- The Washington Times - Monday, November 7, 2005

Voters across Virginia — and in a few Maryland cities and towns — head to the polling places today to decide on candidates ranging from the local school board to the commonwealth’s next governor.

The Virginia governor’s race is the big prize, but there are important down-ballot decisions to be made, too.

Democrat Leslie Byrne, 59, and Republican William T. Bolling, 48, are vying for the lieutenant governor’s spot. Mrs. Byrne would be the first woman to hold the office if she defeats Mr. Bolling, a state senator from Hanover.

The attorney general’s race pits Republican Robert F. McDonnell, 51, chairman of the House Courts of Justice Committee, against Democrat R. Creigh Deeds, 47, a former commonwealth’s attorney.

All 100 House seats are on the ballot, though only 49 incumbents have challengers.

Newcomer Gregory A. Werkheiser, a Democrat, is challenging Republican incumbent Delegate David B. Albo, 43, for the District 42 Fairfax County seat. Mr. Werkheiser wants tougher laws for child abusers. Mr. Albo wants to bar illegal aliens from day-labor centers and voting booths.

In Prince William County’s District 52, freshman incumbent Jeffrey M. Frederick, 30, a Republican, has sparred with Democrat Hilda M. Barg, 72, over taxes, education and roads. Mr. Frederick has been vocal in his fight against illegal aliens and his disapproval of the state’s record $1.38 billion tax increase last year.

Republican Michael J. Meunier, an Egyptian immigrant, is trying to take the District 39 seat in Fairfax from incumbent Vivian E. Watts, 65, a Democrat. Mr. Meunier, 37, wants tax relief for homeowners and backs the immigration and transportation plans of Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry W. Kilgore. If re-elected, Mrs. Watts says she will support pro-choice legislation and federal immigration enforcement.

In the District 67 race, also in Fairfax, Republican Chris S. Craddock, 27, has run on a platform of lower taxes, less traffic and traditional moral values. His opponent, Democrat C. Chuck Caputo, wants to extend Metrorail lines through the state and fund crackdowns on gangs and drugs.

There are a handful of Northern Virginia local elections that are expected to be very close, including an Arlington County contest that features three candidates vying for a vacant school board seat.

William S. Barker, 53, a former civilian Navy official endorsed by the Arlington County Republican Committee, is facing off against 47-year-old Cecelia Espenoza , an immigration lawyer for the Department of Justice, and Edward J. Fendley, 40, a Department of State officer and president of the Drew Model School PTA.

In Alexandria, voters will decide who will replace longtime sheriff James H. Dunning, a Democrat who has held the position since 1985. William C. Cleveland, 57, a Republican and retired U.S. Capitol Police officer, is running against Democrat Dana A. Lawhorne, 47, a member of the city’s police department for 26 years. Sheriff Dunning has endorsed Mr. Cleveland.

Voters in Fairfax and Loudoun counties face ballot decisions on bonds for public schools. Fairfax voters can approve or deny a $246 million bond referendum for school construction and improvements, while nine bond items — eight for school construction or renovation and one for the construction of a new fire station near Purcellville — are on the Loudoun County ballot.

Virginia polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters must bring photo identification — either issued by the government, a political subdivision or an employer — or they will be asked to fill out an affirmation of identity form before voting, election officials said.

To find the nearest polling place, voters can go to the state board of elections Web site — www.sbe.virginia.gov/cms/ — or call 800/552-9745.

In Maryland, three cities each in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties are holding elections to select mayors and city council members. Most candidates in Gaithersburg, Rockville, Takoma Park, Bowie, College Park and Greenbelt are incumbents.

Two Prince George’s cities — Bowie and College Park — have referendums that could raise property taxes to establish police forces. In College Park, voters can authorize the city council to consider establishing its own police department or bolstering its contracted police force with more county resources.

In Montgomery County, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Gaithersburg, Rockville and Takoma Park. Prince George’s County polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Bowie and Greenbelt and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. in College Park.

• Amy Doolittle contributed to this article.

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