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Smyth Wins, Connolly Upbeat About Fall Races Statewide

Fairfax County Supervisor Linda Smyth withstood a stiff challenge in a Democratic primary Tuesday to virtually ensure an election to a second term representing the Providence District. Smyth defeated Charles Hall with 54% of the vote Tuesday and no one has yet filed to contest her in the November general election.

Fearful that a low voter turnout could tip the balance in favor of the energized voter base supporting Hall, Fairfax County Board Chair Gerry Connolly and other key party leaders spearheaded an effort to “get out the vote” for Smyth.

Connolly was ecstatic with the result in comments to the News-Press yesterday. “We got a higher turnout in this race than came out for the U.S. Senate primary a year ago,” he quipped.

He said he considered it a “validation” for the entire Fairfax County Board and “its progressive agenda,” including efforts on affordable housing, transit-oriented development and environmentally-sensitive “cool county” initiatives.

In addition, he said, party supporters in the county were shocked by published reports that Hall met with a powerful leader of the GOP, Rep. Tom Davis, in January when he allegedly sought Davis’ advise on whether to run as a Republican or Democrat.

Connolly also charged Hall, who he said had been “relentlessly biting on the heels” of Smyth for four years, with “blatantly appealing to GOP voters to vote for him in the Democratic primary.” Connolly represented the Providence District, himself, prior to his successful run for the County Chair job four years ago. Smyth had been on his staff.

Tuesday, Smyth carried 21 of 26 precincts in the Providence District, which includes the rapidly-developing Merrifield and Dunn Loring areas.

Connolly said he was pleased by the overall election results in Tuesday both for Fairfax County and the state. “The strongest Democratic candidates prevailed” in each case, he said, adding that the triumph of right-wing Republicans against moderate incumbents down-state may help turn the balance in the state legislature by November.

Of four state delegate and three state senate races coming in Fairfax County in November, Connolly said, “six out of seven are in play” for Democratic victories.

 “Statewide, Democrats need four seats to gain control of the state senate. Three moderate Republicans are retiring, two Republican moderates were defeated in primaries Tuesday, and we have three still challenges in Fairfax County. Tuesday’s GOP primaries essentially but two more GOP-held seats into “the vulnerable column,” he said.