- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 13, 2002

Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner yesterday changed his mind and scheduled for Aug. 6 a special election to succeed two state legislators he appointed to state positions.

State Sen. Warren Barry, Fairfax Republican, was appointed to the Alcohol Beverage Control Board, and Delegate Jerrauld Jones, Norfolk Democrat, was named director of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

The Washington Times reported last week that Mr. Warner, a Democrat, said he planned to schedule the special election to coincide with the Nov. 5 general election.

The governor changed his mind after discussions with local leaders and candidates who expressed concerns that these districts should not be without representation for five months, said Warner spokesman Kevin Hall.

"Ultimately there will be some issues that the voters in these areas will need representation on , and we thought it was better to have the election sooner rather than later," Mr. Hall said.

In addition to the state and congressional races to be decided in the election, residents in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads are scheduled to vote on a referendum to increase the sales tax a half cent to fund transportation projects in their regions.

"If you have the Senate election and the transportation referendum the same day, you are likely to increase voter turnout and everybody wins," Mr. Warner said at the time.

Virginia's legislature is a part-time assembly, but committees meet throughout the year. Mr Hall said issues such as tax restructuring and school funding need year-round attention, and the governor felt it was best to fill those spots immediately.

Mr. Hall said the referendum did not play a role in the decision to change the date.

Mr. Warner last week said his original decision to appoint Mr. Barry and hold the special election at the same time as the transportation referendum were not related. He made the transportation issue a signature part of his campaign last fall and a key part of his legislative agenda this spring.

Mr. Barry, who is scheduled to take his seat on the panel on Monday, had served in the state Senate since 1992. He was the only Republican among the Senate's 22-member majority to endorse Mr. Warner over Attorney General Mark L. Earley, the Republican nominee.

There are two declared candidates for Mr. Barry's seat Ken Cuccinelli and Mike Thompson, both Republicans. No Democrats have filed for the race, but Fairfax County School Board member Cathy Belter of Springfield is considered the likely nominee.

The last day for filing to be a candidate in the special election is July 8.

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