F.C. Landslide Votes For Water Sale & Statewide Dem Slate
In the City of Falls Church’s first ever local election held in November, instead of May, voters more than doubled their turnout from the May 2012 and prior City Council elections to select four candidates to new four-year terms on the local City Council, and to overwhelmingly approve a referendum to sell the City’s storied but beleaguered water system to Fairfax County.
The City voters also gave huge majorities to all three Democrats at the top of the ballot – Terry McAuliffe for governor, Ralph Northam for lieutenant governor and Mark Herring for attorney general – all with above 70 percent here matching Arlington and Alexandria for the candidates’ highest margins in the state next to Richmond.
The overall victory margin for McAuliffe, by 54,548 votes (1,062.212 to 1,007,664 for Republican Ken Cuccinelli and 146,166 for Libertarian Robert Sarvis) was more than provided in the farthest northern section of Virginia, as has been the case for all statewide Democratic winners since 2000 (including President Obama, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine twice apiece and Jim Webb once).
While issues like Obamacare and the government shutdown were factors, this has been an abiding trend for over a decade likely to become, if anything, more pronounced, even if it was a special achievement for a Democrat to win for governor in Virginia with a member of his own party in the White House.
Democratic analysts held that the key to victory was turnout, with this November’s nearer to the presidential race levels of 2008 and 2012 than the drop-off gubernatorial election year of 2009.
Winners for the Falls Church City Council first-time candidates Marybeth Connelly, with 3,515 votes being the highest of all, and Karen Oliver, and repeat winners Vice Mayor David Snyder, winning his sixth Council election with the second highest total of 3,234, and Dan Sze.
The water sale referendum passed by a whopping 88 percent to 12 percent edge, and in the other contested race on the ballot, Democrat Marcus Simon handily defeated Republican Brad Tidwell and Libertarian Anthony Tellez. Simon was the hand-picked successor to retiring State Del. Jim Scott.
In the City, Simon carried 71 percent of the vote, and for his 53rd District as a whole, his edge was 67 percent (13,420 to 5,825 for Tidwell and 840 for Tellez).
Democratic Del. Kaye Kory in the 38th Delegate district adjacent Falls Church City won handily over Independent Green Jim Leslie with 75 percent of the vote, and incumbent Republican Del. Barbara Comstock barely retained her seat by edging Democratic challenger Kathleen Murphy with 51 percent.
A bundle of Falls Church City races on the ballot Tuesday were uncontested, including for five seats on the School Board – won by Michael Ankuma, John Lawrence, Margaret Ward, Lawrence Webvb and Susan Kearney – for re-election as Commissioner of the Revenue (Tom Clinton), Treasurer (Kathy Kaye) and Sheriff (Steve Bittle).
The first-ever November election for local candidates in Falls Church history, the winners will be sworn in just after the first of the year 2014, and the mayor, vice mayor, and School Board chair and vice-chair will be chosen at that time.
As far as the consummation of the sale of the City’s water system to the Fairfax water authority goes, with the passage of Tuesday’s referendum the matter goes before a three-judge panel for review in December, and with the expected approval there, will be closed shortly after the beginning of the New Year.
Much of the discussion at victory parties in the City Tuesday went to what the City will do with the 40 acres of Fairfax County land, including prime real estate adjacent the West Falls Church Metro, that was come into the City limits with the finalization of the water sale.
Lively victory parties for City Council races were held at Clare and Don’s Beach Shack, where Connelly held forth, and at the Sfizi Restaurant, where Dan Sze and Delegate-elect Simon enjoyed the congratulations of scores of supporters. Mayor Nader Baroukh and Councilmen Phil Duncan and Dave Tarter were among those at Sfizi.
Simon left early to join the throngs assembled at the Sheraton Premiere in Tysons Corner gathered for McAuliffe’s victory speech.
“I am thrilled and honored to be elected,” Connelly told the News-Press among cheering supporters at Clare and Don’s. “I thank my supporters. I will represent the entire City carrying it forward in the right direction.”
Sze told the News-Press, “I look forward to being part of what will move the City forward.”
The only candidate who did not win Tuesday, Robert LaJeunesse, issued a statement congratulating the winners and thanking his family “for pretending I was on vacation the last two months.”
Connelly said of LaJeunesse that she planned to consult him on economic and budgeting matters. “He’s a smart guy,” she said.
Snyder, winning his sixth election, said, “The opportunity to serve and the advice and support from so many parts of our community are deeply appreciated.”