(Updated at 11:30 p.m.) Redistricting is going to make a number of state senate races in Fairfax County very interesting this year.
Just like the House of Delegates, every Virginia State Senate seat is up for election in 2023, and like in the Virginia General Assembly’s other chamber, several primaries may be extremely competitive after the 2021 redistricting process shook up electoral boundaries.
Incumbents that could face off
In the newly-drawn District 35, which covers Annandale, Springfield, and George Mason University, two longtime incumbents could be facing off.
Sen. Dave Marsden had been the senator in District 37 since 2010, but redistricting pushed him and about 31% of his constituents into the new district. He announced his bid for reelection a year ago and has been campaigning ever since, a campaign spokesperson told FFXnow.
“He’s knocked doors in more than half of the precincts of the new SD35, and looks forward to continuing to serve the residents of Fairfax,” the spokesperson said.
Marsden’s potential primary opponent, Sen. Dick Saslaw, has been in the senate since 1999, making him its longest-serving current member. He’s also been the Senate majority leader since the Democrats took control in 2020. While redistricting kept Saslaw in the 35th District, only about one-third of his former constituents remain with him.
There have been persistent rumors that the 82-year-old might retire, but no announcement has been made yet. FFXnow reached out to Saslaw about his 2023 intentions but hasn’t heard back as of publication.
Marsden and Saslaw, if he seeks reelection, would also face newcomer and entrepreneur Heidi Drauschak, who declared her candidacy for the Democratic nomination earlier this month.
The newly-drawn District 38, which includes Herndon, Reston, and McLean, could also pair two Democratic incumbents, including one that also has been rumored to retire.
Sen. Jennifer Boysko first became a senator in 2019 after previously serving in the House of Delegates for two terms. She hasn’t officially announced anything about 2023 and didn’t respond to FFXnow’s request for comment, but said last year that she intends to run again.
However, she may have to run against Sen. Janet Howell in the Democratic primary.
Howell has served in the senate for more than two decades, representing District 32. Her former constituents make up nearly half of the new District 38, but there are also similar rumors about her retiring.
Howell didn’t respond to inquiries from FFXnow.
Boysko told FFXnow when the redistricting maps were announced last January that she holds an enormous amount of respect for Howell, calling her “the dean of the Senate” and a “true pioneer for women in government.”
He told FFXnow that he’s running to break the “blue wall” in the senate, focusing on education policy, public safety, transportation issues and financial mismanagement.
Other potential primary battles
Other primaries that are shaping up to be potentially competitive include District 36, which covers Centreville, Chantilly, Clifton, and Fair Oaks.
Stella Pekarsky, who represents the Sully District on Fairfax County’s school board, announced last week that she will challenge for the seat to “stand up” to Governor Glenn Youngkin.
The incumbent is four-term George Barker, though redistricting kept only about 6% of his former constituents in District 36. As a member of the Virginia Redistricting Commission, he came under some fire in 2021 for drawing himself back into a district that, at the time, had no other challengers. Read More
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General Assembly Dumps Football Stadium Bill — “The state legislator who has led the charge to lure the Washington Commanders to Virginia gave up the fight Thursday…State Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said comments that Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio made this week about the Jan. 6 insurrection were the last straw for the stadium bill.” [The Washington Post]
Tysons Financial Company to Expand HQ — “Nodal Exchange, a Fairfax County-based derivatives exchange providing price, credit, and liquidity risk management solutions to participants in the North American commodities markets, will increase capacity at its headquarters located at 1921 Gallows Road in Tysons. The expansion will create 37 new jobs.” [Fairfax County EDA]
I-66 West Ramp to Close — “The ramp from I-66 West to Vienna/Fairfax/GMU Metrorail Station (Country Creek Road and Virginia Center Boulevard) is scheduled to close for about three weeks beginning on or about Monday, June 13, for continued construction of the new westbound I-66 express and general-purpose lanes…Drivers will be detoured around the closure via Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) and I-66 East.” [VDOT]
Flooring Store Opens in Tysons — “Floor & Décor, an Atlanta-based retailer of hard-surface flooring, has…signed a 10-year, 11,327-square-foot lease at the Tysons Corner Retail Plaza, a three-building, 22,000-square-foot retail center, and has already opened for business.” [Commercial Observer]
Vienna Approves Covid Relief Funds for Police Cameras — “The Vienna Town Council on June 6 unanimously approved the spending of $128,600 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to replace and upgrade in-car video systems for Vienna Police Department patrol vehicles.” [Sun Gazette]
Friends of Reston Library Officially Makes Donation — “We love our library branches in Fairfax County, but Reston is especially dedicated to the Reston Regional Library! I was honored to join in the celebration last night (6/9) of the Friends of Reston Regional Library donating $200,000 to the library for its book collection.” [Supervisor Walter Alcorn/Facebook]
FCPS Appoints New Ombudsman — Fairfax County Public Schools has named Dawn Clements as its next ombudsman, effective July 1. Currently the assistant ombudsman for special education, Clements will lead the office responsible for addressing student, family, and community questions and complaints. [FCPS]
It’s Friday — Possible drizzle overnight. High of 77 and low of 60. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:35 pm. [Weather.gov]