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Democrat Holly Seibold wins special election for 35th District delegate

Democrat Holly Seibold won a special election on Jan. 10 for Virginia’s 35th House District seat (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Holly Seibold is headed to Richmond.

The nonprofit founder and Democratic nominee won a special election yesterday to represent Virginia’s 35th House District, which encompasses Vienna, Oakton, Dunn Loring, Fair Oaks and part of Tysons.

Vying to succeed Mark Keam, who resigned in September after 13 years in the House of Delegates, she defeated Republican contender Monique Baroudi with 67% of the vote, according to the Virginia Department of Elections’ unofficial results.

“I am beyond grateful to the voters of the 35th District for electing me to the Virginia House of Delegates,” Seibold wrote in a statement. “Virginia rejected extremism in 2022, and in 2023, we have rejected it again. Because equality, justice, and freedom are Virginian values!”

Seibold will be sworn in today, as the General Assembly convenes in Richmond for its 2023 session.

Given Keam’s long, mostly unchallenged tenure, it’s not a surprise to see another Democrat prevail in the 35th District, but voters still turned out at a slightly higher rate than in previous special elections in Fairfax County.

According to unofficial returns from the Fairfax County Office of Elections, there were 10,888 ballots cast in the special election, representing 17.9% of the district’s 60,883 registered voters. In comparison, special elections for the 33rd Senate District and the 86th House District in 2019 saw turnout rates of 16.5% and 13.7%, respectively.

Notably, voting laws have changed significantly over the past couple of years, which have seen the introductions of no-excuse absentee voting and same-day registrations, among other reforms.

About half of the votes in the 35th District special election either came through early voting — which began on Nov. 23 and ended Saturday (Jan. 7) — or were mailed in and counted on the night of the election.

Founder and president of the nonprofit BRAWS, which collects and distributes mentrual supplies, Seibold cited reproductive health care, gun violence prevention, public education and climate action as top priorities.

Baroudi, a former government contractor, campaigned primarily on education issues, criticizing Fairfax County Public Schools as a system in decline and saying that private schools handled Covid better.

Seibold outspent Baroudi by a significant margin, reporting $265,000 in campaign spending to her opponent’s $47,513.

Seibold is guaranteed just one year in the House of Delegates. When all 100 seats in the chamber go on the ballot this November, the Vienna area will be represented by a new 12th District created in 2021.

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