- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Northern Virginia voters defeated a transportation referendum, a political setback for Gov. Mark R. Warner and some motorists who were willing to pay a sales-tax increase to alleviate some of the country's worst traffic.
The measure was defeated 55 percent to 45 percent. But Gov. Warner conceded the issue two hours after the polls closed.
"While these solutions have been rejected, I now call upon those who opposed them to help find a workable solution," Gov. Warner said in a statement. "I am not going to give up on better roads and improved mass transit. I still believe Virginians want better transportation networks, and I am going to continue to work hard to achieve them."
Residents of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Manassas and Manassas Park were asked to increase the sales tax from 4.5 to 5 cents on the dollar to alleviate gridlock and extend mass transportation. Supporters expected to raise $5 billion over the next 20 years.
"The bottom line is that the people do not believe the governor's line that there was not an alternative," said state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, Fairfax Republican and chairman of the Coalition Against the Tax Referendum. "We were outspent 13- or 14-to-1. But there is an alternative and we will find it."
Virginia voters also overwhelmingly re-elected U.S. Sen. John W. Warner, a Republican, to a sixth term. Mr. Warner won with 84 percent of the vote, compared with about 9 percent for independent Nancy B. Spannaus. Jacob Hornberger, an independent, had about 7 percent. Democrats had no candidate in the Senate race.
Residents statewide also approved two bond packages.
One was a $900 million proposal for higher education. The money will go to state colleges and universities for 122 construction and improvement projects. The schools have had to cut budgets, staff and programs to help close the state's $1.5 billion budget shortfall. George Mason University will receive $80 million.
David Chamowitz, of Arlington, a researcher who graduated from the University of Virginia, said the bond issue was the No. 1 reason he turned out to vote.
"I think funding state colleges is one of the best investments a state can make," said Mr. Chamowitz, 24. "I went to a state school, and it was one of the best things I ever did."
The higher-education bond had about 73 percent of the vote.
The other bond proposal, a $119 million package for buying land for three parks and 10 new natural-area preserves, was approved with 69 percent of the vote. The money also would improve infrastructures at 11 existing parks with projects such as repaving parking lots, maintaining trails and revamping visitors centers and boat ramps. About $30 million will go to building new campgrounds and cabins.
Park officials said the money will keep people visiting state parks, the least-funded in the nation.
Voters in the Hampton Roads region also rejected a transportation referendum, 62 percent to 38 percent. Residents in that area were asked to raise their sales tax from 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent.
Advocates of the Northern Virginia transportation referendum had argued that the commonwealth cannot afford to pay for transportation projects in its most populated region.
Last month, Gov. Warner, a Democrat, announced $858 million in budget cuts and is expected to announce about $700 million more in December.
"I voted for it," Kim Shahin, 31, of Centreville said of the Northern Virginia referendum. "I don't think anything is going to get done if we don't. And a half-cent increase is not that major for the improvement we need."
Opponents of the referendum have said that the General Assembly should give more money to Northern Virginia and that legislators have put the fiscal responsibility on taxpayers.
"I did not vote for the referendum because we're already taxed enough around here. We need to get more back from Richmond," said Barry McElwain, 33, a carpenter from Springfield.
Gov. Warner and other referendum advocates had pledged the additional money would remain in the regions, not go to Richmond.
Incumbents won in the 11 state congressional races.
n Rep. James P. Moran, Democrat, defeated Republican Scott C. Tate 60 percent to 37 percent in the 8th District. Independent Ronald V. Crickenberger took 3 percent of the vote.
n Republican Rep. Frank R. Wolf, defeated Democrat John B. Stevens 72 percent to 28 percent in the 10th District.
n Rep. Eric Cantor, Republican, defeated Democrat Ben "Cooter" Jones 70 percent to 30 percent in the 7th District. Mr. Jones, a former two-term congressman from Georgia, came under fire from some Democrats, including former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, for campaigning in a 1969 Dodge Charger used in the popular 1980s television show "The Dukes of Hazzard" in which Mr. Jones played a character named Cooter Davenport. The car in the show sported a Confederate battle flag.
n Republican Rep. Jo Ann Davis won the 1st District seat with 96 percent of the vote. She ran unopposed.
n Republican Rep. Ed Schrock defeated Green Party candidate D.C. Amarasinghe 83 percent to 17 percent for the 2nd District seat.
n Democratic Rep. Robert C. Scott kept the 3rd District seat with 97 percent of the vote. He ran unopposed.
n Republican Rep. J. Randy Forbes won the 4th District seat with 98 percent of the vote. He ran unopposed.
n Republican Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. defeated Democrat Meredith M. Richards 64 percent to 36 percent for the 5th District seat.
n Republican Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte won the 6th District seat with 97 percent of the vote. He ran unopposed.
n Democratic Rep. Rick Boucher defeated Republican Jay K. Katzen 66 percent to 34 percent for the 9th District seat.
n Republican Rep. Republican Thomas M. Davis III defeated Constitution Party candidate Frank W. Creel 83 percent to 17 percent in the 11th District.
Voters also approved a state constitutional amendment that would allow the state Supreme Court to hear a felon's claim of innocence based on new scientific or DNA evidence. Felons previously had to make the claim in a lower court. That amendment received 73 percent of the vote.
Voters also approved other amendment, 65 percent to 35 percent, that would allow localities, not the General Assembly, to exempt from taxation certain properties such as those used by nonprofit groups and fire departments.
Delegate James "Jay" O'Brien, Clifton Republican, defeated Democrat Rosemary Lynch in the redistricted 39th Senate District 55 percent to 43 percent. The seat became available as a result of the retirement of state Sen. Madison Marye, Shawville Democrat, who quit earlier this year citing health concerns and disappointment over the redistricting process.
In Arlington County, Democrat Christopher E. Zimmerman retained his seat on the County Council, defeating Republican challenger Mike W. Clancy. Mr. Zimmerman received 33,923 votes to Mr. Clancy's 21,438.
Incumbent Mary Hynes held off challenger Beth Wolffe to retain her seat on the county school board, 23,611 to 20,645.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide