Early voting for the 2023 Democratic primary begins today (Friday) in Fairfax County with a number of notable races on the ballot.
Three locations in the county will open this morning for early in-person voting on weekdays through June 17.
Those include the Fairfax County Government Center from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. as well as the Mount Vernon Government Center and North County Governmental Center, both open from 1-7 p.m.
Voting will also be available on two Saturdays — June 10 and 17 — from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at all three locations.
Starting June 10, 12 government centers and libraries will be open for in-person voting from 1-7 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on those two Saturdays (June 10 and 17) as well:
- Burke Centre Library (5935 Freds Oak Road)
- Centreville Regional Library (14200 St. Germain Drive)
- Franconia Governmental Center (6121 Franconia Road)
- Great Falls Library (9830 Georgetown Pike)
- Herndon-Fortnightly Library (768 Center Street)
- Lorton Community Center (9520 Richmond Highway)
- Mason Governmental Center (6507 Columbia Pike)
- McLean Governmental Center (1437 Balls Hill Road)
- Providence Community Center (3001 Vaden Drive)
- Sully Governmental Center (4900 Stonecroft Blvd)
- Thomas Jefferson Library (7415 Arlington Blvd)
- Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library (7584 Leesburg Pike)
- West Springfield Governmental Center (6140 Rolling Road)
There are also ballot dropboxes at the Fairfax County Governmental Center for those who requested an absentee ballot by mail. One box is inside the complex, and one is outside near the handicapped parking spaces.
Curbside voting will be available for residents who are 65 and older or have a physical disability.
Perhaps the most hotly contested race on the primary ballot is for Fairfax County commonwealth’s attorney, with incumbent Steve Descano facing a challenge from prosecutor-turned-defense attorney Ed Nuttall.
In a recent radio talk, Descano accused Nuttall of associating with “MAGA, antisemitic conspiracy theorists,” while Nuttall retorted by calling Descano a “liar” and “incompetent.”
While both are running as Democrats, they have shared differing positions, methods, and visions for the office. No Republican challenger for the seat has emerged.
The Democratic nomination for county sheriff is also up for grabs between incumbent Stacey Kincaid and Herndon High School football coach (and former D.C. police officer) Kelvin Garcia. Kincaid was the county’s first female sheriff when she took office a decade ago. Garcia is positioning himself as a more progressive option.
Elsewhere in local races, all Board of Supervisors seats are up for election in November, but only two incumbents are on the primary ballot: Chairman Jeff McKay, who has been challenged by retired CIA staffer Lisa Downing, and Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck, who is facing off with Maritza Zermeño. Read More
The primary race for Virginia’s 37th Senate District pits an “old-fashioned” incumbent against a “progressive” who’s relatively new in Virginia politics.
Facing off for the Democratic nomination are longtime state Sen. Chap Petersen and Fairfax Young Democrats vice president Saddam Azlan Salim. Last week, a second challenger, Erika Yalowitz, dropped out to support Salim.
On the surface, the race is a classic match-up between a veteran lawmaker and a fresh face, but the candidates also have considerable political and policy differences, as evidenced in a recent debate that touched on Virginia as a “right to work” state, healthcare access and reproductive rights for women, and gun laws.
In an interview with FFXnow, Salim said he decided to run because he feels Petersen no longer reflects the political and population demographics in the 37th District, which includes Vienna, Tysons, Merrifield, and the cities of Falls Church and Fairfax.
“When I started talking to community leaders…about what they were looking for in a future senator, they wanted somebody who’s progressive,” Salim told FFXnow, “…when it comes to affordable housing, when it comes to the environment, when it comes to reproductive rights…and they’re not getting that from their current senator.”
Petersen told FFXnow he doesn’t “get caught up in ideology” and instead focuses on improving people’s lives in the community, calling himself “old-fashioned.”
He acknowledges the demographics in the district he currently represents and the new one created by redistricting have changed, becoming more diverse and “more oriented toward an immigrant population.” However, he says residents have the same basic concerns.
“A lot of the sort of older population that had worked at the Department of Defense, worked at the Pentagon has retired or moved. So, that core Republican constituency is diminished,” Petersen said. “I don’t think that necessarily changes the issues, per se. When I go door to door, people talk about property taxes. People talk about frustrations with the school system. [It] doesn’t change the state and local issues.”
One of those issues regionally is affordable housing, both candidates agreed. Salim said an insufficient supply has prevented essential county workers from living in the place they serve.
“Teachers can’t afford to live in this area. Richmond has the ability to work together with localities, to find workforce housing that works for workers that are in the county,” Salim said, charging Petersen with not being vocal enough about the need “to ensure that teachers stay in the area.”
Building new developments and housing around public transportation would help teachers and other workers more easily get where they need to go without relying on a car, Salim noted.
Petersen agrees about the need for more dense and vertical housing around public transportation hubs, but cautions that there isn’t “one great solution.” Read More
(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.
“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.
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
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.
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.
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.