Red Precincts, Blue City
Old Town lived up to its reputation as the city’s Republican enclave, giving Republicans victories in two precincts: City Hall and Lyles-Crouch. The winning candidates at City Hall included three Republicans: Pat Troy, Townsend Van Fleet and Craig Miller. The six most popular candidates at Lyles-Crouch included two Republicans: Van Fleet and Troy.
Overall, Pat Troy was the most popular Republican — receiving 5,809 votes. Townsend Van Fleet came in second place among Republicans, with 5,561 votes.
“Historically, these have been strong precincts for us. More Republicans live there,” said Chris Marston, chairman of the Alexandria City Republican Committee. “Both Pat and Van live in the City Hall precinct, so they probably have a lot of friends and neighbors.”
A Sunny Election Day
During the voting at City Hall, Jim Lay spent the day greeting voters in his bright orange Rob Krupicka shirt. He knows the precinct well, having taken it during the Democratic primary to replace Del. Marian Van Landingham. He didn’t end up with the nomination, but he had a good time campaigning for city candidates. His current position in the party, according to Lay, is “celebrated booster.”
“The weather is perfect, isn’t it?” he asked, looking into the sunlight.
Election Day had flawless weather, with a high of 79 degrees at 5 p.m. and a low of 47 degrees at 5:35 a.m. The city had no rainfall, and there wasn’t a dark cloud in the sky.
“I think this weather will clearly help Democrats because we’re the party of light,” he said. “The Republicans couldn’t possibly benefit from weather like this.”
A Civic Barbeque
Chris Gregerson, former Republican candidate for the House of Delegates, spent the day at the Durant Center handing out sample ballots and chatting with neighbors. He is Republican precinct captain of the Durant Center, and his house is one block away from the polling place.
“I took the day off, and it’s been sort of like a vacation,” Gregerson said. “But my feet hurt.”
Gregerson said that he enjoyed spending the day chatting with neighbors about local politics. It was a perfect day with perfect weather — although Republicans failed to gain any traction in the precinct. Only one thing could make it better, Gregerson said.
“We need a barbeque,” he said. “We could set it up on the lawn here, right in front of Jefferson-Houston. Wouldn’t that be great?”
The Next Election
Party officials like to keep their minds on the next election, and small talk on Tuesday often turned toward the summer primaries. With a tight Democratic primary to select an opponent to Sen. John Warner and a wide-open primary to find a Republican who can take on Rep. Jim Moran, there was no shortage of opinions about what could happen.
At Blessed Sacrament, Democratic precinct captain Barbara Brenman was speculating on how the races might shake out.
“The Democratic primary and the Republican primary are going to be on the same day,” Brenman said. “The effect of that is that voters are going to have to make a choice.”
Brenman said that some party activists in Virginia have been known to vote in an opposing party’s primary to select a favored opponent. But because this year’s primaries have been scheduled for the same day, that won’t happen in Alexandria.
“For those who want to vote for the weakest candidate of the other party, they’ll have to think really hard about what they want to do,” she said. “They can’t vote twice.”
Voters are a demanding lot. They want everything from lower taxes to more dog parks. But some voters have unreasonable demands.
“One guy said that he would vote for me if I could lower the price of gas,” said Craig Miller while campaigning at Lyles-Crouch Elementary School. “Dude! What could I possible say to that?”