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Votes

Loudoun Gains Nearly 36,000 Voters

Democrats and Republicans both claim edge in upcoming election.

Loudoun County, with the distinction of being the fastest growing county in the nation, has 35,899 more voters than it did during the 2000 presidential election.

Both Democrats and Republicans maintain the influx of new voters gives them the edge in the Nov. 2 election.

"There are people who are moving here from other counties, and then there are those who are registering for the first time," said Steve Deak, chairman of LoudounÕs Democratic Committee. "A lot of people have moved from Fairfax and Alexandria. We see a more Democratic lean on their positions."

RANDY MINCHEW, chairman of LoudounÕs Republican Committee, countered, "The new voters are fitting into the existing fabric of Loudoun County," he said. "They are basically people who are very similar, and who are, by and large, Republican. É Our voter identification data is showing there is no demographic switch."

Deak said the Democratic Committee has the list of new voters, and volunteers are reaching out to them. But he would not disclose specific campaign strategies, other than the phone banks.

More people are getting involved in politics, he added. "A lot of new voters are becoming very involved in the process this year. They want to change things. We see a lot of them volunteering to work at the polls or making phone calls or putting up yard signs."

Minchew said itÕs obvious that Steve DeakÕs has done "a pretty good job re-energizing the Democratic Committee that was moribund for years."

But he said Republican enthusiasm is growing every day. "Because itÕs a closer race, and they see someone they want to remain president," Minchew said. "We have a lot of young voters wanting to volunteer."

SUZANNE VOLPE of Sterling is a Republican volunteer spending her free time on making phone calls to voters. "As a mother of a 22-month-old daughter, looking at what I want my childÕs future to be, I consider it a duty to be involved," she said. "And I believe in the Republican Party. I believe in the principals of lower taxes, limited government, and supporting family values. I believe thatÕs really what our country was founded on."

Minchew said Loudoun Republicans value the bread and butter issues. "The Republican party is for quality of life, lower taxes, a strong national defense and government with integrity," he said. "The presidentÕs message is one that hits home to people. He is a man of solid integrity. He has a strong commitment to his job. É I think Americans like seeing a president with guts."

Patti Nelson, a Philomont volunteer who works the phone bank at Democratic headquarters in Leesburg, couldnÕt disagree more. "I feel so passionately about defeating George Bush, because of the war, because of the way he sets up his taxes É provides tax cuts for the rich, opposes raising the minimum wage," she said. "We are not doing anything to help the people who are the most in trouble. The policies of this administration are farther and father away from people being able to take care of their families. É We have the most fiscally irresponsible administration ever."

NELSON SAID she was working for former front runner Howard Dean before he stepped down from the race.

Minchew and Deak both projected a bigger turnout for elections than usual.

Minchew said more votes would be cast, in part, because of a greater emphasis on absentee ballots.

"They definitely want to get out there this time," Deak said. "Fifteen to 20 people are stopping by headquarters every week to get information, to get buttons, bumper stickers, signs."