Commentary, Local Commentary

Editor’s Editorial: Abortion Now Front & Center in F.C. Election

Who would have thought that a controversial stance taken by a candidate in the upcoming Democratic primary election not running here would become a focus of perhaps the single most contentious issues voters will face on June 20?

According to reports, Fairfax County commonwealth attorney candidate Ed Nuttall, running to unseat the current progressive Steve Descano, has gone on record stating he will indeed, even as a Democrat, enforce a bill that would imprison people on the basis of their reproductive choices, such as having an abortion. While almost anyone with a good sense, in our view, would reject such an awful course of events, especially in Northern Virginia and the City of Falls Church, it could be argued that this candidate is not on the ballot here, and thus his views should not unduly preoccupy us.

However, in this case, it comes right in the middle of a hotly-contested State Senate primary here, and that’s because one of the candidates, Sen. Chap Petersen, went out of his way in recent weeks to form a bond with said Ed Nuttall. He has taken the trouble to form a triad, an alliance involving him, Nuttall and Fairfax Sheriff candidate Stacy Kincaid, with TV ads paid for by Petersen.

Petersen’s opponent in the June 20 primary is Saddam Salim, the immigrant son of kitchen employees at Falls Church’s renowned Haandi Indian Restaurant .The News-Press has endorsed Salim.

That race is occurring for the first time among City of Falls Church voters, who until the November general election and the subsequent January 2024 swearing in will continue to be represented by State Sen. Dick Saslaw.

Petersen is widely considered among the most conservative Democrats in Richmond, and many consider his most recent “Common Sense” alliance with Nuttall and Kincaid an attempt to attract Republican voters to ask for Democratic ballots in the period leading up to June 20 and on that election day.

Meanwhile, the City of Falls Church is expecting to repeat its oft-achieved rate of highest voter turnouts in Virginia, even if the City’s 14,300 or so residents constitutes but a small portion of the overall 37th District.

But Petersen’s new “alliance” may be more trouble for him than it might be worth if the news of Nuttall’s stance on abortion gains more traction. Petersen’s track record on LGBTQ+ issues has not been the best, to say the least, but now he’s likely to be tarred with a direct assault on something impacting the lives of a majority of his constituents; women.

Indeed, Falls Church voters deserve far better than what Petersen represents, and the June 20 primary may turn out to be a significant testing ground for how the 2024 presidential election might turn out.

In our view, the reproductive rights issue is actually far more important than almost anyone is acknowledging right now. Sadly, too many women are being told to hold back their anger so it sneaks up on the GOP. But that could backfire.