Voters in last Tuesday’s Democratic primary supported incumbents where they could find them. But balloting also gave three candidates a hard push towards picking up three offices left open by retirements in the county’s usually Democrat-leaning November elections.
Countywide, 7,619 voters came to the polls, only 6.4 percent of the more than 117,000 registered voters in the county. Virginia holds open primaries, so any registered voter was eligible to vote in the election.
Walter Tejada and Paul Ferguson, incumbent County Board member and County Board chair respectively, each came away with better than 75 percent of the vote, soundly defeating opponent James Hurysz, a Fairlington civic activist.
“I think it makes Paul and I a very strong united team going into the November election” against Republican Rich Kelsey and Independent Sarah Summerville, said Tejada.
But to Hurysz, the results show weakness from the incumbents. “There’s a growing number of disaffected Democrats in the county,” he said. “It’s apparent that the Democratic Party is getting divorced from the residents.”
For a self-described political outcast who says he has been shunned by local Democrats for years, Hurysz’s 1,289 votes represent a political highpoint. He received only 9.8 percent of the total votes cast for two open board seats, but was supported by 16.9 percent of the voters who came to the polls last week.
HURYSZ, WHO ONCE received just three votes in a bid for secretary of his local civic association, won the Aurora Hills precinct with 35.4 percent of that precinct’s votes.
“I very much expected that,” said Ferguson. Many of the most vocal opponents to an Arlington major league baseball stadium live in the Aurora Hills precinct, where the stadium could go. Ferguson has made a commitment to remaining neutral on the baseball issue and has felt the heat from Aurora Hills voters who want to see formal board opposition to a stadium in Pentagon City.
Fairfax County Supervisors voted 7-1 on Monday to take a stand against a Springfield stadium. That decision could add pressure to Arlington board members to take a stand. Ferguson says he won’t be shaken from his position. Despite the Aurora Hills upset, he said countywide primary results were “great.”
Ferguson took 5836 votes, 44.45 of the countywide total. Tejada took 6005, for 45.73 percent. Voter turnout for the board race was 6.5 percent.
IN THE 49TH district state delegate race, Adam Ebbin relied on heavy support from voters in his stronghold, Alexandria, to secure the Democratic nomination. In Arlington precincts, Ebbin placed third out of the five candidates, with 21.7 percent of the total.
Andres Tobar’s 468 local votes represented 31.24 percent of the Arlington total, and Teresa Martinez followed with 422, or 28.17 percent.
Results were only slightly different in the 49th District overall. Ebbin won with 771 votes, 29.7 percent of the 2,600 total cast. Martinez was close behind, with 728 votes, or 28 percent of the total, and Tobar came in third, with 695 votes.
As expected, Ebbin did well in his home precincts in Alexandria, garnering 47 percent of the vote in the Cora Kelly precinct and 48 percent of the total votes cast in the Mt. Vernon precinct. He also did well in Arlington’s eight precincts and Fairfax County’s four precincts.
Ebbin wasn’t surprised by the Arlington totals. “I was running against some very talented people who were from Arlington,” he said. But trailing in the county means he will work hard to reach out to Arlington voters in the next few months, he said. “We’re going to try to reach out to as many people and groups as possible.”
Primary results weren’t a simple matter of Arlington and Alexandria voters casting ballots for their local candidates, Ebbin said. Turnout in the district was higher than the county overall, with 9.75 percent of the 49th’s registered voters coming to the polls.
TO EXPLAIN THAT, Ebbin pointed to the strong ideology of all five candidates. Tobar’s commitment to education, and his background in the community, Michael Graham’s record of civic service, Martinez’s “fiery commitment to social justice and Nathan Monell’s “consensus-building approach,” all served as inspiration, Ebbin said.
“I have a hard time calling them opponents. I’d call them running mates.”
Ebbin faces no Republican opposition in the November elections – no opposition of any kind, really. So while he has yet to win the office, he is set to become the next delegate for the 49th District in the General Assembly, and the Assembly’s first openly gay member.
INGRID MORROY earned a narrow victory over Margo Horner in the race for Commissioner of the Revenue.
Morroy’s aggressive, door-to-door campaign paid off with 3,788 votes for 51.77 percent, while Horner, who serves as Deputy Commissioner now and ran with the endorsement of retiring Commissioner Geraldine Whiting, took 3,529 votes, for 48.23 percent.
Morroy will now face Republican nominee Tim Russo, elected in a canvass last month.