MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

In Alexandria, GOP Challengers Shut Out of City Council Race

By Annie Gowen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Voters in Alexandria yesterday chose to keep their City Council in the hands of Democrats while selecting a new school board, including newcomers who were critical of Superintendent Rebecca L. Perry during the spring campaign.

Several of the new board members elected yesterday had criticized the current board's decision to renew Perry's contract after she was arrested in 2004 on drunken driving charges, and some called for a search for a new superintendent to begin immediately. Former City Council member Claire M. Eberwein, Yvonne A. Folkerts and Arthur E. Peabody Jr. will join Sheryl K. Gorsuch, Scott A. Newsham, Eileen Cassidy Rivera, Ronnie M. Campbell, Blanche D. Maness and incumbent Charles H. Wilson on the new board.

Among others going to the polls in Northern Virginia were voters in Falls Church, Fairfax City, Manassas and Manassas Park.

In Manassas, where candidates' campaigns focused heavily on increased taxes and crowded housing, newcomer Andrew L. Harrover, 39, was the top vote-getter for three open seats on the City Council.

In Fairfax City, incumbents faced five competitors in a race where prevailing issues were encroaching development and city spending on open space and other projects. But incumbents -- R. Scott Silverthorne, Gary J. Rasmussen, Jeffrey C. Greenfield, Joan W. Cross, Gail C. Lyon and Patrice M. Winter -- prevailed. The school board will have two new members, Amy M. Craig and Jon A. Buttram.

Falls Church had no challengers for those who ran for council.

In the Alexandria council race, where Republican challengers had hoped to capitalize on anti-tax sentiment, voters in the city of 129,000 reelected an all-Democratic board, including newcomer Timothy B. Lovain, a transportation lobbyist who had served on the city's budget affairs advisory committee.

"I was very pleased with my strong showing," Lovain said. "I think in general there is a high level of satisfaction of quality of life here in the city. There was no reason to throw the Democrats out by any means. It wasn't even close."

Lovain will join sitting council members Vice Mayor Redella S. "Del" Pepper, Ludwig P. Gaines, Rob Krupicka and Paul Smedberg. Top vote-getter Andrew H. Macdonald will be vice mayor. Mayor William D. Euille (D) ran unopposed.

Voters across the region cited rapid growth, rising real estate values and immigration as top issues. In Manassas, all candidates listed crowded housing as a crucial issue.

Voters in Alexandria said rising property taxes and the lingering controversy over Perry's arrest were among their main concerns.

"I don't think the issue of Superintendent Perry is finished. It lingers," said Carol Dodd, 65, a small-business owner, voting yesterday at the Nannie J. Lee Recreation Center. "I was not happy with the previous board's decision to keep her. . . . I think they should not have renewed her contract. It sets the wrong example."


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