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State Sen. Jennifer Boysko has launched a campaign for the 10th District seat in Congress (courtesy Jennifer Boysko for Congress)

State Sen. Jennifer Boysko has joined the race to replace Rep. Jennifer Wexton as Virginia’s 10th Congressional District representative.

Boysko announced her candidacy today (Thursday), just two days after winning reelection as senator for the 38th District, which encompasses Reston, Herndon, McLean and Great Falls. The district includes portions of the former 32nd District represented by State Sen. Janet Howell, who opted not to seek reelection after redistricting paired her with Boysko.

“From the PTA to the state Senate, I’ve always brought people together to find common ground and work towards common sense solutions,” Boysko said in her campaign announcement. “In Washington, I’ll continue to build on the work of Congresswoman Wexton to bring a better future for our kids and make life better for Virginia’s workers and families. This grassroots campaign to fight for what’s right starts right here, right now. I ask for your vote.”

Boysko’s new campaign website highlights access to abortion, gun violence prevention and “economic policies that work for everyone and lift people up” as the issues central to her platform.

Boysko previously served in the House of Delegates, representing the 86th District from 2016 to 2019, when she got elected to the Senate to replace Wexton, who had just been elected to Congress in 2018.

Wexton said on Sept. 18 that she won’t seek reelection next year after getting a rare neurological disorder called Progressive Supra-nuclear Palsy. Initially diagnosed as Parkinson’s disease, the condition affects “body movements, walking and balance, and eye movements” and has no treatment, she said in her announcement.

Boysko’s competition for the 10th Congressional District — which covers Loudoun and Prince William counties — includes former House of Delegates speaker Eileen Filler-Corn and Mike Clancy, a Loudoun County resident, lawyer and business executive, per his campaign site.

Currently representing Fairfax County from Mantua to Burke as the 41st House District delegate, Filler-Corn announced this spring that she wouldn’t seek reelection, a move that prompted speculation of a potential run for governor. She launched her bid for Wexton’s seat on Oct. 18.

Clancy previously sought a Republican nomination for the 10th District in 2022.

With the Congressional election not coming until 2024, Boysko said in a statement to FFXnow that she remains committed to serving in the state legislature for the upcoming session, citing paid family medical leave as one of her top priorities:

I’ve had a lot of my constituents that have called and asked me if I would run for Congress. They believe that I’m the right person for the job, having represented half of Loudoun County over the past five years, having been in this community for 20 years, helping solve problems. I think my constituents want to see me work at a higher level as an asset and an ally  in the Commonwealth of Virginia to make sure we’re getting stuff done.

As for the state Senate, the election’s not until next year, and I look forward to serving in this 2024 General Assembly Session. There’s a lot that I want to get done. Thanks to the hard work of our candidates, we just won the majority in the House and the Senate. I want to get paid family medical leave done at the state level, and I believe that I’ll be able to do that during this session. I’m looking forward to this next year.

Boysko filed a bill during the 2023 General Assembly session that would’ve established a statewide paid family and medical leave program, starting in 2026, but the legislation was left in committee.

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Thomas Jefferson High School students Soham Jain, Rohan Kotla and Samvrit Rao (left to right) developed the app RoutineRemind to help kids with autism (courtesy Samvrit Rao)

An app created by a trio of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology students to help kids with autism may someday be deployed in Fairfax County’s special education classrooms.

Sophomores Soham Jain, Rohan Kotla and Samvrit Rao have already earned recognition from Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-10) for RoutineRemind, an app designed to help parents and kids keep track of their schedules.

RoutineRemind was the 10th District’s winner in the 2022 Congressional App Challenge, Wexton announced on Dec. 22. The annual competition aims to encourage science, technology, engineering and math education by inviting students from across the country to develop and submit their own apps.

The 2022 contest drew over 500 submissions, a new record, according to organizers.

“I was so impressed by not only their remarkable technical skills in designing this winning app, but also their ingenuity and care in developing a way to help kids with autism and their families,” Wexton said in a statement, congratulating the TJ students.

In joint comments to FFXnow, Soham, Rohan and Samvit said they have regularly worked together on school projects and share an interest in “the intersection between computer science and biology.”

Seeing the challenge as an opportunity to put their tech and teamwork skills to the test, the students turned to personal experience when brainstorming ideas for an app.

In a demonstration video, Rohan said he has a younger brother with autism and has always been interested in finding ways to improve the lives of people with autism and other cognitive disabilities.

His brother sometimes struggles to remember his schedule, leading him to frequently ask for reminders. Individuals with autism often find comfort in routine, but many also experience executive functioning challenges, affecting their ability to plan or focus.

“After surveying the special needs community in [our] area, we found that this is a mutual problem across children with autism, since many of them are schedule-oriented,” the students told FFXnow. “Given the prevalence of the problem, we wanted to develop a simple, adaptable, and user-friendly schedule and reminder app to help those with social and cognitive impairments.” Read More

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Voting at Cunningham Park Elementary School in Vienna (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

(Updated, 3:35 p.m.) With most incumbents running away to victory, it appears that Fairfax County’s voter turnout for the general election this year will fall short of the 2018 midterms.

About 53% of registered, active county voters took part in this year’s midterm elections, per Fairfax County election officials. That’s about 16 percentage points off from the midterms four years ago. It’s also lower than last year’s gubernatorial election, which had a 60% turnout.

In total, 391,361 ballots have been counted so far in Fairfax County, election officials said.

Turnout numbers remain unofficial. Ballots put into drop boxes will be counted today, while additional mail ballots can continue to arrive until noon Monday (Nov. 14).

Absentee mail and in-person voting rose this election cycle compared to 2018, with 130,350 residents voting early this year — just under 18% of active, registered voters in the county. That’s about 44,000 more people than in 2018, when 12% of voters made their decisions early.

Last year, 174,641 county residents, or about 24% of voters, cast ballots by mail or early in person.

With Fairfax County staying reliably blue, the lack of competitive Congressional races on the ballot may have contributed to the lower turnout compared to other recent elections. Based on the preliminary results, all but one local incumbent — Herndon Town Councilmember Signe Friedrichs — appears to have held their job.

Don Beyer (D) secured victory in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District with 73% of the vote with most precincts reporting. The district includes about 282,000 residents of Fairfax County, where Beyer secured 69% of the vote — about three percentage points lower than what he got in 2020 and 2018.

The re-elected Congressman tweeted out a statement just before 9 p.m. last night, thanking voters for “again putting their confidence in me.”

In the 11th Congressional District, Gerry Connolly (D) won his eighth term in office with 66% of the vote overall, with all but two precincts reporting.

The 11th District is almost entirely in Fairfax County, covering about 585,000 residents. That includes Lorton, Burke, Fairfax, Chantilly, Vienna, Tysons, Reston, and most of Springfield and Herndon.

Like Beyer, Connolly didn’t fare quite as well this year in Fairfax County as he did in 2020 and 2018, with 66% of the vote compared to over 70% in both of those election cycles.

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A Fairfax County absentee ballot drop box (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Mayor Sheila Olem will get a second term as mayor of the Town of Herndon after securing a narrow win against council members Sean Regan and Jasbinder Singh in today’s primary election.

According to unofficial results, Olem edged out the race by a little over two percentage points over Regan. Singh received the least number of votes: 16%.

The Herndon Town Council race — which included nine candidates running for six open seats — is extremely close, as is typical in the town’s council elections.

Current members Naila Alam, Cesar del Aguila, and Pradip Dhakal retained their seats, while challengers Clark Hedrick, Keven LeBlanc Jr, and Donielle Scherff secured enough votes to beat out Councilmember Signe Friedrichs.

The following is a breakdown of unofficial election returns for the council race:

  • Clark Hedrick: 3,372
  • Pradip Dhakal: 3,334
  • Keven LeBlanc Jr:  3,164
  • Cesar del Aguila: 3,109
  • Naila Alam: 3,084
  • Donielle Scherff: 2,965
  • Stevan Porter: 2,871
  • Roland Taylor: 2,692
  • Signe Friedrichs: 2,685

It’s not unusual for the outcome of town council races to change once official results are tabulated.

In 2020, for example, a data entry error dramatically changed the results of the mayoral election.

In this year’s midterm elections, Democratic incumbents representing portions of Fairfax County once again maintained a stronghold over their seats in the House of Representatives.

Democratic incumbents Don Beyer (D-8) and Gerry Connolly (D-11) clenched a decidedly confident victory over their Republican challengers: Karina Lipsman, Hung Cao and Jim Myles, according to uncertified election results.

But Jennifer Wexton’s (D-10) win over challenger Cao was significantly closer than her Democratic colleagues.

The incumbent had a 6-point-percentage margin, with 90% of precincts reporting, as of 10:20 p.m.

In Fairfax County, she led by a mere 48 votes, according to Fairfax County’s unofficial returns.

Victories for Beyer and Connolly were far less contentious, with Beyer winning over 75% of votes versus Lipsman’s nearly 23% and Connolly winning 68% over Myles’s 31%.

Beyer said that he was grateful for voters’ confidence in his ability to represent them.

“I will continue to do all I can to earn their trust, and to serve my constituents,” he wrote in a statement today.

Fairfax County hit a 45% turnout rate for the midterms, as of 3:50 p.m., but that number does not account for three hours of voting that remained at the time.

Still, the number appears shy of 2018 midterms when 59.5% of registered voters cast a ballot. In 2014, a mere 41.6% of registered voters voted.

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