June 9 Filing Deadline Looms For F.C. Fall Council Election

Talk about a date that may be sneaking up on people, especially those who plan to run for the City Council or School Board in the City of Falls Church, consider June 9, just two and a half weeks from now.

That Tuesday is when all the filing papers, including required 125 valid petition signatures of City residents, have to be in the hands of the City’s Registrar of Voters at City Hall in order for names to appear on the November ballot this fall.

There are three of the seven positions on the Council and School Board that will be up for grabs this November, and so far only one incumbent for each body has filed with the City registrar to seek re-election.

Councilman Phil Duncan and School Board chair Justin Castillo have posted required materials at the City registrar’s office in City Hall, but there has been no peeps from anyone else, at least so far.

In addition to Duncan’s, terms expire for Council member Nader Baroukh and Mayor David Tarter at the end of this year, and neither has indicated if they will seek re-election, at least not yet.

As for the School Board, while Castillo has filed, there is no word yet from incumbents Susan Kearney or Kieran Sharpe as to their plans to seek another term.

Also, no other citizen that the News-Press is aware of has publicly announced an intention to run for either the Council or School Board.

Duncan, who’s demonstrated considerable clout in his first term on the Council, has faced health issues, publicly announcing he is battling prostate cancer, posted Facebook May 1 an inquiry to citizens about whether he should seek a second four-year term.

Early yesterday morning, Duncan notified the News-Press that he will, indeed, seek re-election. He issued the following statement:

“On May 1, I posted on Facebook that I had started asking voters in The City their views about whether I should seek re-election to City Council. I’ve had a lot of great conversations with folks in the community, including a number who themselves would make fine candidates for Council or School Board. I have been collecting the 125 signatures required to be certified by the City Registrar of Voters as a candidate in the Nov. 3 election, when the Council seat I hold is one of three that will be on the ballot. I hope to be certified well in advance of the June 9 filing deadline, so my candidacy plans will be clear to others who may be considering running.”

Tuesday, June 9 will also be primary election day in Virginia, and the only contested election that will be on the ballot around here will be in the Fairfax County race for Mason District Supervisor where long-time incumbent Penelope “Penny” Gross is facing a primary challenge from community activist Jessica Swanson.

Gross has been running an aggressive campaign to secure a sixth term (she was first elected in 1995) and has gained the endorsement of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. She told the News-Press in an April interview that, “Campaigning can be fun, but governance is hard, involving a lot of serious issues. Experience matters when you have to weigh all sides and make tough decisions,” adding that she is “taking the primary challenge seriously.”

On her website, Swanson, who has never sought public office before now, said, “It’s time for a change. I’ve heard from many neighbors that they want elected officials who engage them, and, most importantly, listen and respond to their needs and concerns.

I am a strong believer that we will see better outcomes in Mason District by gathering ideas and getting input from our diverse groups of citizens. I am committed to improving the way the Mason District Supervisor works with the community.”

Other Democratic primaries in the area include for the 44th Delegate district, where Paul Krizek faces in Justin Brown, the 45th Delegate district, where Craig Fifer, Larry Altenburg, Clarence Tong, Julie Jakopic and Mark Levine are competing, and the Fairfax Mt. Vernon Supervisor district, where Dan Storck, Candice Bennett, Timothy Sargeant and Jack Dobbyn are competing.