially at a time when Virginia's constitutional amendment to ban the practice has been overturned in federal court and is making its way through the appeals process.
But despite that resistance, Jones maintains McAuliffe's full support and the support of Lt. Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring.
By clearing the field for Jones party leaders avoided the possibility of a contentious and perhaps ugly debate over the party's stance on same sex marriage.
At one point party leaders were left with even tougher choice. Keep McDonald out and risk backlash from gay-rights supporters or let him in and be faced with the difficult convention squabble they hoped to avoid.
However McDonald left them off the hook. When he learned of the problem with the submission of his application he took responsibility and voluntarily withdrew. He informed his supporters with this tweet:
Rules are important. My technical error cause my filing for @vademocrats chair to be late. I have withdrawn my candidacy.— Joel McDonald (@joelmcdonald) March 12, 2014
Despite not being on the ballot for DPVA chair McDonald tells me he will still be able to voice his concerns about Jones's stance on gay marriage. He said he will be given the chance to speak about equality at the state central committee meeting. He said it was an offer that was presented before he decided to withdraw.
After all that the party establishment will get what they want. Mayor Dwight Jones will be the next Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia.