Although the early-morning frost threatened to take off their fingers while standing all day took a toll on their feet, Dave Marsden (D) and Michael Golden (R) kept campaigning until the very end. The candidates spent Election Day outside polling places Tuesday, Nov. 8, greeting voters and handing out fliers.
"Those last couple weeks, things always get a little more frenetic," said Marsden, who stood outside Lake Braddock Secondary School in order to welcome voters from both the Signal Hill and Lake Braddock voting precincts. "You dial the phone faster, you walk faster, you begin targeting more people."
Marsden said he was proud of his volunteer corps, 200 of whom spent Election Day standing outside polling places, calling voters on the phone and acting as poll watchers.
"The end of the campaign went really well," said Golden. "We did everything we could do to win this election, if it is winnable in the current political environment." Golden credited his campaign managers and his volunteers, who ranged from parents to high-school and college students, with helping him run what he called "one of the best campaigns in the state."
"You don't want to see my walking shoes," said Golden.
Both Marsden's and Golden's campaigns featured a fairly unusual advertising technique for a delegate race: a television advertisement that aired on local television stations. Marsden spent about $80,000 on his ad, while Golden spent just over $50,000 on his.
THE RACE between Marsden and Golden has been a close one, said Ann Collins, chief election officer at the polls at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church and as a result, voter turnout has been pretty good.
"For a general election I think we have a fair turnout," she said. "The presidential election last year was overwhelming."
By late morning, about 700 votes had been cast, out of the 3,500 voters in the Pohick voting precinct, said Collins.
"General election turnouts are typically more than a primary, less than a presidential," said Scott Cook, chief election officer at Laurel Ridge Elementary School. He said that at his polling place, he was seeing a light turnout: 600 voters out of 3,800 by late morning.
For 41st District voter Catherine Brooks, voting means keeping certain candidates out of office, while for Jennifer Castella, casting her ballot means putting candidates in.
"I'm voting because I think some of the candidates aren't going to do a good job for the county," said Brooks.
"It's important to vote for someone who you think will support your views," said Castella. "Otherwise, you'll never get the people you want in office."
It is hard to gauge the electorate's feeling outside the polling places, said Golden.
"The people who like you always tell you they like you," said Golden. "But the people who don't, don't tell."
Nevertheless, he said, he is confident about the end of his campaign.
"I think a lot of people are going to be surprised after the election is over," said Golden.
"This campaign takes a year out of your life to do," said Marsden. "I'm excited."