- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 6, 2002

Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner says he plans to hold a special election to replace a retiring state senator on Election Day, when a hotly contested transportation referendum will be decided.
Mr. Warner told The Washington Times the special election for state Sen. Warren Barry, Fairfax Republican, will likely increase turnout in Northern Virginia, where voters will decide on a referendum that would increase the state sales tax a half-percent for funding transportation needs.
The Democratic governor appointed Mr. Barry to the state Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Board on Tuesday, and Mr. Barry will assume his seat on the board June 17.
Mr. Barry, who has served in the state Senate since 1992, has submitted a resignation letter, and the special election will be held to fill the remaining two years of his term.
Mr. Barry was the only Republican among the Senate's 22-member majority to endorse Mr. Warner over Attorney General Mark L. Earley, the Republican nominee.
Mr. Warner said his 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.
Activists on both sides of the issue expressed confidence their side would win Nov. 5, even though they said it is too early to tell who would benefit from holding the special election in tandem with the transportation referendum.
"The folks in western Fairfax [where the special election would be held] are very anti-tax, and this will help to bring more Republicans to the polls," said James Parmelee, president of Republicans United Against Tax Relief, which opposes the referendum.
"Maybe [it will help us] get more people to come out to vote, but I really think it depends on who the candidates are, what they are saying about it," said House Speaker S. Vance Wilkins, Amherst Republican, who helped steer the referendum package through the House of Delegates.
The two declared candidates for Mr. Barry's seat Ken Cuccinelli and Mike Thompson, both Republicans said they plan to campaign against the referendum and are confident it will help their cause.
"This is a huge plus for me, because I am the only candidate that opposed putting the referendum to the ballot, and as a senator I would have voted against this," said Mr. Cuccinelli, a Centreville lawyer.
"I don't think it will have an overwhelming affect one way or the other," said Mr. Thompson, founder the Thomas Jefferson Institute, a public-policy foundation based in Springfield. "I am opposed to the referendum, but I have no problem in the world with what I think is going to be a healthy debate."
No Democrats have filed for the race, but Fairfax County School Board member Cathy Belter of Springfield is considered the likely nominee.
This article is based in part on wire services.

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