The election results were a surprise to many. Not because President Obama won, but because the statewide tallies came in so quickly. What was anticipated as a very long night of waiting was practically over by midnight. The popular vote was fairly narrow, but the trends were clear. No constitutional crisis. No reported voter fraud. No demands for recounts. The 2012 election was ready for the history books, and Virginia, especially Fairfax County, had a starring role.
Early in the evening, a network television analyst pointed to his large electronic touch screen map of Virginia, and swiped the outline of Fairfax County as critical to Democrats winning Virginia. That’s what happened in the 2008 election, and he was correct about 2012, too. Turnout in Fairfax County was 80.5 percent; in Mason District, the Barcroft precinct had an 88 percent turnout, followed closely by Belvedere (87.1 percent) and Saint Albans (86.9 percent). According to the most recent canvass, President Obama won Virginia by a margin of 111,301 votes; the margin in Fairfax accounted for 108,172 of those votes. By any estimation, Fairfax County played a pivotal role in re-electing the President.
Governor Romney’s concession speech was brief, and showed an elegance not seen in the frantic pace of the campaign. President Obama’s speech to the crowd jammed into Chicago’s McCormick Place near midnight echoed themes of the campaign. Despite the excitement of the crowd, his inspiring speech was sobering, and outlined the work that lies ahead for his second administration. The challenge will be to turn those words into action between the executive and legislative branches of government, and develop measurable results. That’s what the country is waiting for, and that’s what the American people said, with their votes.
There were other races, too. Congratulations to former Governor Tim Kaine, who now will be Virginia’s junior Senator, joining Mark Warner. That will be a powerful duo working on Virginia’s behalf. Incumbent representatives Jim Moran (VA-8), Frank Wolf (VA-10), and Gerry Connolly (VA-11) easily won their re-election bids. Northern Virginia benefits by having this bipartisan trio working to address the federal budget and job issues affecting our community.
A major focus of this year’s campaign and election was women’s issues. For the first time, an historic 20 women will serve as United States Senators. I still have a 1992 T-shirt that commemorates the Year of the Woman campaigns for the Senate; you’d definitely need a longer shirt to list all the women in the Senate now! Curiously, though, the Commonwealth of Virginia has no women in its top offices, not governor, nor lieutenant governor, attorney general, U.S. Senate, or House of Representatives. Ladies, we need to do something about that!
There probably will be many “final” analyses about the 2012 campaign. About money, Red states/Blue states, money, battleground states, money, diversity, and demographics. The list is a long one. In the end, though, the people of America once again performed the quadrennial exercise that elects a president – peacefully and constitutionally. God Bless America!
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org