Opinion: Independent Progressive: Elections Drama in Reston

Opinion: Independent Progressive: Elections Drama in Reston

There are storms brewing in Reston. Long-time Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins has generated a great deal of unrest by attempting to force a zoning density change that could put Reston on a path to a tripling of its population. Imagine a Reston with 180,000 inhabitants instead of our current 62,000. In addition, there is concern among Fairfax County’s large immigrant population and their supporters about County law enforcement cooperation with ICE and over 12,000 Fairfax residents being processed for deportation. Ms. Hudgins is said to be sympathetic to their plight but unwilling to support further action to reduce cooperation with ICE.

With 2019 Supervisor elections just around the corner and several incumbent Supervisors announcing their departures (including Democrats Sharon Bulova and Linda Smyth, and Republican John Cook so far), potential candidates are surfacing among Democrats to replace Ms. Hudgins. She, however, is being coy, refusing to disclose whether or not she will run for re-election. I suspect the last thing she wants to do is announce retirement and be seen as a lame duck for nearly a year. Her dithering makes it tough for a couple of possible candidates who would like her blessing before launching campaigns to replace her. One of them is a former Fairfax County planning commissioner very interested in running. The other is a long-time incumbent political appointee on another Fairfax County commission. I am also aware of three aspiring candidates who oppose Hudgins’ positions, e.g., on zoning density and immigration and could well challenge her in a Democratic Primary.

These folks just might take advantage of Hudgins’ vacillation. That is, one or more of them could announce they are running, even before the new year, and go on the offensive on the zoning and /or immigration issues, thus building name recognition and support before Hudgins anoints an heir. One of the three would-be insurgents is a proven Reston Association Board leader and may have a leg up on the others in civic work experience and name recognition.

We have a long way to go to primary season, likely June 2019, and even further to the November 2019 general election when all state legislators will be up for election as well.

It seems to me, however, that the suspense and action will be in the Supervisor scrap as there is little doubt that incumbent Restonians Del. Ken Plum and State Sen. Janet Howell again will run for and cruise to re-election. But it is quite conceivable that the big picture in Virginia could include Democrats taking control of both the Senate and House of Delegates. All they have to is add a total of five seats to capture both chambers.

Meanwhile, the turmoil continues at Lake Anne. In addition to the ongoing dispute and talk of legal action between a dissident group of Plaza merchants and the condominium leadership, there is now a major election controversy.

A candidate in the recent Condo Board election was said to have lost the election by one single vote as discontent has apparently spread among the Condo’s membership. Now, some are demanding a recount, suggesting possible irregularities! My goodness, Lake Anne is starting to sound like North Carolina or Georgia. More to come as this drama unfolds….