- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Democrat Gerald E. Connolly declared victory over Republican challenger Mychele B. Brickner last night in the bitter and expensive race for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors chairman, while Republicans filed a last-minute emergency injunction challenging the results.

Mr. Connolly took an early lead in the closely watched race and told his supporters at about 9:30 p.m. that Mrs. Brickner had conceded. With 177 of 225 precincts reporting, Mr. Connolly had won 74,027 votes, while Mrs. Brickner received 61,895 votes.

Meanwhile, the Fairfax County Republican Party and Mrs. Brickner campaign filed a lawsuit against the Fairfax County Electoral Board and the State Board of Elections, asking to delay the final election results. The lawsuit was filed after the party members learned that nine new touch-screen voting machines designed to quicken the tallying of election results malfunctioned. A court hearing was scheduled in Fairfax County for 10 a.m. today.

Voter turnout across Northern Virginia was steady on the warmest Election Day in recent memory. Voters had to select all 140 seats in the state General Assembly, all seats on the boards of supervisors in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties, and a number of local posts, such as commonwealth’s attorneys, sheriffs and School Board members.

Voters in Maryland also elected mayors and council members in College Park, Gaithersburg, Greenbelt, Rockville and Takoma Park.

After declaring victory last night, Mr. Connolly vowed to continue his agenda of improving schools and public transportation, including rail service to Tysons Corner and Washington Dulles International Airport.

“Fairfax County is awash in traffic congestion that is one mar in our quality of life. We’ve got to roll up our sleeves and partner with the state of Virginia to address our traffic problems.”

Mr. Connolly also said he would urge the county’s delegation in Richmond to ease the burden on homeowners by reducing the county’s dependence on property taxes.

Mrs. Brickner, whose pledge to hold down taxes was the centerpiece of her campaign, urged her supporters to keep pressing the issue. “I know that Fairfax County will move on and do the things that need to be done,” she said. “I hope you will hold their feet to the fire and keep that message strong about controlling spending.”

Mr. Connolly will replace Katherine K. Hanley, who is leaving the office to challenge U.S. Rep. James P. Moran, a fellow Democrat, next year.

The victory came after the Republicans challenged the final results.

“Nine election voting machines in nine different precincts used in today’s Fairfax County election failed,” said Virginia Republican Party spokesman Shawn M. Smith.

Mr. Smith said the voting machines were then removed and sent back to the Fairfax County election offices before being returned to the precinct locations.

“There is no record of the chain of custody of the voting machines,” Mr. Smith said.

The controversy caps the most heated and prominent contest among dozens of countywide offices decided yesterday in Northern Virginia.

The contest between Mrs. Brickner and Mr. Connolly was the costliest and most divisive race in recent county history. Though the contest initially centered on transportation and taxes, the candidates turned negative in the final weeks leading up to Election Day.

Despite Mr. Connolly’s lead, the acrimony is likely to continue in court today. The pair traded personal attacks more frequently in the campaign’s closing weeks.

Mrs. Brickner often cited Mr. Connolly’s relationship with developers, attacking his decision to take a consulting job from a development company in Tysons Corner while the firm sought county zoning approvals.

Mrs. Brickner also ran a series of last-minute attack ads against Mr. Connolly, criticizing him for approving miles of new dog trails throughout the county while traffic congestion continued.

In response, Mr. Connolly portrayed Mrs. Brickner as an “extremist” and cited her desire to ban books she thought were too graphic during her tenure on the Fairfax County School Board.

He also called Mrs. Brickner’s proposal to cap county real estate taxes at 5 percent “a gimmick,” saying the plan would cause the county’s bond rating to drop and could hurt county services.

Both candidates, however, had one thing in common: a talent for raising money. Campaign finance records show the candidates raised more than $1.2 million for a job that pays $59,000 a year.

Though easily the most expensive race, the chairman’s contest wasn’t the only negative campaign in the county.

Sheriff Stan G. Barry, a Democrat, and his challenger James A. Vickery, a Republican, engaged in frequent attacks. Roommates early in their careers, the two men traded charges of jailhouse favoritism and financial mismanagement.

With 177 of 225 precincts reporting, Sheriff Barry had 81,196 votes while Mr. Vickery had 51,539 votes.

Yesterday, Fairfax County voters also decided several other races on the Board of Supervisors. Democrat Linda Q. Smyth received 4,558 votes and Republican James E. Hyland received 3,381 votes for the Providence District seat left open by Mr. Connolly.

Incumbent Supervisors Sharon S. Bulova, T. Dana Kauffman and Elaine N. McConnell, who all ran unopposed, were easily re-elected to their seats. Mrs. Bulova, a Democrat, represents the Braddock District; Mr. Kauffman, a Democrat, represents the Lee District; and Mrs. McConnell, a Republican, represents the Springfield District.

Incumbent Supervisor Michael R. Frey, Sully District Republican, garnered 5,249 votes against challenger Georgette Kohler, a Democrat, who had 2,674 votes.

Incumbent Supervisor Gerald W. Hyland, Mount Vernon District Democrat, received 7,139 votes against challenger Purvis L. Dawson Jr., a Republican, who had 3,659 votes.

Incumbent Supervisor Penelope A. Gross, Mason District Democrat, had 3,457 votes, while her challengers H.V. “Buzz” Hawley Jr., a Republican, had 2,537 votes, and Young Duek Ahn, independent, received 458 votes.

Incumbent Supervisor Catherine M. Hudgins, Hunter Mill District Democrat, had 3,457 votes, compared with 3,301 votes for J.D. “Doug” Bushee, a Republican.

In Dranesville, Joan M. DuBois, a Republican, was holding a narrow lead with 5,693 votes versus 5,386 votes for John W. Foust, a Democrat. The seat was vacated by Supervisor Stuart Mendelsohn, a Republican, who did not seek re-election.

Preliminary results indicated that voters in Arlington County re-elected two incumbent candidates for two open seats on the County Board, Paul F. Ferguson and J. Walter Tejada, both Democrats.

Mr. Ferguson had 20,109 votes and Mr. Tejada came in second with 18,839 votes. The pair ran against Richard K. Kelsey, a Republican, who received 11,769 votes, and Sarah J. Summerville, an independent who garnered 9,883 votes.

Loudoun County featured a crowded slate of candidates running for the Board of Supervisors, the sheriff’s office and commonwealth’s attorney.

The race pitted incumbent Board Chairman Scott K. York, an independent, against former general counsel for the Washington Redskins Robert M. Gordon, a Republican, and Alfred P. Van Huyck, a Democrat.

With 75 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. York had received 12,548 votes, Mr. Gordon got 11,529 and Mr. Huyck 5,701.

Stephen J. Snow, a Republican, led with 478 votes against 398 votes cast for John P. Murphy Jr., a Democrat, for the Dulles District seat. Bruce E. Tulloch, a Republican, won 429 votes and Afeefa Syeed, a Democrat, had 234 votes for the Potomac District seat.

Incumbent Supervisor James G. Burton, an independent, had 3,778 votes and R. Ben Weber, a Republican, received 2,747 votes for the Blue Ridge District seat. Incumbent Supervisor Sarah R. Kurtz, a Democrat, won 3,123 votes and Gerry M. Higgins, a Republican, received 2,763 votes for the Catoctin District seat.

Republican James E. Clem won 2,198 votes while his challenger, Democrat C. Kelly Burk received 1,766 for the Leesburg District seat. Republican D.M. “Mick” Staton Jr. won 2,081 votes, while his challenger, incumbent Supervisor William D. Bogard got 1,726 votes in the Sugarland Run District.

Incumbent Supervisor Eugene A. Delgaudio, a Republican, won 1,843 votes and his challenger, Democrat Douglas P. Reimel received 1,631 votes in the Sterling District.

With 85 percent of the precincts reporting, incumbent Supervisor Charles A. Harris, a Democrat, was trailing his challenger Lori L. Waters, a Republican, for the Broad Run District seat. Mrs. Waters received 2,442 votes, while Mr. Harris got 2,231 votes.

Sprawl and development figured prominently in races in neighboring Prince William County. Incumbent Board of Supervisors Chairman Sean T. Connaughton, a Republican, fended off a challenge by R.C. “Rick” Coplen, a Democrat, 29,706 votes to 12,970 votes, with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

Republican Martin E. Nohe defeated Democrat Victor D. Bras for the Coles District seat. Mr. Nohe won 4,238 votes and Mr. Bras drew 2,955 votes.

Incumbent Supervisor Maureen S. Caddigan, a Republican, kept her seat in the Dumfries District. Mrs. Caddigan won 4,430 votes while her challenger Davon A. Gray, a Democrat, received 1,388 votes.

In the Gainesville District, incumbent Supervisor Edward S. Wilbourn III, an independent, lost to his Republican challenger John T. Stirrup Jr., 3,395 to 1,624.

Incumbent Supervisor John D. Jenkins, a Democrat, won the Neabsco District seat. Mr. Jenkins garnered 3,101 votes. Republican C. Scott Hirons received 2,016 votes and independent Keith K. Kessler got 174 votes.

Republican Corey A. Steward garnered 3,110 votes and Democrat Keith A. Scarborough won 1,790 votes and independent Robert K. McBride got 1,196 in the Occoquan District.

Incumbent Hilda Marie Barg, a Democrat, held off a challenge by Republican Ronald A. Robinson Jr. for the Woodbridge District seat. Mrs. Barg garnered 2,763 votes and Mr. Robinson got 1,357 votes. Republican W.S. Covington III bested Democrat A. Pat Lightfoot 5,540 votes to 2,081 votes in the Brentsville District.

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