Being re-elected for his second term as 39th District senator came as no surprise to Clifton's James K. "Jay" O'Brien.
"I had a pretty good race from start to finish," he said after Tuesday night's victory. "I ran on my past performance and future goals, and it resonated in the district. Now I'm very excited about getting a rest and then having the opportunity to look ahead for four years and continue to serve my constituents."
With 12 years’ experience in the General Assembly — 11 as a delegate and one as a senator — Republican O'Brien easily beat his Democratic challenger, Greg Galligan. "My doubt was not the margins I would have," said O'Brien. "It was [voter] turnout and maintaining my margins throughout the district — especially in the Franconia area, which is much more liberal and Democratic than the rest of the district."
The 39th also stretches through western Fairfax County and into Prince William, and O'Brien said precincts such as Clifton and Newgate (Little Rocky Run) and others that he represented as the 40th District delegate — including Fairfax Station, Silverbrook and Woodyard — "promised to be strong, and they certainly delivered tonight, by margins of 2-1."
Throughout his career as a legislator, O'Brien, 51, has focused on issues he's participated in himself, as a businessman, parent, homeowner and member of the community. A West Point graduate and a colonel in the Army Reserves, he runs an office-furniture business with his wife, Sevea, and is the father of five children.
In seeking another term, he was confident that his values and priorities were the same as his constituents' — and Tuesday's election results bore that out. "It appears the Republican message is pretty strong statewide, as well," he said.
O'Brien now plans to take a couple of days off and will then attend meetings of the Northern Virginia delegation to "try to come to consensus on the issues of tax reform and restructuring, transportation and education in the context of the budget. On Dec. 19, we'll get the governor's two-year budget and will get a good sense of the education funding at that time."
Meanwhile, O'Brien celebrated his victory Tuesday night at Republican Party headquarters and then at Kilroy's in Springfield, where he enjoyed some appetizers with his children. "They don't usually get to stay up so late on a school night," he said. "But once every four years, it's all right."
Most of all, he said, "It'll be a lot of fun [returning to the Senate], and I'm looking forward to it."