Fairfax-area voters have left the 37th district in Democratic hands, giving the seat to David Bulova by a 6 percent margin.
"I feel wonderful," said Bulova after election returns came in Tuesday, Nov. 8. "It is a humbling experience, knowing voters put that kind of trust in you."
Two-term Del. Chap Petersen (D-37) left the House of Delegates to run for Lieutenant Governor. In a close race against former City of Fairfax Mayor John Mason, Bulova won the election and followed Petersen to Richmond by a 52 percent (10,330 votes) to 46 percent (9,096 votes) margin with 19 out of 20 precincts reporting, according to unofficial results from the Virginia State Board of Elections. Nearly half of the 40,000 voters in the 37th District turned out to vote in the election.
The swing district had long been a safe Republican seat, but has recently been giving Democrats a slight edge. The district also had the only four-way race in the state. Scott McPherson (L) received 296 votes (1.5 percent), while Daniel Haugh (IG) got 99 votes.
Although the race had the most candidates, it was also one of the most cordial. Mason and Bulova signed a pledge vowing positive campaigns and stayed focused on the issues through the campaign. This marked a stark contrast to districts to the south and west where both sides ran vitriolic campaigns full of personal attacks.
"It was good to run a race that was a clean race," said Mason. "I hope that Dave and I have set the standards on how a clean race ought to be run. And that you can run a race without signs all over the medians."
Bulova, a director on the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, and son of Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D-Braddock) won voters over with his expertise in environmental matters and his relentless campaign of door knocking.
"I want to do right by the community I grew up in," he said.
Republican John Mason differed little from Bulova on most issues. He brought more experience as an elected official, however, and a background in transportation.
After 16 years in the City of Fairfax government, Mason said he has no plans to go back into politics, but serves on enough boards and leadership positions to keep him busy.
"I have a busy life," he said. "I won't be bored."
The assembly session will start in January with a new governor, former Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine (D). The upcoming session is a budget year for Virginia, which means that the Assembly will remain in session longer, until mid-March, as it develops a budget which will guide state spending for the next two years.
Additionally, the legislature typically considers more than 3,000 bills each year. This session, the assembly will likely see a proposed amendment to the state constitution to ban gay marriage, and bills to restrict the use of eminent domain.
"I plan to fulfill what I talked about in my campaign," said Bulova. "We need to make sure we get our fair share for education and we need to get serious about the transportation crisis."
Education and transportation are the first things Bulova will begin working on when he goes down to Richmond, but beyond that, he said, he has "a hundred other things" planned for his first term.