Alexandrians have returned their all-Democratic state legislative delegation to office in an election where all but two of them ran unopposed.
Delegate Marian Van Landingham (D-45) was the only member of the delegation with a serious challenger. Challenging the incumbent was Republican Robert J. Test.
“My opponent came on very strong in the last few weeks and spent a lot of money,” Van Landingham said. “So, I was a bit concerned because you don’t know what kind of effect those types of mailings and phone calls are going to have. However, we won Fairlington, we won Shirlington and we won our most conservative precinct in Fairfax County. I am very pleased and grateful to all of the volunteers who worked on my campaign and to all of those who have continued to support me over the years. Now, it’s time to go back to work in Richmond.”
Van Landingham received almost 63 percent of the votes and Test received 37 percent of the total votes cast.
In another race many felt was not a race at all, incumbent Senator Richard Saslaw (D-35) got 80.52 percent of the votes against his challenger, Independent candidate Levi Levy who garnered just 17 percent.
“We need to see how we are going to come up with the revenue to keep this state operational,” Saslaw said.
Saslaw reflected on why there were so many candidates running unopposed. Nearly two thirds of all state legislative races had only one candidate.
“As a result of reapportionment, you’ve got very few districts that are competitive,” he said. “Very few people are willing to sacrifice themselves to run for office when they have very little chance of success. There probably will not be much change in the make-up of either the House or the Senate.”
FIRST TIME candidate and now Delegate Adam Ebbin ran unopposed in the 49th District. The incumbent, Karen Darner, did not seek re-election.
“It’s been a very strange five months,” Ebbin said. “I am looking forward to working with my colleagues in support of the governor’s programs on education, transportation and early childhood, in particular, and to learning a lot.”
State Senator Patricia S. “Patsy” Ticer also had no opponent. “I am grateful to my many volunteers and to everyone who voted for me,” she said. “We have a lot of work to do this year and no money to do it with. We are facing another deficit and the governor is going to have to make additional cuts to find up to $1 billion. Hopefully it won’t be quite that bad but we will have to wait and see.
“Any program that we propose is going to have to be something that we can do for very little money. We must find a way to comply with the Chesapeake Bay Act and we have to continue to make up for our neglect of our school facilities. It’s going to be a very difficult year,” she said.
Delegate Brian Moran was also unopposed. “We have a lot of work to do in Richmond," he said, "and we are going to keep looking for ways to work with those from the other party.”
Edward Semonian was re-elected as clerk of the Circuit Court for the fourth time. “I have enjoyed serving Alexandria as the clerk of the Circuit Court for many years and look forward to continuing to serve in that capacity for many more years,” Semonian said. “Thanks to everyone who voted for me.”
VOTER TURNOUT was lower than in 1999, when 23.2 percent of registered voters voted. Tuesday, 13,201 people, or 18.8 percent of registered voters came out to cast their vote.
“This is in the range of what one would expect from an election of this type where you really had only one potentially competitive race,” said Tom Parkins, the voter registrar for Alexandria.
The next election will be the Democratic presidential primary on Feb. 10, 2004.