2015 Election Recap from FCRC Chairman Matt Ames

Fairfax Republicans:

There always many people who deserve our thanks after a hard-fought election: the members of the FCRC, our donors, the voters who saw the merits of our candidates, the individuals and groups who contributed financially to particular campaigns — but most especially the candidates themselves and the thousands of committed volunteers who put in so many hours on their behalf.

I can’t overstate the size of the job that our volunteers undertake every year. There are more registered voters in Fairfax County than there are in eleven states. Staffing our 241 voting precincts on Election Day requires a minimum of 3000 hours of volunteer time. Staffing the in-person absentee voting locations requires another 800 hours. And that’s not counting back-to-school night events at nearly 200 schools, or knocking and calling for the campaigns. This year, when we were supporting more than 30 candidates, it was especially challenging.

I also can’t overstate the personal sacrifice and dedication required of our candidates. Any candidate for public office takes on a big personal challenge, and the mere decision to run is an act of courage. The size of the County, the high cost of running a campaign, and the demographic and partisan composition of our electorate make that challenge especially great here in Fairfax. Our candidates this year represented us honorably and well, and they all deserve our respect, our thanks, and our congratulations.

Here are the highlights of this year’s races:

Braddock District is never friendly territory for Republicans, but incumbent Supervisor John Cook ran a flawless campaign to secure his well-deserved reelection. As they have for many years, Larry and Nancy Krakover formed the core of John’s team. Braddock resident Jeanette Hough was endorsed by the FCRC for one of the three at-large positions on the School Board. It is very difficult for a Republican — especially a first-time candidate — to win a County-wide race in Fairfax, but Jeanette pulled it off and will soon begin a four-year term on the School Board.

In Dranesville District, we were represented by an exceptional set of six candidates: Jennifer Chronis for Dranesville Supervisor, Pete Kurzenhauser for School Board, Craig Parisot and Danny Vargas running for the House of Delegates, and Stephen Hollingshead and George Forakis for Senate. All faced well-known candidates, either incumbents or individuals who had run before. Our energetic and enthusiastic Dranesville team worked closely with the campaigns and continued its tradition of superb work; Ellie Bartlett and Mark Cronin are just two of many who deserve special mention.

Three of our candidates were Hunter Mill District residents. Arthur Purves, our candidate for Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, delivered a powerful message about the state of the County’s finances that may prove prophetic if it continues unheeded. Mark Wilkinson, running for Hunter Mill School Board, and Dr. Bob Copeland, one of our three at-large School Board candidates, both sought to bring fiscal responsibility and political accountability to the School Board. Randy Bordelon, Pam Styles, and nearly 160 other volunteers ensured that every Hunter Mill voter was offered a Republican sample ballot on Election Day.

Our Lee District volunteers turned out all summer and fall to support Anna Urman for the House of Delegates, and Mayor Jerry Foreman and Joe Murray in their Senate races. All three acquitted themselves well against well-funded and established opponents. Nancy Almasi and Beth Schaefer worked tirelessly, organizing events and contacting voters.

In Mason District, the FCRC endorsed Mollie Loeffler, the independent candidate for Supervisor against 20-year incumbent Penny Gross. Mollie and her team knocked on the door of every Republican, independent, and Democrat-leaning voter in the district, a goal that has not been met in many years in Mason. Paul Blumstein was critical to the door-knocking effort, and Susan Cobb played a key role in recruiting and organizing volunteers.

Mount Vernon District resident Scott Cameron presented his plans for protecting environmental quality in a fiscally responsible manner to voters all across the County and was elected to the Soil and Water Conservation Board. Jane Gandee brought exceptional experience (not to mention grace and charm) to her campaign for Supervisor, and Anthony Stacy showed great perseverance in his School Board race. Jerry Foreman and Joe Murray are true gentlemen, whose optimism and generosity made it a pleasure for our Mount Vernon team to work with them. Special thanks go to Delegate Dave Albo for his assistance to the rest of the ticket in Mount Vernon. Two of our most dedicated and effective precinct organizers, Ford Chinworth and Cindy Smith, also deserve particular recognition.

Providence District is home to two of our Republican-endorsed School Board candidates. In 2009, Patty Reed became the first Republican elected to represent Providence District since the 1970s. Her outstanding performance, especially on matters related to the budget and teacher compensation, was recognized by many outside groups. Unfortunately, despite the hard work of Stephan Brady, Ross Witter, and other volunteers, Providence voters reverted to their Democrat leanings and elected a left-wing Democrat to represent them. Manar Jean-Jacques ran for one of the three at-large seats on the School Board, because her immigrant parents did not come to America to be denied a voice in their government. Manar was a wonderful running mate to Jeanette Hough and Bob Copeland, and I hope she will stay engaged with our party.

Springfield District is historically the core of Republican strength in the County. Supervisor Pat Herrity led the effort there, working with Delegate Dave Albo, Delegate Tim Hugo, and School Board Member Elizabeth Schultz to deliver a unified message to more than 15,000 Republican voters in Springfield. Elizabeth Schultz also deserves great credit for her heroic and relentless battle to elect more Republicans to the School Board. Springfield resident John Frey, our long-serving Clerk of Court, benefited greatly from this teamwork; he and the rest of our Springfield-based incumbents were reelected by healthy margins. They provide strong leadership here in Fairfax and in Richmond, and we look forward to their continued service. Suzanne Spikes, Michael Marrow, and Geraldine Davie all provided leadership of their own in support of the campaigns and the FCRC.

Sully District offers another example of outstanding teamwork. With the strong support of his Sully running mates, Tom Wilson narrowly defeated his Democrat-endorsed opponent to win our third seat on the School Board. Although running unopposed, Delegate Jim LeMunyon offered strategic advice, financial support, and many hours of doorknocking to help our ticket. John Guevara‘s campaign for Supervisor was aggressive and well-organized, knocking on over 30,000 doors. Standouts supporting the Guevara campaign include Sully stalwarts Joanne and Ralph Hubbard and Hunter Mill residents Spike and Julie Williams. Tim Hannigan put together a model precinct operation supporting all of our candidates. State Senate candidate and Sully resident Dave Bergman also benefitted from the comprehensive efforts of the Sully team.

Finally, our thanks go to Fairfax City residents Bryan Wolfe and Sang Yi. As he did in his 2013 race, Bryan pointed out that our current sheriff has the wrong priorities and does not know how to provide a safe environment for occupants of the County jail. And Sang’s campaign for the House of Delegates has helped advance our efforts to expand our contacts with the Korean community.

* * *

This year’s campaign was a classic off-year election, with roughly 30% turnout, and only the most engaged and partisan voters going to the polls. With only three exceptions (two of which we won), every one of our challengers was up against an incumbent, or an elected official serving in the same geographic area. Despite the advantages that incumbency and name identification gave to the other side, our candidates performed well in a difficult partisan environment.

Next year will be a different race in a different environment. Turnout will be close to 80%, every media outlet will be saturated with coverage, and swing voters in Virginia will hold the key to the Oval Office. We will need all hands on deck next year, all year. We’ll stay in touch – but if you have any questions in the meantime, please contact our office at info@fairfaxgop.org or 703-477-4467.

Most Sincerely,

Matt Ames

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