03 November 2015

McAuliffe, state and county leaders in Va. await election results 3NOV15

TODAY was, still is election day in Virginia (polls were open from 0600 to 1900, 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM) as well as other states, cities and electoral districts across the country. Pathetically, voter turn out will be low because this is an "off year" election and Americans are much more comfortable bitching about the problems and issues that need to be addressed and criticizing politicians and political parties for not getting anything done than taking the time to check out the candidates and voting. These people are as much to blame for the issues and problems not being resolved as the politicians in power because they allow these same politicians to remain in office. This from the +Washington Post outlines many of the races across Virginia today. And FYI, Yes, I did vote today (I was number 279 at my voting location and I went after lunch!), I haven't missed voting since I became old enough to vote in 1976!

McAuliffe, state and county leaders in Va. await election results

Virginia voters went to the polls on Tuesday in state Senate elections that will determine whether Gov. Terry McAuliffe has any legislative leverage or political momentum heading into 2016, when he hopes to deliver Virginia for his friend and ally Hillary Rodham Clinton.
All 140 seats in the General Assembly were on the ballot, but all eyes were on a handful of races that will decide if Republicans hold onto the closely divided state Senate.
Because Republicans dominate the House, flipping the Senate is the term-limited governor’s only hope for building a legislative legacy in his remaining two years.
Even if Democrats win the Senate, McAuliffe (D) is limited in what he can accomplish through the General Assembly. House Republicans remain fiercely opposed to his top priorities, such as tightening restrictions on guns and expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The legislature is also constrained. Even if Republicans hold onto both chambers, they will not have a supermajority in the Senate to override McAuliffe’s vetoes.
Voters also chose local leaders in Fairfax, Prince William and Arlington counties and the city of Alexandria, where longtime incumbent William D. Euille is trying to salvage his mayoralty, mounting a write-in campaign after losing the Democratic primary. In Prince William County, two other well-known veterans are facing vigorous challengers. And in Fairfax and Arlington, existing governing coalitions will be impacted by the outcomes of several contests for open or closely contested board seats.
Senate races
A year before the presidential election, national donors and outside groups seized on Virginia’s state Senate races, their intensity a reflection of the importance that both Democrats and Republicans place on gaining momentum in a crucial swing state.
The two races drawing the most attention include the Prince William County district in which Democrat Jeremy McPike and Republican Hal Parrish are vying to succeed retiring Sen. Charles J. Colgan (D-Prince William).
McAuliffe himself has shown intense interest in the race, campaigning with McPike Tuesday at a home in Manassas Park as part of a last-minute Democratic push.
“We need this seat,” the governor told McPike’s volunteers, adding that the balmy autumn temperatures and cloudless sky were signs “God is with us.”
“We are going to shock everybody.”
Parrish, the Manassas mayor, opposes Medicaid expansion, has an A-minus rating from the National Rifle Association and cast the tie-breaking vote allowing restrictions on Manassas abortion clinics. McPike, who works for the city of Alexandria, favors Medicaid expansion, gun control and abortion rights.
Shari Wahlert, 54, a federal worker, said she was backing Parrish even though she leans Democratic, because she prefers split government. “It’s probably my naive view of the world that we all work together when it comes down to it,” Wahlert said.
But Bret Roseberry, 59, said he voted for McPike to protect access to women’s health care and reduce gun violence. “This is an extremely pro-gun area,” said Roseberry, an airport operations manager. “They want no restrictions.”
Beyond the boundaries of the senate race, voter turnout in Prince William this morning was sparse. Fewer than 200 voters had shown up at Henderson Elementary in Dumfries by 9:30 a.m., many of them bombarded with fliers from Democratic senate candidate Scott Surovell, who is running against Republican Jerry Foreman. The seat is being vacated by retiring Sen. Linda T. “Toddy” Puller (D-Fairfax).
In the Richmond area, Republican Glen Sturtevant, a school board member, and Democrat Dan Gecker, a Chesterfield County supervisor, are running to replace Sen. John C. Watkins (Powhatan), who is retiring.
The August shootings of two journalists in southwest Virginia turned gun control into a key issue in the races, as McAuliffe pushed for tighter restrictions on firearms purchases, with the support of Andy Parker, the father of one of the victims.
At one point during the race, state Sen. William M. Stanley (R-Franklin) complained that Parker had threatened him with angry messages concerning the senator’s opposition to gun control. Parker then issued an apology through the gun control lobbying group organized by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Bloomberg’s organization pumped more than $2.3 million into McPike and Gecker’s campaigns, an effort that Republicans predicted would spur a backlash at the polls.
In Loudoun County, Democrat Jill McCabe, a pediatric emergency-room doctor, is challenging Sen. Richard H. Black, a former Marine combat pilot and lawyer who is among the Assembly’s most conservative members
Democrats concede that unseating Black is as difficult as their quest to quest to oust incumbent Republican Frank W. Wagner in Virginia Beach. Wagner is facing Democrat Gary McCollum.
Wagner, the former owner of a ship repair company, seemed vulnerable after reports that he took gifts from special interests and sponsored legislation friendly to Dominion Virginia Power.
But McCollum was stung by revelations that he misrepresented his military record. Republicans accused the retired Cox communications executive of stolen valor, a potentially damaging attack in a district adjacent to the world’s largest naval base.
Nearby, Sen. Lynwood W. Lewis Jr. (D-Accomack) is defending a seat he won by just 11 votes last year in a special election. His challenger is Republican Richard H. Ottinger.
In southwest Virginia, Sen. John S. Edwards (D-Roanoke) is in a three-way race with Republican Nancy Dye and Democrat-turned-independent Don Caldwell.
House races
The toll road issue is also being used in the House to hammer Del. Kathleen Murphy (D-Fairfax) and Democratic state delegate candidates John Bell and Jennifer Boysko.
Murphy faces a rematch against Craig Parisot, the Republican she narrowly defeated in a special election last year. Bell and Republican Chuong Nguyen are vying for the Loudoun seat held by Del. David I. Ramadan, who is not seeking reelection. B
Boysko is running against Republican businessman Danny Vargas for the seat of Del. Thomas Davis Rust (R-Fairfax).
At the Charles Houston Recreation center on Tuesday morning, Euille’s campaign volunteersoffered to stamp the hands of voters with the mayor’s name so they could spell it correctly in the write-in line on the ballot.
Euille is counting on the African American and business communities to propel him to victory over Allison Silberberg, the Democratic nominee, who is depending on her party’s support, along with voters’ weariness with development.
“This will be a close vote,” said Euille, who spent the campaign’s last hours knocking on doors “I feel very good and am inspired by the outpouring of support.”
Lobbyist Sarah Pierce said she was voting to keep in him office because she is “looking for consistency and continuity of leadership.”

Many voters at the precinct said they see Euille’s efforts to bring projects as a means of expanding the tax base and staving off possible property tax increases as the city grows.
But in Silberberg’s neighborhood of large colonials and detached brick homes a few miles away from Old Town, some voters said they were worried about Euille’s ties to developers and his enthusiasm for building.
“I’m a fan of slowing down development a’s out of control,” said accountant Ben Schabert, an eight-year resident. “The city stands to lose some of its identity.”
Fairfax County board
In Fairfax County, Virginia’s largest, board of supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova (D) is favored to win another term, and is warning that the county faces stark choices about cutting services or raising revenue as it tries to rebound from cuts to public schools, libraries and other services.
In the Dranesville District, Republican Jennifer Chronis, an IBM executive, is mounting an aggressive challenge against incumbent Supervisor John W. Foust (D). Chuck and Sheila Mudd cast their ballots for Foust, and donated money to his campaign, because they’ve been impressed by his responsiveness to constituent needs during two terms as supervisor.
“Foust has been a very hard worker,” Chuck Mudd said after voting at Langley High School. “He really gets involved.”
David Reed, 70, said he voted for Chronis. “I read a little about her and she sounds really smart,” he said.
Nell Koopman, whose family recently moved to the area from Alabama, also voted for Chronis, but said she was more concerned about seeing a $350 million school bind referendum pass. “We have three kids at this school,” Koopman said, as a construction crew worked to complete a new building on campus. “We need more space.”
In other Fairfax races, the open Sully District seat drew two candidates, Democrat Kathy Smith who pledged to steer state transportation dollars to her western Fairfax district, and Republican John Guevara, who favors more public-private partnerships.
Supervisor John C. Cook (R) in the Braddock District and Supervisor Penelope A. Gross (D) in the Mason District far outraised their challengers.

Prince William
In Prince William, incumbent Corey A. Stewart (R), chairman of the board of supervisors, is facing a challenge from Democrat Rick Smith, who is calling for improved public safety seven years after his wife and teenage son were killed.
Smith also is seeking to appeal to the county’s growing Latino population to draw a contrast with Stewart, who drew national attention with 2007 ordinance that required police to check the immigration status of anyone they arrest.
In Woodbridge, Ana Rodriguez cast her vote for Smith, saying it was time for change after years of Republican control on the board. She said she was turned off by the positions Stewart has taken on immigration issues.
“I have met good people that really deserve to have a chance,” she said.
Prince William voters also will decide whether to give Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul B. Ebert (D) a 13th term or replace him with County Supervisor Michael C. May (R).
“When you have been in office 47 years -- that’s almost as much as I’ve been alive -- it’s too long,” said teacher Annemarie Ciskanik , who cast her ballot for May.
For the chairman of the county board, though, Ciskanik said she went for the incumbent, because “he takes good care of our tax money.”
Manassas resident Mark Townsend, 39, decided to back May for commonwealth’s attorney. “This county is changing so much demographically and politically, and that’s a good thing,” he said. “Sometimes you need new blood to go along with all these changes.”
Arlington board
The stakes are also high in Arlington, where for the first time in more than 30 years, two seats are open on the governing board.
Two Democrats, Christian Dorsey and Katie Cristol, face two independents — Mike McMenamin, a former Republican candidate, and Audrey Clement, a former Green Party candidate.
Last year’s election of John Vihstadt, a Republican running as an independent, diluted 15 years of Democratic dominance, and continues to resonate.
“I think the county is somewhat in disarray,” said Diane Cancian after voting for Cristol and McMenamin at her Lee Highway polling place. “They are spending far too much money on the larger projects. We need to dial it back and get schools under control.”
Across the county at a polling place near the Pentagon City shopping center, Karen Feeley said she voted for McMenamin based on Arlington’s plans to expand affordable housing, which she opposes because a new multi-use development is going up near her own home. She said she felt as if she had few choices among the 4 candidates for County Board. “That was easy. It was like filling in a test at school,” she said.
Arelis Hernandez, Antonio Olivo, Fenit Nirappil, Patricia Sullivan and Rachel Weiner contributed to this report.