Jumping from a School Board position to being the Republican candidate for the 36th Virginia state Senate District, Christian N. Braunlich won a substantial victory over Daniel Berrios last Saturday in the Republican primary.
From his School Board seat for Lee District, Braunlich has experienced the school budget woes but does not feel increased taxes are going to weather public scrutiny. He looked at the failed tax referendum last November as an example.
"I think the public's made clear that [increasing taxes] isn't the solution," he said.
When the state mandates certain requirements and then doesn't provide adequate funding, Braunlich sees that as a problem.
"I have some concerns about education," he said. "If they mandate X number of reading teachers, they ought to pay for it."
Despite the stormy weather on Saturday, May 10, and alternate primary schedule, voters came out in numbers that some saw as encouraging. The polls were open from 1-5 p.m. at two locations in the district, which spans part of Fairfax and Prince William counties. At Hayfield Elementary School, the only 36th District polling place in Fairfax County for that primary, poll watchers were optimistic, with 216 voters turned out by 2 p.m. The other location was Christ Chapel in Prince William County. Doug Boulter, Lee District Republican Committee chairman, hoped for more by the end of the day.
"We were hoping optimistically for 500," he said.
The final count was Braunlich with 571 votes to Berrios' 167 votes.
Trent Barton, a Berrios supporter, was at Hayfield along with a majority of Braunlich supporters. Berrios had more support in Prince William, and Barton believes the primary process was skewed by the Fairfax Republican Party.
"We believe they have not shown good faith in the process," he said.
In the November election, Braunlich is challenging Sen. Linda "Toddy" Puller, a Democrat who has been in the political arena in that area for years, first as a state delegate.
"I have more experience in government than Toddy Puller had," Braunlich said.
Other Republican primary races on that day were in the 37th District, where incumbent Ken Cuccinelli won over Jim McIntyre, 388 to 106; in the 35th House of Delegates District, where Robert McDowell beat Michael Polychrones 596 to 476; and the supervisor race in Dranesville, where Joan DuBois beat Bob McConahy, 455 to 203. On June 10 in Springfield, Supervisor Elaine McConnell is running in a Republican primary against challengers Stan Reid and Linda Clary.