It was a good night for Fairfax County Democrats, and Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (D) got to enjoy it a little longer than everyone else. Hudgins' reelection to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Tuesday night was one of the first positive results in a night of full of good news for local Democrats.
Hudgins, the first-term Democrat, convincingly beat fellow Reston resident Doug Bushée, a Reston Association board member and first-time campaigner.
"What a confirmation this is," Hudgins told a cheering ballroom at the Fairfax County Democratic headquarters. "Four years ago, they said I couldn't beat an incumbent. ... Tonight, we showed them that we can get things done for the people of Hunter Mill."
With 84 percent of the precincts reporting, Hudgins received 12,591 votes, or 60 percent, while Bushée received 7,349 votes, or 35 percent.
According to early returns, Hudgins said she was leading by a roughly 2 to 1 count in Reston, her home base. In addition, the supervisor was happy to report that she had won some Vienna precincts which she didn't carry during the last election. "That means a lot," Hudgins said. "We worked hard to make sure the town of Vienna really feels a part of Fairfax County."
On Monday, Jan Reeves, the Fairfax County Democratic chairman, anticipated Hudgins victory, referring to Bushée as "token opposition."
"I don't sense that Cathy Hudgins has any problem," said Del. Ken Plum on the Monday before the election. "I don't get the sense that her opponent's campaign ever got off the ground."
It didn't take long for Plum and Reeve's optimistic projections to be found true. Bushée was one of the first Republicans to concede in a night that was marked by several expected and unexpected GOP concessions. "It was a really gratifying night," Hudgins said. "I can't believe it came in so early. That really made my night easy, now I can sit back and enjoy."
Like many Fairfax County Republicans in 2003, Bushée was left to wonder "what if." He acknowledged that he had difficulty establishing name recognition and in the first few months of the campaign, he said he found it hard to generate interest in the campaign. "I am sorry we didn't deliver," he said. "I just I wish we'd had the momentum in the beginning that we saw in the last few weeks."
For now, Bushée can set his sights on another adventure. "I am taking my wife on a very long and very well deserved vacation."