By Carla Branch and James Cullum
As Republicans Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Ken Cuccinelli won Virginia’s three top offices by more than 20 points, Alexandria elected three Democratic
members of the House of Delegates and gave Creigh Deeds, Jody Wagner and Steve Shannon one of their few victories.
“Alexandria is different from the rest of Virginia. We are better educated and more sensitive to the needs of people,” said Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille. “None of us should be disheartened. We are not in trouble; it’s a little hiccup, but we can rebound from it.”
Republican City Councilman Frank Fannon was philosophical as he spoke at the Alexandria Republican victory party at Pat Troy’s. “It’s very tough in Alexandria, a traditional Democratic stronghold,” Fannon said. “In the 45th, it’s been 35 years since a Republican held that seat.”
Though the Republican ticket won statewide, 58.6% to 41.2%, in Alexandria, the Democratic ticket won 62.75% to 37%. “We did our part. Over the next four years, we just need to work harder to protect the gains that Virginia has made,” said Alexandria Vice Mayor Kerry Donley.
Three of Alexandria’s elected officials ran unopposed. “My success is due in large part because I am fortunate enough to have one of the best staffs a Commonwealth’s Attorney could ask for. For the past month I have gone to work every day to prepare for a murder trial. Late last week, we got a conviction. Your support allows me to go to work every day and do my job,” said Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Sengel.
Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne also had no opposition. “The last four years I have spent just being on the job, working hard, trying to turn the agency around and I think I have been successful with that. For the next four years, I plan to continue implementing the programs we have put in place,” Lawhorne said.
Delegate Adam Ebbin had no opposition in the 49th District. “This is a good night in Alexandria with David’s reelection and Charniele’s smashing reelection,” Ebbin said. “We in the House are going to have to work even harder to preserve the gains that we have made under Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.”
In the 45th, incumbent Democrat David Englin defeated Republican Vicki Vasques, 60.8% to 39.1%. “I hope you will join me so that we can continue to work for the future, for the American dream where everyone has an equal shot,” Englin said. “I would also like to thank my opponent, Vicki Vasques and her supporters for contributing to the Democratic process.”
Charniele Herring, who was elected in January, 2009, in a special election, defeated Republican Sasha Gong in the 46th District. Herring got 63% of the vote to Gong’s 36.6%. “Although what happened at the top of the ticket, we have to continue to work and fight. We will not stand and take anything that looks like bigotry, which is what I am afraid we are going to see,” Herring said.
At the Polls
Just over 35,0000 people, or 44% of the active registered voters in Alexandria participated in yesterday’s election. “That’s the same as in 2005 and 2001,” said Tom Parkins, Alexandria’s General Registrar.
Republican candidates failed to win a single precinct in the City. “That’s not terribly surprising considering just how Democratic Alexandria is,” Parkins said.
There were some lines at the polls and some minor problems. “We had some problems with the Electronic Poll Books that will have to be solved but none of those problems effected anyone’s ability to vote. There were also more problems with addresses and voters going to the wrong precincts than I expected. Most voters updated their registration before the 2008 presidential election. Also, more people voted late in the day and some voters were angry that they were not able to vote because they arrived at the polls after 7:00 p.m. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter whether you get there one minute late or fifteen minutes late. When the polls are supposed to close, they close,” Parkins said.