Petersen Secures 37th District

Petersen Secures 37th District

Although two years have passed since Election Day 2001, the outcome hasn't. Del. J. Chapman "Chap" Petersen (D) defeated Republican John H. "Jack" Rust Jr. in the race to represent the 37th District in the House of Delegates.

Although results had yet to come in from the majority of precincts, Rust conceded to Petersen early in the evening. According to unofficial returns from the Virginia State Board of Elections, Petersen received 9,139 votes, or 59.14 percent, while Rust received 6,314 votes, or 40.86 percent. Voter turnout was at 36.69 percent.

"We feel great. We've very excited, and obviously the hometown turned out for me," said Petersen as he was carrying his daughter. "I think my campaign appealed to people across the political spectrum."

The win repeats what had happened two years ago, when Petersen, then a member of the Fairfax City Council, defeated Rust, the 37th District's incumbent. At that election, Petersen had argued that Rust was out of touch with voters in the district.

Petersen's win was no surprise to Democratic supporters, who considered Petersen's continuous grassroots campaigning as key to his re-election.

"I've had my money on Chap," said Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D-Braddock). "I've just been incredibly impressed by the energy he's had."

Although he lost, Rust said he fought hard. He planned to spend the remainder of the evening with his family. They had campaigned with him throughout Election Day at the various precincts.

"I called Chap and told him that the voters had spoken," said Rust. "I wish Chap well."

Rust added that he thought the campaign "had stayed on course with the issues.

"I was very pleased with the race we ran," Rust said.