Democrats make presence felt

Democrats make presence felt

Voter turnout in Alexandria was low just over 20 percent but Democrats voted in sufficient strength to send all five local incumbents back to Richmond.

The only truly contested race was in the 45th House District, where Democrat incumbent

David Englin was challenged by Republican Mark Allen. Though Allen ran a well-funded, well-organized campaign, the results were the usual: Englin got 62 percent of the votes cast, and Allen received 38 percent of the votes cast. Allen won only one precinct, City Hall.

I ran for elected office to serve my community and to protect the future for my son and the children of my sons generation, Englin said. I am proud to serve the people of the 45th District and am grateful that they have enough faith in me to send me back to Richmond.

In Alexandria, just over 16,000 people cast votes on Tuesday, a little more than 20 percent of the citys active registered voters. In 2003, 13,207 people voted out of 70,226 active registered voters, just over 19 percent.

Its about what we predicted in a year where there were no issues on the ballot and only one contested race, said Tom Parkins, Alexandrias Voter Registrar.

The only excitement came when Republicans and Democrats went to Circuit Court at just after 5 p.m. to ask for the polls to remain open after 7 p.m. because of a fire at the Pentagon Metro station.

We were told that the Circuit Court had the authority to keep the polls open, but Judge John Kloch, who was on duty tonight, said he wasnt sure he had that authority, said Susan Kellom, chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee.

According to Parkins, Virginia Code speaks about what a voter registrar is supposed to do if the polls are kept open by the Circuit Court, but, apparently the lawyers couldnt find the Code section that gives the Circuit Court that implied authority.”

I didnt think they were going to keep the polls open for something like a fire in the Metro because that would be like keeping them open because there was an accident on I-395. The polls are usually kept open past regular closing time because someone in my position screws up and lots of voters are precluded from voting. That certainly wasnt the case here, Parkins said.

Allen expressed his gratitude to those who worked for him and was philosophical about the loss. I am proud of the campaign we ran, he said. Our message was positive and focused on the issues, despite my opponents accusations that I was personally attacking him.

The turnout was abysmal, and Im not sure what we can do about that. I would rather have lost by a lot in an election where there was high voter turnout than to lose in an election where only 20 percent of the registered voters bothered to show up. Thats very disheartening, Allen said.

The other races
Both state Sen. Patricia S. Patsy Ticer and Del. Brian Moran were unopposed. Ticer got 95 percent of the votes cast in the 30th Senate District. The remaining 5 percent were write-ins.

I was very grateful not to have an opponent because that allowed me to travel around the region and help other Democrats who had contested races. We are hopeful of picking up some seats in the Senate and that is important. We need more like-minded people in Richmond to support Gov. Kaine, Ticer said.

Moran got 93 percent of the votes cast in the 46th House District. The remaining 7 percent were write-ins. Moran spent much of the campaign traveling around the Commonwealth supporting other Democrats and spent election night at the McLean Hilton with Kaine, former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner and other local Democrats, including Alexandria Mayor William Euille and Sen. Jim Webb (D).

The new Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw was challenged by Mario Palmiotto, an Independent Green Party candidate. Saslaw got 77 percent of the votes, Palmiotto, 21 percent. Saslaw, too, traveled throughout Virginia helping other Democrats in more hotly contested races.

We had some very good candidates who ran good races, Saslaw said. I am pleased that I was able to support many of them.

Incumbent Democrat Adam Ebbin was challenged by James Ron Fisher in the 49th House District. Ebbin got 81 percent of the votes cast, and Fisher received 18 percent of the total votes cast.

We arent going to have control of the House of Delegates when we go to Richmond this January, but we have worked hard and made some inroads, Ebbin said.

Ebbin is a member of the 51-51 club, whose members commit to raising at least $51,000 for Democratic candidates statewide. This election cycle, Ebbin raised $240,000 for fellow Democrats.

I am proud to represent the 49th District and am grateful that they are sending me back to Richmond again, he said.