While there’s been a lot of discussion in the media about who’s qualified for next week’s presidential debate, there hasn’t been too much attention devoted to the state and local elections taking place in Virginia this year. And when these elections are discussed, it’s often in the context of how control of both chambers of the General Assembly is up for grabs. It’s therefore overlooked that county level positions are on the ballot too, which is why I was pleased to see a strong turnout for an event celebrating the opening of Supervisor Kathy Smith’s campaign office in Centreville.
Prior to Kathy Smith winning the seat back in 2015, the Sully District had only been represented by Republicans on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Although the western portion of the county (which includes the Sully District) is generally a little more conservative, Fairfax County has become a reliable stronghold for the Democratic Party. A clear indicator of this is how only two members of the Board of Supervisors are Republicans and Tim Hugo is the loan Republican representing portions of Fairfax in the House of Delegates.
With that in mind, the GOP has been focused in on protecting Tim Hugo’s seat and winning the Sully District seats on the Board of Supervisors and the School Board. They’ve even abandoned other positions in hopes of securing these victories. Of the five Delegate districts with precincts in the Sully District, for instance, the Republicans have only fielded a candidate in one race — and that’s Tim Hugo in the 40th. They’re hoping that since the 40th only has nine of Sully’s 29 precincts, the lack of other Delegate campaigns will suppress Democratic turnout and make it easier for right wing conservatives to win county level races.
That’s why it many Democrats are coming to the realization that there needs to be more attention devoted to protecting Kathy Smith’s seat on the Board of Supervisors. As Kathy said at an event opening up her campaign office last night, Democrats can’t fall into the trap of thinking “oh, you’ll be fine” — a sentiment she says she’s heard from loyal Democratic activists several times on the campaign trail.
It’s worth watching her speech (which is posted below) because she hits on what’s at stake in the Supervisor race and highlights how there are some people in the community working to stir up a sentiment of alienating people who might look different then them or come from low income families. Supervisor Smith says she realizes some people won’t vote for her because she’s willing to vote in favor of celebrating Fairfax County’s diversity, but she’s willing to lose some votes if it means standing up for what’s right.