The mood was buoyant at the Democrats’ election night party at O’Faolain’s Pub, where party members expected to make significant gains in Tuesday’s elections, particularly on the Loudoun Board of Supervisors. A Democratic majority on the board could mean notable changes in the county. As Susan Buckley, Democratic challenger for Sugarland Run District supervisor, said, "It’ll be huge."
Meanwhile, across the county at the Holiday Inn Leesburg at Carradoc Hall, Republican constituents showed up in small waves while waiting for their candidates to make an appearance. With some huddled around computers, refreshing Internet browsers for the first sign of results, Paul Protic, chairperson of the Loudoun County Republican Committee, stood behind a podium, ready to update the crowd if news came in. According to Protic, numbers were slower to come in because of the mixture of both electronic and paper ballots.
As of press time, no results were available.
<sh>Board of Supervisors, Chairman
<bt>Scott York, the incumbent chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said he was "pretty confident" of his own chances and that there would be some changes on the board. "I think it’ll come to the fact of experience, as well as concern over the growth issue," he said. His challenger, Republican Michael Firetti has said he is not a politician but a concerned businessman. He works in software sales.
York, an independent, has been on the board for 12 years, serving as the chairman for the last eight years. However, at the beginning of his last term, the board’s Republican majority voted to strip him of his chairmanship powers and pass them to Vice Chair Bruce Tulloch. York said he thought his responsibilities as chair might be reinstated in the coming term, although the question would depend upon how many of the board’s Democratic challengers won their races.
He said he was pleased that he was able to raise enough money to compete with Firetti’s funds, which were bolstered by his personal account. His most valuable campaign tactic, said York, was "telling the truth, unlike my opponent.
York is a project manager building retail centers.
<sh>Board of Supervisors, Broad Run District
<bt>Lori Waters, the first-term incumbent Republican for the Board of Supervisors Broad Run District, who is running on a campaign of "neighborhood issues," made an appearance at the Republican after party. According to Waters, issues such as traffic calming and road improvements were key talking points with her constituents. Citing such issues, Waters said her strategy for this campaign was approaching the race "with a community perspective, not a partisan one."
"It’s been a long, grueling campaign but it’s been great out there, talking with the folks," she said. "They know I’ve done a lot in the area and that there are improvements in the works."
Phyllis Randall, Waters’ Democratic opponent in the race, made the county’s public education system a strong talking point in her campaign, claiming that the state of schools measures the health of community. A mental health therapist by occupation, Randall served on the Virginia Help America Vote Act committee, is the chairperson for Northern Virginia Political Action of the NAACP and was endorsed by the Police and Teacher Associations.
<sh>Board of Supervisors, Potomac District
<bt>Democratic challenger for Potomac District supervisor Andrea McGimsey said she expected "ethical issues" to bring out her voters, citing incumbent Bruce Tulloch’s role in transferring York’s chairmanship powers to himself, which she said disenfranchised the voters who elected York. She also pointed to allegations that the current board was under FBI investigations.
McGimsey, a small business owner, said her platform that the board should "get the focus back on existing communities" should also be a factor. "Traffic was the number-one thing I heard people talk about at the door," said McGimsey, adding that several Republican board members had approved rapid housing development that contributed to the heavy traffic.
She said she had thought early in the campaign that independent candidate Ken Mikeman might take a chunk of her vote, but she said Mikeman began to give the appearance of being pro-development and would thus be more likely to cut into Tulloch’s vote. "I haven’t felt any competition for the people I thought would vote for me."
Tulloch was elected to the board in 2003 and works as the executive area general manager for Sodexho.
Mikeman is remaining positive about his campaign despite not being affiliated with a party. At the polls, between meeting voters as they entered and exited the building, Mikeman believed being an independent has worked in his favor.
"It’s been a very strong point," he said. "People are not happy with the incumbent and not sold on the Democrat."
Running on the platform that the county needs to protect against outgrowing its available resources, Mikeman believes that this can be accomplished by making spending more efficient and increasing revenue by attracting more significant employers within the county. As for his campaign strategy, Mikeman said everyone did "outstanding."
"There’s nothing we could have done better," he said. "We feel great and really maximized our resources."
<bt>Democratic sheriff candidate Michael George said his three-way race would hinge on the public’s perception of the illegal immigration issue. If voters "believe there’s an immediate fix," that could help Republican candidate Greg Ahlemann, said George, adding that if the problem is perceived to be "more convoluted," he should come out ahead. He said the number of voters looking for a change would determine how independent incumbent Steve Simpson would fare.
The candidates’ level of experience would also be a factor, he said. George has worked at several levels of law enforcement and is currently the director of investigative services for the Recording Industry Association of America.
George said he had originally hoped the other two candidates would split the Republican vote until Ahlemann made a couple of public comments George considered self-detrimental. "I think it’s going to be me and Simpson," he said.
George said staying positive was the key to his campaign. "I didn’t run a single negative add." He noted that he also did not go into debt or quit his job, having been told he would likely have to do both.
Ahlemann hinged his campaign on the issue of illegal aliens living within county borders. Ahlemann, who has worked in the Sheriff’s Office since 1996, the last seven years in Special Operations, is a proponent of implementing Immigration and Customs Enforcement training within the department. He believed this tactic, along with increasing police funding, would help deter crime in the county. Met by constituents when he arrived at the Republican after party, Ahlemann was in positive spirits.
"Looking back on the campaign, I wouldn’t have changed a thing I would have done," he said. "It’s in God’s hands now, win or lose."
Simpson has served as sheriff for the last 12 years.
<sh>Board of Supervisors, Sterling District
<bt>"I think people want someone looking toward the issues people in Sterling care about rather than their own agenda," said Jeanne West, Democratic challenger to Republican Sterling Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio. She said if she succeeded it would be because voters wanted a supervisor who would vote for constituent services and slower development and would not be divisive.
West said she was proud to have kept her campaign positive and issues-based. "I think we gave it a good fight, whatever happens."
Delgaudio has been the Sterling District supervisor since 2000 and operates the conservative nonprofit People’s Advocate.
<sh>Board of Supervisors, Sugarland Run District
<bt>Susan Buckley, Democratic challenger for Sugarland Run District Supervisor said she thought the vote for her district would be decided by voters who "are tired of over-development and ready to have an open and honest government." She noted that she had received calls from voters who told her they had cast their first Democratic vote for her.
She said her campaign rested on fund-raising and door knocking, noting that she raised more than $100,000 and canvassed her entire district, covering some areas twice. "It’s great to run a campaign and have absolutely no regrets," she said.
Mick Staton, the incumbent Republican supervisor, is the vice president of a consulting firm and has been on the board since 2004.