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Votes

It's A Sweep

Bill Euille Leads Democrats Into City Hall

It was a clean sweep for the Democrats. All six City Council seats went Democratic lead by William Euille, who will be the city's first African American mayor.

"I’m exhausted but I’m excited,” Euille said just after the returns were in Tuesday night. “All of my family is here and I don’t just mean my immediate family but I mean the citizens of Alexandria. If you look out over this room, there’s a rainbow of people and that’s what Alexandria’s all about. That’s why my campaign theme was a mayor for one Alexandria. I can’t wait until I’m sworn in and can begin the work of bringing the city together."

Governor Mark Warner called Euille to congratulate him on his victory. “This is a good day for Alexandria,” Warner said. “My heart lies with the city and my home is still there. I look forward to working with Bill and the six members of the City Council.”

Euille won the mayor's race with 52 percent of the vote to Vice Mayor Bill Cleveland’s 41percent. Independent candidate Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet received just seven percent.

Euille won because, as he said, “We ran a very positive campaign with the right message. People knew that this city was being challenged and we need a leader in office who not only had proven leadership but who had a vision for the city, who understands the city and where it needs to go and how we’re going to get there.

"On the other hand, the message that my opponent put out, namely the Republicans, was the wrong message. They totally went to a negative campaign. And it backfired as we saw from the voters today.”

ON THE COUNCIL SIDE, incumbent Redella S. “Del” Pepper got more than 12,000 votes, even more than Euille and more than 2,000 votes than the next winner, incumbent Councilwoman Joyce Woodson. Woodson, Andrew Macdonald, Rob Krupicka, Paul Smedberg and Ludwig Gaines were separated by just over 600 votes.

The lone incumbent, Republican Claire Eberwein, was defeated after serving just one term.

“Happy days are here again,” Pepper said to the partisan Democratic crowd that went to the Old Town Radison Hotel to watch the returns Tuesday night. “I am pleased and look forward to working with everyone up here.”

Smedberg described the new Council saying, “We have made history here tonight,” he said. “Not only do we have the first Democratic sweep in more than 30 years but we also have Alexandria’s first black mayor and we have only the second openly gay candidate ever to be elected in Northern Virginia. I am looking forward to the next three years,” he said.

Like Euille, Woodson spoke of being exhausted. “I am exhausted and exhilarated at the same time,” she said. “I am looking forward to serving with all of my colleagues here tonight and I want to thank both David Speck and Kerry Donley for being my mentors.”

Macdonald, who, like Euille, is a native Alexandrian, spoke about the city. “I am proud to serve with Bill Euille who grew in the projects not far from here,” he said. “I remember playing tennis with my father very near here. This is a great city and I am proud to have been elected to serve its citizens.”

Krupicka thanked his family and his campaign staff. “My mother flew all the way from Seattle just to work the polls,” he said. “I want to thank my entire family and all of the people who worked for me and who came out to vote. I am looking forward to the next three years.”

Gaines summed up the elections saying, “This is what it’s all about. It’s about running for office because you believe in public service and having the voters give you the right to serve.”

ON THE FLIP SIDE of the excitement was the agony of defeat. Councilwoman Claire Eberwein finished seventh, with 900 fewer votes than Gaines.

“I will very much miss serving the people of Alexandria and thank my supporters,” Eberwein said. “I took some tough principled stances which is what one should do when your focus is good quality government. I suspect that my initiatives on land-use planning will have a positive effect on the future of the city.”

Independent Pat Troy got just over 3,500 votes. “This was a great experience,” he said. “I knocked on more than 2,000 doors and met some of the nicest people in the world. That’s why I love Alexandria and why I will run again. I’m thinking about rebuilding the Republican Party and running for Congress from the 8th District. We’ll see.”