Friday, May 15, 2009

A Republican Resurgence in Alexandria?

OK, I must take a break from KC Metro/Kansas/Missouri politics to comment on recent developments in Northern Virginia. Since I lived in D.C. for six months while interning for Sen. Brownback, I developed an extensive knowledge of the Capitol region and really love it, despite it's liberal politics--and I still go back to visit whenever I can. I love the entire area, including the District, Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax County in Virginia and and the suburban counties and enclaves in Maryland.

The deepening Democratic trend of politics in Northern Virginia in the the past several election cycles seems to have peaked in 2008 with Obama winning the state of Virginia for the Democrats for the first time since 1964. Yet, the recent off-year elections show Northern Virginia, and particularly, Alexandria, taking on a slight-red hue.

Earlier, we chronicled the special election for Fairfax County Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, where the Republican came within 0.5 percent of winning. We also commented on the Republican takeover of a vacant Board of Supervisors seat held by the Democrat who ran for chairman of the board, which opened up her seat for a special election.

Alexandria, a historic port city that has figured prominently in American history and served as home to many of the nation's founding fathers, remains a premier D.C. bedroom community and a liberal bastion in Virginia. Typically, the vote ceiling for any Republican candidate in local, state, or federal elections in Alexandria is 35 percent, which makes it extremely difficult for any Republican to win the city. Obama captured the city easily with a landslide 72 percent of the vote. The last Republican presidential candidate to win Alexandria was Ronald Reagan in 1980.

When Brian Moran vacated his state legislative seat, based in Alexandria, to run for governor, no one gave Republican Joe Murray a chance, but the Republican rocked the political establishment and gave Democrats a heart attack when he only lost to the Democrat by 16 votes in this heavily-Democratic city.

Well, Alexandria Republicans have more to celebrate. The two candidates the party backed in this month's city council elections both won (Frank Fannon ran as a Republican, but Alicia Hughes, as a federal government employee, could not run with the party label, although she had the party endorsement). For the first time in several years, the Alexandria City Council will have Republican representation, and not just one Republican, but two! The city is not carved into districts, so all candidates ran citywide and the top 6 candidates received spots on the council. Fannon, running as a Republican won with the 3rd highest vote total citywide out of 10 candidates total (mostly Democrats) which makes his win all the more remarkable (maybe Alexandrians are ready for some real change)! Fannon's success ensures that he will remain a Republican to watch. Alicia Hughes, a young African American and federal employee who works for the U.S. Patent Office, ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility and sound budget management--as a young, minority woman Republican, she also represents the future of the party and it is not to early to speculate on higher office for her as well (state assembly? congress?)

All in all, these signs point to a trend, not just an anomaly, and Democrats are on notice--their stranglehold on Alexandria and Northern Virginia is not permanent, nor should it be taken for granted.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Akicia Hughes will get kicked off the council fer sure. Not a legal alexandria res.