Fairfax County Republican Committee chairman Anthony Bedell announced Thursday that he will step down when his current term ends next March.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors member Patrick Herrity (R-Springfield) said Bedell’s move was not related to Tuesday’s elections results, when Republicans failed to sweep the Virginia Senate and retained the Braddock District seat on the Board of Supervisors only by a whisker.
“He’s said for some time, he’s leaving. This was going to be his last hurrah,” Herrity said.
Bedell, 43, said Thursday afternoon he had signaled for some time that Tuesday would be his last election after nearly three years of rebuilding the party in Fairfax County.
“I’ll reintroduce myself to my family,” Bedell said.
Bedell said he was proud of the strides his party had made since he took over the chairmanship in 2008, when scarcely a local Republican candidate could be found and President Obama carried Virginia.
Although Bedell sounded resigned to the results of an election that Republicans had hoped would bring sweeping changes, he said he was satisfied that the GOP had hung on to Supervisor John C. Cook’s Braddock District seat, and that several GOP-endorsed candidates had given a spirited battle for the school board in a county that tilts slightly Democratic.
Bedell also said the Democrats also had made the most of Virginia’s decennial redistricting for the state senate this year. For example, Bedell said, in the matchup between the GOP’s Caren Merrick and Arlington County Board of Supervisors member Barbara Favola, Merrick picked up more than half the vote in Fairfax County areas of the redrawn 31st Senate district but gave ground to Favola (D) in strongly Democratic precincts of Arlington.
“I think a lot of our lean-Republican voters stayed home,” Bedell said, adding that it was not unusual for low participation in an off-year race. “There wasn’t an overarching drive that galvanized Repblicans.”
But Bedell also gave credit to the Democrats’ get-out-the-vote work.
“You’ve got to give the Democrats credit. They love going after local offices, and they do it well,” Bedell said.
Bedell said the next GOP chair will have to decide whether to run candidates everywhere in the county, including in areas that strongly favor Democratics — as he advocated — or run fewer candidates in strategic areas.
Asked what he advice he would give to the next chairman, Bedell replied: “Grow thick skin.”