It was a tough race — and a campaign sometimes marked by accusations, name-calling and sign-stealing — but in the end, incumbent Elaine McConnell fended off two challengers to win the Republican primary for Springfield District supervisor.
"I feel good about it — I really do," said a jubilant McConnell during a victory party at her home, Tuesday night, after the election. "You have to run on your record and hope that [voters will] look further than just one issue. They have to place their trust in you — and that's what they did."
She's served the Springfield district as supervisor for 20 years now and, in the just-ended primary, she had competition from Stan Reid and Linda Clary, both of Clifton. But when the dust cleared and the votes were all counted, the still-strong McConnell emerged as the winner.
Of the 8,515 total votes cast, she garnered 3,451 — or 41 percent. Reid — who had the endorsements of both Sen. Ken Cuccinelli (R-37th) and Sen. James K. "Jay" O'Brien (R-39th) — came in second with 2,650 votes for 31 percent, followed by Clary in third place with 2,414 votes for 28 percent.
McConnell swept 18 of the 25 precincts, doing especially well in the Valley, Orange, Cherry Run, Sangster, Silverbrook, West Springfield, Parkway and Fountainhead precincts. Reid captured five precincts, doing best in Fairfax Station, Popes Head, Newgate and Willow Springs. Clary took just two precincts, Leehigh and South Run, plus the absentee votes.
McConnell was in favor of last November's sales-tax referendum, which proponents said would bring much-needed transportation dollars to Northern Virginia, but which voters rejected. And her stance affected the primary, somewhat.
"Most of the elected officials did not come out and support me," she said. "But the good, ol' faithfuls in the neighborhoods supported me, and I had a strong coalition of ethnic groups — including Hispanics, Iranians, Pakistanis, Koreans, African-Americans, the Jewish community and Indians. I feel so blessed to have this kind of support from a wide variety of people. It's indicative of America — a group of [diverse] people banded together for a common cause."
Also supporting McConnell were the firefighters and sheriff's department unions, plus the government workers union. "I worked with all of them," she said.
And after Tuesday night's election results came in, Supervisors Gerry Connolly (D-Providence), Sharon Bulova (D-Braddock), Penelope Gross (D-Mason), Del. Jim Dillard (R-41) and School Board member Rita Thompson (at-large) were among the more than 100 people who went to McConnell's house to congratulate her in person. Unable to do so, Board of Supervisors Chairman Kate Hanley (D) congratulated McConnell by phone.
"When you're on a board of seven Democrats and three Republicans, you work with them, regardless of party affiliation, for the good of the county," said McConnell. "And you hope voters will take into account what you've accomplished and what you stand for."
So what's next for her? "Going back to the job," she said. "I've got a lot of constituent issues to take care of."