In 2019, the main political action (besides early jockeying for the US presidential nomination) is in Virginia, where the state House and Senate are on the ballot as well as many county supervisors. There are also elections in some Maryland municipalities.
Much attention will go to whether the Democrats can retake the Virginia state House, Senate, or both from Republicans, who hold a one-seat majority in each chamber. However, beyond partisan control of the legislature, the primaries may feature candidates with very different views on our issues even within one party. And county board and other local races will select candidates who have major influence over housing, transportation, and other policies.
Our 2019 Elections Committee has been looking into the races most likely to be competitive, important, and involve urbanist issues. Here are the races we're going to watch most closely right now for the 2019 primary:
- Fairfax Chairman: Sharon Bulova is retiring as chief executive of the region's most populous jurisdiction, and three people are vying for the Democratic nomination: Tim Chapman, Ryan McElveen, and Jeff McKay.
- Fairfax Hunter Mill District: In this district containing Reston and Vienna, Laurie Tyler Dodd, Shyamali Hauth, and Parker Messick have all declared their candidacies in the Democratic primary. Incumbent Cathy Hudgins (D) recently announced she will not run again.
- Fairfax Lee District: Supervisor Jeff McKay (D) is vacating the seat to run for Chairman in this district west of Route 1 including Franconia. Larysa Kautz, Rodney Lusk, and James Migliaccio have declared in the Democratic primary.
- Fairfax Providence District: This district includes Merrifield, Oakton, and most of Tysons. Democratic incumbent Linda Smyth is not seeking re-election, and Edythe Kelleher, Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner, Dalia Palchik, and Erika Yalowitz are candidates.
For those unfamiliar with Virginia's magisterial district nomenclature, the commonwealth is one of only two states where some of the districts within counties have names rather than simply numbers. (The other, not surprisingly, is West Virginia, which used to be part of Virginia.) So Fairfax County has the Hunter Mill District instead of, say, District 4. Some counties do use numbers instead.
- Prince William Chairman: The notorious Corey Stewart (R) is not running again for leadership of this rapidly-changing county. Marty Nohe is currently unopposed for the Republican nomination to succeed him, while Deshundra Jefferson and Ann Wheeler are vying for the Democratic nod and Donald Scoggins is in the race as an independent.
- Arlington & Falls Church Commonwealth Attorney: Incumbent Theophani Stamos (D) faces a primary challenge from Parisa Tafti. The Commonwealth Attorney prosecutes crimes committed in those two jurisdictions.
- 49th House district: Delegate Alfonso Lopez (D) faces Julius Spain in the primary. The district stretches from Pentagon City to Seven Corners and Bailey's Crossroads.
- 13th Senate district: Senator Dick Black (R) was barely re-elected in 2015 in this Loudoun and Prince William district and isn't running again. Ron Meyer is likely to get the Republican nod, while at least three people want the Democratic nomination: Delegate John Bell, Jasmine Moawad-Barrientos, and Lucero Wiley.
- 31st Senate district: Barbara Favola, a Democrat, represents this district which includes much of north Arlington and extends along the Potomac through Fairfax and into Loudoun County. Nicole Merlene is mounting a challenge to the two-term senator.
- 35th Senate district: This sideways V-shaped district contains Merrifield, Falls Church, parts of western Alexandria, and Springfield. Dick Saslaw is the Democratic incumbent, and has drawn a challenger in Yasmine Taeb.
- Rockville and Gaithersburg: These two cities in Montgomery County, Maryland have their municipal elections this year. Housing and transportation have often been key issues in the races in past years.
We're also watching these races, which are currently not competitive in the primary, but could become so, or were not yet contested to our knowledge when the Elections Committee first met earlier this month. Some are sure to be hotly contested in the general election.
- Fairfax Braddock District: This district runs along Braddock Road from just inside the Beltway along the south side of the City of Fairfax. James Walkinshaw and Irma Corado are seeking the Democratic nomination and Carey Chet Campbell is running as an independent; incumbent John Cook (R) is not seeking re-election.
- Fairfax Mason District: Long-time member Penelope Gross (D) will face a Republican in the fall, with Gary Aiken the only GOP candidate. There is currently no Democratic challenger to Gross in this mostly inside-the-Beltway district containing Seven Corners and Annandale.
- Fairfax Springfield District: Supervisor Pat Herrity (R) has at least one Democratic challenger, Linda Sperling. This district covers Fairfax Station, Clifton, and some of Burke and West Springfield.
- Arlington County Board: Democratic incumbents Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey have no primary opopnents thus far for re-election; voters will elect two candidates at large in the county this year. Edmond Machie has declared as an independent.
- Arlington School Board: There is currently no challenger to incumbent Reid Goldstein.
- 40th House district: Republican Tim Hugo's bid for re-election may be the most expensive race in the country in 2019 in this district which contains southwestern Fairfax to Manassas battlefield. Dan Helmer, a Democrat who was a candidate in the Democratic primary to challenge Rep. Barbara Comstock (which Jennifer Wexton won), is the only Democrat in the race thus far.
Unlike last year, we're going to try to write more about these races and focus more on informing you instead of doing more formal questionnaires. We'll be working on posts about these races soon.
Do you have any thoughts about these races? Let us know in the comments!
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Corrections: This post has been updated to include the candidacies of Irma Corado and Carey Chet Campbell in the Braddock District, to correct the number of terms Barbara Favola has served in the Senate, and to correct the party affiliation for Donald Scoggins in the Prince William Chairman's race.