- The Washington Times - Monday, June 9, 2003

Polls will be open today from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. for Virginia residents to vote in state and county primaries.

In the state legislature, there are 11 Republican and six Democratic primary races. Among the biggest is the effort to unseat Sen. John H. Chichester, a Fredericksburg Republican and a top-ranking Virginia party leader, who is challenged by political consultant Mike Rothfeld.

In Fairfax County, the two candidates for chairman of the board of supervisors said their clean campaigns will help them in November.

“The approach is to have a candidate who is as unscathed as possible, then defeat the Democrats in the fall, and I think we’ve done that,” said John F. “Jack” Herrity, a former Fairfax board chairman seeking a return to politics.

Mr. Herrity, 71, faces Mychele B. Brickner, a two-term Fairfax County School Board member. The winner will face Democrat Gerald E. Connolly, 53, Providence District supervisor, who is unopposed today for the seat vacated by Katherine K. Hanley, who is running for Congress.

Mrs. Hanley, 60, will run against Rep. James P. Moran, Virginia Democrat, for the commonwealth’s 8th Congressional District seat in 2004.

Mr. Herrity, who held the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ chairmanship from 1976 to 1988, and Mrs. Brickner, a mother of three, have avoided acrimony, particularly in several debates.

“It’s really important to unite around the winner after campaigns like this,” said Mrs. Brickner, 52. “When campaigns get really ugly, that becomes hard to do.”

The candidates have turned their criticisms toward the current board members, saying poor leadership has led to excessive spending, high taxes and gridlock.

“This county is in a malaise,” Mr. Herrity said. “It’s drifting, and [the board] needs a leader.”

Mr. Herrity said his first priority would be renewing efforts to get federal money to widen Interstate 66 inside the Capital Beltway, which is now two lanes each way.

Mrs. Brickner signed a pledge several months ago to limit the annual increase in property-tax revenue to 5 percent.

An ideological battle among Republicans, particularly on the issues of abortion and taxes, has spurred personal attacks in the race between candidates David Hunt and Howard Lind, who are vying to challenge Sen. Janet D. Howell, Fairfax County Democrat.

Unseating Mrs. Howell is a top Republican priority. It would increase their control of the Senate, which is at 23-17. Republicans also control the House, 64-34-2.

The race between state Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr., Winchester Republican, and Winchester businessman Mark Tate has drawn national attention.

Mr. Potts has received backing from the centrist Republican Main Street Partnership, a national group that advocates limited government.

Mr. Tate has been backed by the Club for Growth — a pro-life, anti-tax group from Northern Virginia.

Mr. Potts, Mr. Chichester and Sen. Thomas K. Norment Jr., Williamsburg Republican, are all being opposed by antitax Republicans.

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