By Cody Mello-Klein | [email protected]
Greg Parks won Alexandria’s Democratic clerk of court nomination during Tuesday’s primary by 894 votes, according to the Virginia Department of Elections’ unofficial results.
With all 31 precincts reporting, Parks took 4,192 votes – 55.97 percent – while his opponent Ben Ortiz took 3,298 votes – 44.03 percent of the vote.
Parks came into the race with experience working as an attorney at the federal level. He worked as an attorney for the Coast Guard and Department of Transportation, the legislative director of the General Services Administration and, for the past eight years, as chief counsel for the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals. During his campaign, Parks accrued endorsements from several city officials, including the mayor, every member of city council, the sheriff and the commonwealth’s attorney.
Parks emphasized three central ideas throughout his campaign: technological modernization, customer service and access to justice. During his campaign, Parks said he wanted to update the clerk’s office with a publicly accessible e-filing system, to increase the quality of its customer service and to help people of all economic, racial and educational backgrounds gain access to the justice system.
Ortiz, the deputy clerk of court, has spent the last 15 years working in the clerk’s office with current Clerk of Court Ed Semonian, who endorsed Ortiz for the position. Ortiz worked as a courtroom clerk and supervisor for the office’s public service division before becoming deputy clerk in 2009.
At the end of 2019, Semonian will have served as clerk of court for 40 years. He announced earlier this year that he would not seek another term in the office.
With no Republican candidates yet in the running for clerk of court, the Democratic nomination puts Parks in a good position moving into the November general election.
Turnout for Tuesday’s primary election was low relative to previous primaries in the city, according to the Alexandria Office of Voter Registration and Elections.
By 4 p.m., turnout was reported at 4.58 percent without absentee votes and 5.17 percent with absentee votes. By the same time in 2017, turnout for the Democratic primary for governor and lieutenant governor had reached 12.13 percent without absentee votes and 13.62 percent with absentee votes.
A closer point of comparison is the 2013 Democratic primary for lieutenant governor and attorney general. By 4 p.m., turnout was 4.13 percent without absentee votes and 4.53 percent with absentee votes, according to the Office of Voter Registration and Elections. If elected in November, Parks will be sworn into office in January 2020.
(This story has been updated to match the Times’ June 13 page one story)