Although the day started out dreary, Republican activists were out in full force passing out leaflets and courting voters during Saturday's firehouse primary held at Oakton Elementary. Vienna resident Robert McDowell secured the Republicans' nomination to run as their candidate for the House of Delegates seat representing the 35th district, beating out Vienna town councilman Michael Polychrones.
Out of 1,072 votes, McDowell got 56 percent of the votes, or 596 votes. Polychrones received 476 votes. McDowell will face Democrat and Fairfax County prosecutor Steve Shannon in November.
"There are some new people involved," said local resident Hugh Cannon, on why he came out to vote during Saturday's primary.
McDowell said a "broad base of support" from both Republicans and Democrats led to his winning of the Republican nomination.
"There was a lot of energy, and we were well-organized, and I have dozens of volunteers to thank for that," McDowell said.
Indeed, McDowell said he hopes to keep that broad support for the fall.
"We have a broad coalition of independents, conservative Democrats, and Republicans of all stripes, and expanding upon that diverse base will be crucial in November," McDowell said.
Polychrones, who received 44 percent of Saturday's vote, said both he and McDowell led clean campaigns. He cited Saturday's weather, Mother's Day weekend, and area college graduations as possible factors to the day's turnout. When asked what he would've done differently, Polychrones replied that he would've started fundraising earlier, so he could get more mailings out.
"We gave it our best shot," Polychrones said.
Although he didn't win, Polychrones said he would continue to remain active in the Republican party and finish his term as Vienna town council member.
"Insofar as any other elected office, I'll assess other opportunities as they arise," Polychrones said.
McDowell, who signed the pledge for no new taxes and serves as vice president and assistant general counsel for the Competitive Telecommunications Association (CompTel), said he looks forward to facing Shannon in the fall.
"We're starting our campaign for the fall. We're raising money, we're going even deeper into the community," McDowell.
Likewise, Shannon, his challenger, welcomes the race.
"Both Rob and Mike are good candidates, and they had a really clean campaign. I'm looking forward to debating issues with Rob in the fall," Shannon said.
The 35th district represents both the Vienna area and the Town of Vienna, Oakton, and portions of the Fairfax area north of Fairfax City.