Through all the intense campaigning in the Springfield District this spring, voters ended up going with experience in the end, reelecting Elaine McConnell as the Republican supervisor for a district that spans 25 voting precincts.
McConnell beat challengers Linda Clary and Stan Reid in the Republican primary, which was really a run for the supervisor seat. No Democratic candidate has stepped forward to challenge McConnell in November.
"We're here for a common cause and that's for the good of our community, government and our country," said McConnell, at her victory party. She was surrounded by supporters at her West Springfield residence.
Don Crump was one of those supporters. He is the owner of the Davis Store in Fairfax Station that was one of the issues on the campaign trail. McConnell supported the right of the Davis Store to remain designated as a country store and not a gas station like opponents of the store wanted.
"It all came down to experience," said Crump. "She deserves every bit of this, Elaine knew we were right."
Of the 25 precincts in the Springfield District, McConnell won 18. Challenger Linda Clary won Leehigh and South Run precincts as well as absentee ballots, and Stan Reid won Newgate, Popes Head, Willow Springs, Fairfax Station and Greenbriar East. The total count was McConnell, 3,451; Reid 2,650; and Clary, 2,414.
Both the challengers ran on an anti-tax platform. Springfield resident Jim Howell was a Clary supporter. He manned the polls Tuesday morning at Washington Irving Middle School.
"This campaign is basically taxes, people are really mad about the taxes," he said.
On Tuesday, around 8 a.m., Mike DeLoose, president of the West Springfield civic association came in to cast his vote.
"Some folks have said it's time for a new face and change," he said. "I'm not sure that case has been made but we'll see."
MCCONNELL REALIZED that taxes are on homeowner's minds. She laid out her tentative plans for the coming four-year term.
"Go back to doing things we needed before, and try to keep taxes down," she said. "That's a biggie."
Public safety, transportation and education topped McConnell's list of priorities. During her career on the Board of Supervisors as a Republican, she's been in the minority. Supervisors Sharon Bulova (D-Braddock) and Gerry Connolly (D-Providence) as well as Del. Jim Dillard (R-41st) were there at the party. Connolly didn't hesitate to make an appearance to boost his exposure for his upcoming run against Republican Mychelle Brickner for the chairman of the Board of Supervisors. In Tuesday's primary, Brickner defeated former chairman Jack Herrity.
"I want to thank my colleagues on the board from both parties," McConnell said. "We didn't see eye-to-eye all the time."
McConnell's seat on the board was right next to Bulova.
"When it comes to local politics, local issues, you put partisan politics aside," Bulova said.
McConnell was first elected in the Springfield District in 1983, and lost an election against current chairman of the Board of Supervisors Katherine Hanley (D) in 1996.