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A Fairfax County Office of Elections ballot drop box from 2021 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 9:10 p.m.) In Fairfax County, the battle for control of Congress starts tomorrow (Friday).

The county will open three early voting sites and start mailing out absentee ballots for the Nov. 8 general election, which will decide three seats in the House of Representatives as well as the Town of Herndon’s leadership.

Turnout is tough to predict, but early voting and voting by mail “seem to be growing in popularity” after Virginia made both options available to all in 2020, Fairfax County Office of Elections spokesperson Brian Worthy says.

Nearly 70% of registered voters participated in the last midterm elections in 2018, but no individual House race saw a turnout over 37%, according to Worthy. Last November’s election, which anointed Glenn Youngkin as Virginia’s governor, drew a 60.2% turnout.

“Because the Office of Elections always prepare for high turnout, they will be ready to manage turnout greater than the recent gubernatorial election,” Worthy said.

He says the county has filled all of the 2,300 election officer positions needed for Nov. 8, but there is always a demand for bilingual poll workers, especially people who speak both Korean and English.

What’s New This Year

Voters may see different candidates than they anticipate on their ballot, thanks to last year’s redistricting process, which altered federal and state electoral boundaries in Virginia.

Polling sites will stay the same for 96% of voters in the county, but everyone should double check their district through the Virginia Department of Elections before voting in person, Worthy says. There have also been a few precinct changes unrelated to redistricting.

To limit confusion, the county elections office sent every voter a mailer with information about their legislative districts and polling place earlier this year.

“The office will be mailing voters a sample ballot with this same information, and the state is also sending a redistricting mailing to voters,” Worthy said.

In addition, Virginia will now let new voters register and cast a ballot up to and on Election Day. The General Assembly approved the change in 2020, but the law won’t take effect until Oct. 1.

While the new flexibility will be welcome for anyone who misses the Oct. 17 deadline, election officials don’t recommend waiting until the last minute to register. Voters who register Oct. 18 or later will get provisional ballots to allow “additional time to verify” their paperwork, according to WTOP.

Provisional ballots aren’t reviewed until after Election Day, and the state electoral board determines whether each of them can be counted.

“Because same day registration is a new law, the Office of Elections is uncertain of the impact, but they are prepared to manage a large number of same day registrants at early voting sites and polling places on Election Day, as well as to process these registrations,” Worthy said. Read More

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Karina Lipsman, the Republican nominee for the 8th Congressional District, holds a campaign sign (via Fairfax County Republican Committee/Facebook)

Local Republicans nominated Karina Lipsman on Saturday (May 21) to seek the U.S. House seat currently held by Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.).

Early voting is underway for the June 21 Democratic primary to determine whether Lipsman faces Beyer or challenger Victoria Virasingh in the November general election. Portions of Fairfax County in the new 8th District include McLean, Bailey’s Crossroads, Annandale, and the Route 1 corridor.

At the local GOP’s ranked choice convention, Lipsman earned 61.5% of the votes in the first round of vote counting, according to a press release on her campaign website.

Lipsman came out ahead of four other Republican hopefuls, as the slate of candidates sought to catch the wave that elected Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

Alexandria resident Kezia Tunnell received 19.12% of the vote, and the party’s 2020 nominee Jeff Jordan received 15.92%. McLean resident Monica Carpio and Heerak Christian Kim, a registered nurse and former public school teacher, did not break 2.5%, the release stated.

The 8th District seat has been held by a Democrat for decades. Beyer was first elected in 2014, when he won a crowded primary to succeed former Congressman Jim Moran.

An Arlington resident, Lipsman fled Ukraine when it was still under Soviet Union control and came to the United States with her mother and grandparents, according to her campaign website. They didn’t speak English, survived on food stamps and lived in low-income housing in Baltimore. When she was 18, Lipsman became a U.S. citizen.

She received a bachelor’s degree in economics while she was working full-time in the financial industry, and later earned a master’s in engineering from Johns Hopkins, according to the website. She’s worked in the national defense industry for over a decade.

Her website outlines priorities like supporting law enforcement, opposing tax increases, stopping illegal immigration and her stance against abortion.

She says she supports school choice and community colleges, technical schools, and vocational training programs.

“We must fight the dangerous voices that call for lowering educational standards in the name of equity,” she wrote.

The Fairfax County Democratic Committee has not publicly commented on Lipsman’s nomination, but Arlington Democrats posted to Twitter calling her an “extreme right candidate,” linking to a recording of her allegedly saying “Fauci should be jailed” at a candidate forum.

Lipsman’s website says she will “advocate for common-sense policies that fight crime, reduce inflation, ease transportation and improve our educational standards.”

“Let’s be honest — there are loud extremists on both sides, who benefit from dividing our country, and we cannot let that happen,” Lipsman’s website reads. “Divisive politics are poisonous and we must work together to overcome the gridlock on the critical issues that are facing our country.”

Photo via Fairfax County Republican Committee

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Jim Myles (via Jim Myles for Congress)

Republicans have chosen a former U.S. judge to take on incumbent Rep. Gerry Connolly for Virginia’s 11th Congressional District this fall.

Jim Myles received the party’s nomination on Saturday (May 7) following a four-round canvass that started with five candidates. He won with 959 votes: 59% of the vote.

“I’ve certainly reached out individually to each of the other candidates to thank them,” Myles said. “I was very fortunate to win, and I certainly respected all of them.”

Myles, 62, thanked his family, friends, and supporters, noting that people stood in the rain with signs during the canvass.

Energized by Glenn Youngkin’s gubernatorial win in November, Myles decided to seek office after retiring as a federal judge in December after three decades in the public sector. Friends and neighbors encouraged him to pursue the seat.

“Jim Myles has spent his entire life in public service, from defending the nation in the Air Force to adjudicating cases as an administrative law judge,” Mike Ginsberg, the GOP’s 11th District Committee chairman, said in a statement. “Now he is stepping up to serve again at a critical time in our nation’s and district’s history.

Ginsberg said Myles is uniquely positioned to speak to key issues at a time of rising inflation and economic insecurity.

“As a parent of a Fairfax County Public School student, he understands the need for quality schools focusing on education, not ideological indoctrination,” Ginsberg said.

Myles said his top concerns include inflation, crime and prosecutorial policies that he views as overly lenient, energy independence, drugs and immigration.

“I think there’s just a fear that the radical left has kind of taken over,” he said. “I think a lot of people are really scared about inflation, crime, the border, our schools. Everything is just getting really difficult.”

He said Congress should hold hearings on remote learning during the pandemic to determine how isolation and face mask requirements affected students.

“The effect was just very devastating for children,” he said. “We could conduct hearings on that and examine exactly what happened to make sure that doesn’t happen again — because students suffered.”

Myles’s past public-sector experience includes working at the Social Security Administration for roughly 20 years and as a U.S. judge for over a decade.

He also had a fellowship in 2009, working as a Republican staffer on the House Ways and Means’ Social Security subcommittee. Myles said the experience helped him show just how difficult it is to enact legislation.

His opponent, incumbent Gerry Connolly, has represented the 11th District in Congress for 13 years and chairs the government operations subcommittee for the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Connolly had $3.7 million in cash as of the last quarterly filing.

Myles’s campaign had nearly $12,000 as of mid-April, mostly consisting of donations he made. He said the GOP is now unified and has already seen an outpouring of support.

Photo via Jim Myles for Congress/Facebook

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Rep. Don Beyer (left) faces challenger Victoria Virasingh in the Democratic primary (via Office of Rep. Don Beyer, Victoria Virasingh/Facebook)

(Updated at 11:20 a.m. on 5/6/2022) Fairfax County will kick off early voting for the June 21 Democratic primary tomorrow (Friday), but with only one race on the ballot, turnout will likely be muted.

Incumbent Don Beyer faces political newcomer Victoria Virasingh in the 8th Congressional District. It will be the county’s first primary under new district maps drawn and approved by the Virginia Supreme Court last December.

The new 8th district covers eastern Fairfax County from McLean to Mason Neck, including Falls Church, Bailey’s Crossroads, Annandale, Rose Hill, and much of the Mount Vernon magisterial district. It also represents Arlington County and the City of Alexandria.

“Let’s get out there and vote to shape a future that works for all of us,” Virasingh said yesterday (Wednesday) on Twitter.

In-person early voting will initially be limited to the Fairfax County Government Center, but additional sites will open on June 11 at the Franconia, Mason, McLean, and Mount Vernon governmental centers as well as Thomas Jefferson Library.

Absentee ballots, which are available to all registered voters in the district, will start arriving in the mail after Friday, according to the Fairfax County Office of Elections.

Early voting ends June 18.

The Republican Party will select its nominees for the 8th district at a convention on May 21. There are five candidates in the running: Monica Carpio, Jeff Jordan, Heerak Christian Kim, Karina Lipsman, and Kezia Tunnell.

Along with the Democratic and Republican nominees, independent Teddy Fikre is vying for the Democrats’ 8th district seat in the November general election.

Meanwhile, Republicans will hold a canvass tomorrow (Saturday) in Fair Lakes to determine the party’s nominee to challenge Rep. Gerry Connolly for the 11th district, which spans Great Falls to Lorton and includes Fairfax, Herndon, Merrifield, Reston, Tysons, and Vienna. Candidates include Manga Anantatmula, Joseph Babb, Barbara Banks, Matthew Chappell and James Myles.

Rep. Don Beyer

The former lieutenant governor of Virginia is seeking to land his fifth term in Congress.

“This year I worked harder than ever to help my constituents, opening thousands of constituent cases with federal agencies on behalf of Northern Virginians and returning millions of dollars to VA-8 taxpayers,” Beyer said in a January statement when announcing his reelection campaign.

He highlighted his involvement with COVID-19 relief legislation, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and a House bill to incentivize hate crime reporting that was signed into law in March.

“We have much more work to do in the year ahead and beyond, starting with comprehensive action on climate in the Build Back Better Act, which I helped draft as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee,” he said in the statement.

Victoria Virasingh

According to a statement from her campaign, top priorities for Virasingh, who announced her campaign in July, include:

  • Raising the federal minimum wage to $18
  • Advancing women’s issues such as robust reproductive healthcare, affordable childcare and equitable pay
  • Tackling data privacy and protection
  • Providing federal tax credits to build homes in underserved communities, increasing support for the low-income housing tax credit, and addressing restrictive land use and zoning policies
  • Expanding access to affordable healthcare by passing Medicare for All

She’s emphasizing outreach to communities that have historically been left out of the political process as well as her volunteer work, which includes serving as outreach vice chair for the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

The Arlingtonian is seeking to try new ways to address enduring problems and notes her passion for climate action, voting rights protection and campaign finance reform.

Photo via Victoria Virasingh/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Cranes loom behind Wiehle-Reston East Metro station plaza (photo by Marjorie Copson)

Autopsies in Fairfax County Murders Still Pending — “Autopsies have been unable to determine how three victims of suspected ‘shopping cart killer’ Anthony Eugene Robinson died…Robinson is suspected of killing at least four people whose remains were found in Alexandria and Harrisonburg, Virginia, as well as the District.” [WTOP]

Spring Farm Day Canceled at Frying Pan — This year’s Spring Farm Day at Frying Pan Farm Park on Saturday (May 7) has been canceled due to rainy weather in the forecast. Anyone who registered in advance should receive an email with more information. [Fairfax County Park Authority/Twitter]

The Boro Restaurants Aim for July Openings — Despite a broker site plan that lists June 1 opening dates, the restaurants El Bebe, Circa, and Caliburger aren’t expected to be ready until mid-July, a spokesperson for the Tysons development recently told FFXnow. The Boro will, however, bring back its simultaneous chess tournament on May 21. [The Boro, Tysons Today]

Congress Members Urge Action on Ghaisar Case — “Seven members of Congress, including six from the D.C. area, are asking the Justice Department to revisit the case of Bijan Ghaisar, the Virginia motorist who was shot and killed by the U.S. Park Police in 2017.” [WTOP]

Herndon Police Find ATM Skimming Device — “Subjects will install a panel containing a pin-hole camera that records you entering your PIN number while another device reads your card number. Please be diligent when using ATM machines. Always use a hand to cover the pad when entering your PIN number; and if you notice a camera…please contact #HerndonPD immediately” [Herndon Police Department/Facebook]

Maximus Leaves Reston Station for Tysons — “The $4.5 billion federal contractor that specializes in the administration of government programs like Medicaid, Medicare, federal student loans and veterans services said Tuesday it formally made the move to Lerner Enterprises’ 1600 Tysons Blvd. The company said the new space is 90,000 square feet across five floors.” [Washington Business Journal]

Back Away From the Fawn, Police Say — “It is common for people to encounter white-tailed deer fawns motionless and without their mother, then mistakenly assume it is orphaned or abandoned. In almost all cases, fawns are only temporarily left by their mothers for protection and just need to be left alone.” [FCPD]

Great Falls ArtFest Returns This Weekend — “Great Falls Studios will hold its annual Spring ArtFest May 7 and 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at four locations in Great Falls. Venues will include The Grange and Old Schoolhouse at 9818 Georgetown Pike, plus three art studios in the Village Center.” [Sun Gazette]

Tennis Court Repairs Restart Next Month — Contractor ATC will resume resurfacing tennis and pickleball courts at Linway Terrace in McLean and Wakefield Park in Annandale in early June. Work at both sites began in the fall but was suspended due to unfavorable weather conditions. [FCPA]

It’s Thursday — Possible light rain overnight. High of 66 and low of 55. Sunrise at 6:07 am and sunset at 8:06 pm. [Weather.gov]

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A federal budget plan approved by the U.S. House includes funding for more Fairfax County Capital Bikeshare stations (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A federal budget plan passed by the U.S. House yesterday (Wednesday) would send more than $8.3 million to Fairfax County, Virginia’s senators report.

Designated H.R. 2471, the $1.5 trillion spending package funds the federal government for fiscal year 2022, which began on Oct. 1, 2021, and ends on Sept. 30. It also includes $13.6 billion in aid to support Ukraine during Russia’s invasion and releases funding for the $1 trillion infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden signed into law in November.

The House approved the package with two separate votes of 361 to 69 and 260 to 171 after removing a portion that would’ve provided $15.6 billion for COVID-19 response efforts, including vaccines and testing — measures that would’ve faced an uphill battle in the Senate, which will now take up the budget.

“We are pleased to see the House of Representatives vote to pass a full-year spending package, which will prevent a costly shutdown and provide key federal funding for some of Virginia’s top priorities,” Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner said in a joint statement.

According to the senators, the package contains more than $85 million in earmarks for Virginia, including the following allocations for Fairfax County, per Warner’s office:

  • $2 million for the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board’s Merrifield Crisis Response Center, which provides mental health, substance use, and developmental disability services
  • $1.7 million to develop Fair Ridge at West Ox, a affordable housing community that the nonprofit Cornerstones Housing has proposed building near Fair Oaks Mall
  • $1.03 million to boost the county’s First Time Homebuyers Program, which helps low and moderate-income families purchase affordable housing
  • $1 million to purchase equipment and expand Capital Bikeshare facilities for underserved areas
  • $742,000 to support a diversion program for adults who have gone through the criminal justice system
  • $400,000 to help the county launch a new skills development center that would assist minority and low-income residents disproportionately affected by the pandemic with job training and finding employment
  • $1.5 million for the Residences at Government Center II, a planned affordable housing development with up to 275 units

According to Rep. Gerry Connolly’s office, the $2 million for the Merrifield Center would be used to redesign the facility with security enhancements and additional capacity to support an expanding array of services, including the county’s Diversion First efforts.

“This redesign is necessary due to significant programming changes since the opening of the building,” the release says.

The spending package also includes $1 million for the Fairfax County Health Department to develop a “Stable Families, Thriving Futures” program focused on “improving the immediate and long-term educational, employment, and health outcomes of pregnant and parenting teens and non-parenting young adults ages 15 to 25 in Fairfax County’s underserved communities of color.”

If the Senate adopts the budget as is, George Mason University will receive nearly $2 million to establish Virginia Climate Center in partnership with the county, Fairfax City, and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission.

Another $1.15 million has been allocated to GMU for a learning laboratory where students will design and implement projects aimed at improving social and population health:

The centerpiece will be the launch of a Summer Immersion Institute (SII) for 96 students. The SII curriculum will focus on building students’ capacity to address social health for communities and ensure access to care for marginalized communities in Fairfax County, especially for communities who have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These projects reflect the shared priorities of local leaders, and I am greatly looking forward to seeing these dollars in action for the people of Northern Virginia,” Connolly said. “This funding will be put toward critical efforts to bolster Northern Virginia’s response to climate change, expand affordable housing initiatives, invest in workforce development and training, and more.”

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Matthew Chappell, a Republican candidate for Virginia’s 11th Congressional District seat, and his family (courtesy Matthew Chappell for Congress)

The field of contenders for the 11th District Congressional race is widening.

Republican Matthew Chappell has thrown his hat into the ring, giving the GOP its first primary with multiple candidates since Democratic incumbent Rep. Gerry Connolly took office in 2009.

Father of three children with wife Jacqueline, Chappell is a U.S. Army veteran who worked in counterintelligence and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has also worked as a police officer and a national security advisor with the Department of Defense.

Chappell says he decided to run for Congress after the U.S. pulled troops out of Afghanistan in August. While he conceded that the withdrawal likely couldn’t have been handled better under a different president, Chappell feels that Afghans and American soldiers were left behind and promises made had been broken.

“I have Afghan people messaging me daily on WhatsApp and my email. They’re interpreters and people who helped run infrastructure on our bases and they’re terrified for their lives,” Chappell said. “They expected something from us and we didn’t deliver. It hurt me and I’ve lost friends there.”

After his eight-year tenure in the Army, Chappell spent three years as a police officer in Georgia. His interest in the profession came in part from his stepfather, who was a police officer and instilled in him a dedication to helping others and commitment to public service.

Rather than let the job’s challenges wear him down, Chappell focused on the benefits of being a policeman, such as interacting with the community. It also enabled him to address issues like domestic violence, which he and his mother experienced when he was young.

That experience also inspired Chappell’s support for the right to bear firearms.

Chappell says he has no hesitation about calling out bad cops that target minorities and make racist comments.

“I saw a lot of police officers who care and did what they could to help people and I met officers who should have never been allowed to wear the badge,” he said. “I’ve worked with people who weren’t doing it for the right reasons, and I’ve stood at the forefront of calling these people out.”

Chappell is also concerned about the mental health of veterans and improving health care at the Veterans Association. He says he has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and has had friends die by suicide due to PTSD.

Chappell joins Democrat Ally Dalsimer in seeking to unseat Connolly. Dalsimer similarly criticized the incumbent’s record on war and claimed he has neglected constituents, especially the LGBTQ community.

“He doesn’t listen to people,” Chappell argues. “We have a very large LGBT community here in [Northern Virginia] and he doesn’t do anything for them. I’m one of the few, especially on the Republican side, that want to help that group.”

Chappell added that he opposes letting transgender people participate in single-sex sports teams but supports their right to transition.

Chappell’s views on other issues, such as abortion and education, can be found on his website.

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Ally Dalsimer is running against Rep. Gerry Connolly for Virginia’s 11th Congressional District seat (courtesy Ally Dalsimer for Congress)

Fairfax County voters will have at least one primary on their hands in this year’s midterm elections.

Ally Dalsimer, an environmental advocate whose experience includes work under the Obama administration, is campaigning against Rep. Gerry Connolly for Virginia’s 11th District seat, which represents most of Fairfax and Prince William counties.

Dalsimer kicked off her candidacy in June but is now ramping up her campaign, with a virtual meet-and-greet on Sunday (Feb. 6), where she hopes to be able to talk to the public and listen to their concerns.

“I would just like the chance to talk to the people, tell them my thoughts and what I can do for them. And I want to hear back from them, questions, comments, the issues they’re concerned about,” Dalsimer told FFXnow.

Set for June 21, this will be the second Democratic primary that Connolly has faced since first assuming his current office in 2009. He previously defeated challenger Zainab Mohsini in 2020.

Dalsimer believes her professional and personal experiences have prepared her to serve in Congress as someone willing to reach across the aisle.

The daughter of a Scottish immigrant mother and a father in the U.S. Foreign Service, Dalsimer and her family spent time living in Central and West Africa before moving to Northern Virginia when she was 8.

She credits those experiences abroad with teaching her the value of respecting other’s differences and embracing other cultures, a message that she hopes to carry through efforts like her campaign sharing resources for the Afghan refugees.

“At the end of the day, in spite of the small differences between us, we’re all just people,” Dalsimer said.

Dalsimer’s career in environmental preservation began at a nonprofit foundation after she graduated from Georgetown University with a master’s degree in public policy, environmental law, and economics.

From there, she went on to manage the Department of Defense’s Natural Resources Program, co-found several national conservation initiatives, and implement policy changes for natural resources while serving on the White House Climate Council under President Barack Obama.

In addition to the environment, Dalsimer is passionate about health care, particularly after losing her husband to cancer in 2015, mere days before his 52nd birthday.

While her husband had health insurance, Dalsimer is aware that there are others who aren’t as lucky, especially after the historic job losses triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. She supports the single-payer, universal health care system touted by progressives like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“I don’t think anyone should be left without any way to get medical help just because they lost their job,” said Dalsimer.

Dalsimer also cites war as a subject she wants to tackle if elected. Her legislative goals include a law that would prohibit corporations from profiting from the sale of weapons and equipment meant for war.

“It’s one thing to sell an airplane for the purposes of travel and profit from the sale, that’s fine. That’s the free market,” Dalsimer said. “But to sell a plane meant for war and to gain a profit from it is just wrong in my view.”

Dalsimer says her interest in running for Congress grew out of the tumultuous events of 2020, including the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests in response to George Floyd’s murder, as well as the Trump administration’s actions on the environment, such as the dissolution of the White House Climate Council.

After watching “Knock Down The House,” a 2019 documentary that followed four women running for Congress, Dalsimer got her son’s support to run for office and spent the next six months asking her neighbors and county residents for their opinion of her potential campaign.

She says the response was positive, especially since those she talked to were less than positive about Connolly.

“He’s against universal health care, and said he’d never vote for it,” she said. “He’s allowed corporations to profit from the sale of weapons of war, and there are those in the LGBTQIA+ community who say he hasn’t done anything for them.”

FFXnow contacted Connolly’s office for comment but did not get a response by press time.

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