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Low Turnout to Help Challenger Vs. Smyth in Tuesday

Facing a slower-growth activist challenge in a Democratic Party primary next Tuesday, Fairfax County’s incumbent Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth scored a key endorsement last week. The Virginia Sierra Club, a powerful advocacy group on behalf of environmental issues, threw its support to her.

The Providence District hugs the boundaries of the City of Falls Church and roams westward, having, roughly, Magarity Road on its north end and Route 50 on its south. It includes prime development areas in Merrifield and some of Tysons Corner. Smyth was first elected supervisor from the district four years ago.

Her challenger, Charlie Hall, boasts the endorsement of the activist Internet-based network called “Raising Kaine.”

Smyth forces are concerned that, while she has raised ten times the campaign funds as Hall, a low voter turnout next Tuesday will favor Hall. With a base rooted in political activism, his constituents are more likely to turn out at the polls.

Hall mobilized a large turnout of his supporters in the Smyth-Hall debate, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, held at the James Lee Community Center on May 22. He’s criticized Smyth’s role in the aggressive development in her district.

There, he called for the county to “move away from a build first, plan later mentality.”

Smyth, on the other hand, has a long list of major endorsements for her re-election, in addition to the Sierra Club, such as the Fairfax League of Conservation Voters, Fairfax County Board Chair Gerry Connolly (who was the Providence District supervisor prior to her), the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, State Senator Mary Margaret Whipple and State Delegates Jim Scott and Bob Hull, all of whose jurisdictions overlap into the Providence District.

She also has the support of the Fairfax County Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics, IADD Local 2068, and the Fairfax County Deputy Sheriff’s Coalition, IUPA Local 5016.

The Sierra Club, in its endorsement statement, hailed “Smyth’s consistent record in supporting environmentally sound policies” and “her promotion of Low Impact Development methods to protect watersheds and her support of the ‘Cool Fairfax’ program in which the county is adopting energy and conservation policies to reduce green house gases.”

All 25 polling locations in the Providence District will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Their addresses can be found at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/eb/pcts/provd/prvidnce.htm. That web site also has a link to a three-page written description of the boundaries of the district.