There’s a new sheriff in Loudoun County, and that’s the last time we’ll use that cliche here. Republican Mike Chapman, a former DEA agent, rode the crushing tide of Republican victories in Loudoun to sweep out incumbent Sheriff Steve Simpson, who will end his 16-year reign as sheriff.
Chapman rolled up 54 percent of the 49,000 votes cast, particularly impressive in a race with three candidates, including a four-term incumbent (who won 36 percent) and the biggest spender in the race, former shooting victim and groin photo enthusiast Ron Speakman, who tallied 10 percent.
In Fairfax, a late charge by former sheriff’s lieutenant Bill Cooper was not enough to topple Democrat Stan Barry, who posted a 54-46 victory. Cooper and the Fairfax Republicans mounted an attack on Barry’s entry into the county retirement system in late September, and it simply may not have had the time to create enough unrest or confusion to unseat the three-term incumbent. Or people may just like Barry, who by all accounts has managed the jail and the sheriff’s office well through tough fiscal times.
The Loudoun race was the one true law enforcement contest in NoVa, since the sheriff there is the only elected top cop in our region, and Simpson had angered various groups over the years with his business dealings and his internal policies. But when he dumped the Republican party in 2007 after losing at their convention, and then won the general election, the Republicans went out and signed up a quality candidate, and then backed him to the hilt. That was the group that hurt Simpson the most.
In the only contested prosecutor’s race in NoVa Tuesday, also in Loudoun, Republican Jim Plowman defeated Democrat Jennifer Wexton, 52 to 48 percent, to win a third term as commonwealth’s attorney.