Tuesday’s ballot in the City of Falls Church runs the gamut from nationally important U.S. Senate and U.S. Congressional races to hyper-local matters such as the $15.6 million Mt. Daniel Elementary School bond referendum and the special election to fill the unexpired term of the City’s treasurer.
With the usual high turnout expected at the City’s three polling locations over the 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. time span the polls are open, there will always be room for surprises, and candidates and issue supporters at all levels are working overtime as election day approaches.
Special caveats to consider in this election include the new need for voters to bring a photo ID to the polls. The City’s three polling locations are at the Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, 601 S. Oak St., the Oakwood Apartments, 501 N. Roosevelt Blvd., and the Falls Church Community Center, 223 Little Falls St.
Incumbent Democrat Mark Warner is one of the few Democratic Senator incumbents nationwide who appears poised for a relatively easy re-election in this election cycle. His popularity and bipartisanship as governor of Virginia and in his first six-year term as a U.S. Senator appear to be more than Republican challenger Ed Gillespie can surmount.
However, the hyper-negativity of Gillespie’s TV ads in the last week have been aimed at reversing that in the closing days. Warner has countered with a TV ad featuring prominent Republicans denouncing the Gillespie ads for their blatant misrepresentations of the truth. That has included former U.S. Rep. Tom Davis, as reported in last week’s News-Press.
Also on the ballot for U.S. Senate is Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis.
For the U.S. House from the 8th District of Virginia that includes the City of Falls Church, the retirement this year of staunch progressive Rep. Jim Moran has apparently led to the imminent election of a worthy successor, the Hon. Donald Beyer, a “favorite son” of Falls Church who served two terms as Virginia’s lieutenant governor in the 1990s and as an Obama appointee as ambassador to Switzerland during Obama’s first term.
Beyer has encountered little serious resistance either in the seven-man Democratic primary field in June or in the current general election campaign. This has not stopped Beyer from campaigning relentlessly, however, making deep inroads with his constituents-to-be and learning a lot about what’s on people’s minds.
Opposing Beyer on the ballot Tuesday are Republican Micah Edmond, Libertarian Jeffrey Carson, Independent Green Gerald Blais III and independent Gwendolyn Beck.
The Mt. Daniel Elementary bond referendum is for City voters, only, and a late-blooming advocacy campaign has drawn a lot of institutional support for the $15.6 million measure. Not the least benefactor has been the report that the entire project could be funded by cash proceeds from the sale of the City’s water system to Fairfax County earlier this year, combined with $4.2 million in proffers from three developers of large scale mixed use projects in the City (see story, elsewhere this edition).
The Falls Church Educational Foundation is the latest organization to go on record in support of the passage of the referendum, as all three City PTA organizations have weighed in, as well.
In the special election to fill the unexpired term of retired City treasurer Cathy Kaye, Kaye’s senior deputy appointed by her to the job pending Tuesday’s election, Jody Acosta, has found herself confronted by a late challenge from independent Chris Johnson.
Johnson has spent his own money for yard signs, hand literature and a robo-call effort in recent days. Touting a long list of qualifications, including a Harvard MBA, Johnson missed the deadline for filing an financial report with the City registrar of voters Monday, and when he filed it a day late it was beset with apparent errors. In a letter from F.C. General Registrar David Bjerke to Johnson, it is stated, “Many of the calculations of amounts of receipts and disbursements appear wrong.”
While Johnson lists no local involvements in his bio apart from his daughter’s attendance at Henderson Middle School, Acosta touts her eight years of experience as the chief deputy treasurer under Kaye and a list of achievements in local politics and civic service in her 23 years living here. Endorsed by the Falls Church City Democratic Committee, she served on the Women’s Commission, the Elementary PTA, Citizens for a Better City, the F.C. League of Women Voters and the F.C. Chamber of Commerce.
Finally, on the ballot Tuesday is a proposed Virginia constitutional amendment to provide exemptions from property taxes for surviving spouses of any member of the U.S. armed forces who has been killed in action.
Beyer, in a phone interview with the News-Press this week, said he’s been energized and enjoyed his campaign, noting that it has lacked any negativity either in the primary or general election process.
He hosted a series of issues-oriented events on subjects ranging from the economy to the environments, education, veterans affairs, health care, poverty, women’s health and immigration.
“I am very fortunate to be running in district with a very educated, sophisticated and thoughtful electorate,” he said. He said he has been surprised to learn the stresses on the Northern Virginia economy, with the impact of the federal sequester. “I’m finding a lot of small government contractors who haven’t had a contract in two years,” he said.