Having just one contested race didn?t stop 232 local Republicans from coming out to vote in this year?s canvass election. But with so few votes being cast, the race between Tim Russo and Steve Sass for the GOP nomination for 48th district delegate seat was bound to be a close one.
Sass, a defense consultant from Crystal City, edged out transportation economist Russo by just two votes to get the Arlington Republican Committee endorsement during the Tuesday, May 13, canvass.
In uncontested races, Rich Kelsey and Kamal Nawash received the Republican Committee?s endorsement for the county board race and the 31st district senate seat, respectively.
Kelsey will fight for one of two at-large board seats currently held by Paul Ferguson (D) and Walter Tejada (D), both seeking re-election. Nawash will battle incumbent state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple (D-31).
The canvass finalized Republican nominations for the November elections, while Democratic candidates still have nearly a month to campaign for the Democratic primary on Tuesday, June 10.
ALTHOUGH ALL three GOP candidates will face incumbents, they should not be considered dark horses, said Mike Lane, who serves as chair of the 8th District Republican Committee and is running the Nawash campaign.
The 48th district is typically more balanced politically than the other three districts encompassing areas of Arlington. ?So the odds are that [Sass] will give a good fight against Bob Brink,? said Lane.
In the Senate race, Lane says funding will be the major hurdle for the 33-year-old attorney Nawash. ?As the campaign unfolds, the possibility of a hotly contested race will depend on Kamal Nawash?s ability to raise money,? said Lane. ?If he can, Sen. Whipple is in for the race of her life.?
SASS ATTRIBUTED his success to running a targeted campaign focused on his strengths. As a homeowner, Sass figured his support would come from other residents of single-family homes, who he says are starting to feel alienated by the county?s Democratic elected officials.
?I think they?re going to start to realize they don?t know their delegate and they haven?t gotten anything from their delegate,? he said.
Mike Rumberg worked on Sass?s campaign and said he felt confident going into the canvass. ?We?ve done our job very well, and hopefully the party will come out and agree with us,? he said.
Peter Flippen, an Arlington resident since October, commended both candidates. ?They obviously care enough to be out here this far in advance competing for a delegate position,? said Flippen.
Nawash is hoping Whipple?s own track record will help his campaign. He maintains that Arlington?s all-Democrat delegation has not fared well in pushing the county?s legislative agenda through the Republican-controlled General Assembly.
It?s time to stop blaming partisan politics for legislative shortcomings, Nawash said. ?This is ridiculous,? he said. ?This is not about Republicans and Democrats, this is about Northern Virginia versus the rest of the state.?
Sass expressed similar views. ?I?m running because we have a Republican majority [in the legislature] that?s not going to change,? he said. ?We?re going to change the face of the delegation we send down to Richmond.?