It was a good day Tuesday in Prince William County for local Democrats, as one candidate backed by the party took a spot on the county School Board in a special election and an initiative backed by the party in Manassas passed overwhelmingly.
Of course, Prince William Democrats’ biggest coup was helping push the swing, bellwether county toward President Obama, which helped him secure the state of Virginia in his national reelection.
Obama defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney in Prince William by 85,538 to 62,574 votes, or a 15 percent margin, according to state results.
Lillie G. Jessie, a retired school principal and owner of a business that works on educational issues, became the newest member of the county School Board, taking the majority of the vote against four rivals for the Occoquan District in a special election. She had been backed by local Democrats, who had targeted the seat on the sometimes closely-divided board.
Jessie could not be reached Wednesday morning. She has identified the need to improve the school system’s infrastructure and creating a rigorous curriculum and culture as top priorities.
She defeated the Republican-backed member of the School Board Michael E. Wooten, who had been appointed to fill the spot left vacant by retired School Board member Grant Lattin.
Jessie garnered 10,868 votes or 47 percent to Wooten’s 6,953 votes, or 30 percent.
The seat is nonpartisan per state law, but Jessie’s name appeared on Democratic sample ballots and Wooten’s on Republican sample ballots, among other support from the local party establishment.
In Manassas, an initiative to move city elections from May to November backed by the local Democratic Committee in recent weeks passed overwhelmingly, 8767 to 5664, or 61 percent to 39 percent.
Republicans had asked voters to vote “no” on the initiative, saying elections would become more difficult and costly for candidates and could bury local issues under national ones.