The mood was upbeat in the Cleveland camp, even after the final results were in and it was clear their candidate, Bill Cleveland, the veteran of Alexandria politics, had lost the City Council special election.
Cleveland told his supporters Tuesday night that were mingling around the party, we were just 351 [votes] short, before announcing he was headed to Disney World for a vacation. Its wonderful working for the people of Alexandria, he said.
His post election plans include much of the same activities that have kept him in the public eye throughout the year, including mentoring and education, but would not say hes done with politics. Never say never, Cleveland said.
Others at the house of Becky and John Davies off Seminary Road were optimistic as well. The final vote, 4,390 for Cleveland to 4,737 for Justin Wilson, showed a certain level of dissatisfaction amongst Alexandrians. Bruce Greenberg viewed it as a very positive sign, there were some out there that disagreed with the City Council. That troubles me about this council, we really need that role, he said.
Bernie Schulz, a resident of ParkFairfax, ran in 2006 on the Republican ticket and plans to run again in 2009. Theres room for a diversity of opinion, he said. Issues in Alexandria that need addressing included property taxes, development and transportation. Im committed to running in 2009, he said.
Early in the evening, just after the polls closed, the mood was optimistic. Michelle Presson manned the tally board as Jeff Miller read the numbers off the laptop computer. At 7:22 p.m., Cleveland was down 1,056 to 1,099, but up at 7:26, 1,441 to 1,421. The crowd cheered when they won the Chinquapin district, and again when they won the absentee count, but the optimism was short lived.
Maria Ciarrocchi, a past chairman of the Alexandria Young Republicans in 2005, said, Everyone knows that as a Republican in Alexandria, youre fighting an uphill battle. Cleveland felt his efforts were directed in the right areas, but didnt get enough support from the middle ground.
In any precinct where there was an issue, we won, he said.