At 7 p.m. Tuesday, as the polls closed on one of the most contentious elections in the history of the City of Falls Church, the historic bell of the Falls Church Episcopal pealed with its ring of destiny. Exactly two hours later, when the results of the election were finally confirmed, the bell rang out again as candidates who stood for moving the City forward, and not grinding it to a standstill, won all three seats on the City Council and all three seats on the School Board.
With 41.9 percent of registered voters casting ballots, incumbents Mayor David Tarter and Phil Duncan, and bright newcomer Letty Hardi won the three Council seats, defeating two former Council members, Johannah Barry and Sam Mabry both of whom had called for a moratorium on development in the City. In the School Board race, incumbent chair Justin Castillo won along with newcomers Erin Gill and Philip Reitinger, while a candidate involved in taking legal action against the School Board, Becky Smerdon, came in sixth place, among eight candidates total.
Tarter was the top vote getter in the Council race with 25.3 percent, followed by Hardi with 24 percent. In the School Board race, Gill, like Hardi a young parent with three children in the school system, was the top vote getter with 20.4 percent.
School Board member John Lawrence texted, “After a long campaign with unprecedented bitterness, cruel personal attacks, and vicious mudslinging, Falls Church showed that it wants optimism about the future, not anger about the past.”