Potomac Confidential
Tuesday, Nov. 6, 8 p.m. ET

Election Night 2007

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Marc Fisher
Washington Post Metro Columnist
Tuesday, November 6, 2007; 8:00 PM

Marc Fisher discussed Election Night results in real time -- taking comments, questions and predictions as he looked at the results of the local races in Virginia and Maryland.

Voters Guide: Local Elections 2007

A transcript follows.

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Marc Fisher: Welcome to Election Night on Potomac Confidential. We won't have results for a little while yet, but with the polls closed, we're certainly free to trade predictions, observations, and the all-important first round of declarations of what this all means.

Here's my guide to the evening, the five key races I'm watching for clues as to which way Virginia is heading and whether we're in for a change in control of the state Senate:

1) Virginia Senate District 34 (Fairfax County): Republican incumbent Jeannemarie Devolites Davis is facing a tough challenge from Democrat and former Delegate Chap Petersen. Davis is scrambling hard, sensing that the district, a relatively transient place with a large immigrant population, is veering toward the Dems.

This is the ideologically oddest race in the state, with Davis trying to run to Petersen's left, accusing him of being too conservative for the district on social issues such as guns, gays and God. Petersen responds by charging Davis with revisionism, portraying herself as more moderate than she really is; the Democrat is also pushing the party issue hard, arguing that a change in who controls the Senate is what this election is all about. If Petersen prevails, the Democrats' chances of taking over the Senate gain enormously; if Davis wins, you'll hear a huge sigh of relief from her husband, congressman Tom Davis, whose own political future is up for grabs next year.

2) Virginia Senate District 37 (Fairfax County): School Board member Janet Oleszek is waging an expensive, energetic and ultimately unimpressive campaign to unseat one of the last doctrinaire, true believer Christian conservative legislators to represent increasingly Democratic Fairfax County, Sen. Ken Cuccinelli.

Cooch, as he's affectionately known in Richmond, is by far the better campaigner, by far the more attractive candidate when it comes to knowledge of the issues, ability to debate and willingness to spell out her proposals. But Oleszek is offering a stark ideological alternative, and in a part of the county where new developments are populated largely by newcomers to the area who want to see greater state investment in roads, education and other services, Cuccinelli sometimes seems out of step with his constituents. If Cuccinelli holds on here, it's hard to see how the Democrats can take the Senate.

3) Virginia Senate District 27 (Loudoun, Fauquier, Clarke, Winchester and Frederick counties): Perhaps the hardest-fought and ugliest campaign in a year of many such mudfests, this contest to succeed Sen. Russ Potts, the wily, moderate Republican who has held the seat since 1992, pits Democrat Karen Schultz against Republican Jill Holtzman Vogel, with independent Donald Marro tossed in to make things a bit more unpredictable.

The notion of millions of dollars being raised and spent for a campaign in this rapidly suburbanizing but still largely rural district is mind-boggling. Potts, who retired from the Senate in frustration over watching his beloved Republican party shift to the right and focus on social issues far afield from the daily stresses in most voters' lives, has declined to endorse in this race, but his last-minute comments to local newspapers consisted mainly of criticism of Vogel, a conservative lawyer who is trying to portray herself as a moderate in this race. Vogel's relatively weak opponent is Schultz, a professor of pharmacy who has fought back rather ineffectively against some slick and tough tactics from the Vogel side. Schultz is trying to win as a conservative Democrat who favors gun rights, cracking down on illegal immigrants and keeping taxes low. The campaign ended with a sleazy mailer from Vogel that tries to smear Schultz by linking her to other clients of a political consultancy that has done work for a Muslim candidate and a lesbian candidate. Add Vogel's TV spot in which she pointedly notes that she is a Christian--wouldn't want anyone to be misled by her name, would we?--and you have a campaign that is about as low as they come these days.

4) Virginia Senate District 1 (Hampton Roads): Anti-tax activist Tricia Stall shocked the state's GOP establishment by knocking off Sen. Marty Williams in a primary, forcing the state party to rally around a divisive hardliner at just the point when some Republicans believed they needed to tack toward the center to keep seats in big metropolitan areas such as Hampton Roads. Stall is running against Democrat John Miller, a former TV reporter and university official, who is focusing on improving schools while Stall centers on illegal immigration and tax cutting. Miller has more money but Stall has a devoted following and a reputation as a principled and authentic fighter. If the Democrats win this seat in a heavily Republican district, they'll coast to control of the Senate.

5) Loudoun Supervisors Bruce Tulloch, Steve Snow and Eugene Delgaudio are among the core members of a gung-ho pro-growth majority that has led the county deeper into an unbridled and increasingly unpopular expansion of population and the accompanying road and school crowding. The race between Tulloch, whose efforts to turn his official contacts into personal gain were the subject of a Washington Post investigation, and Andrea McGimsey, a longtime smart growth activist in the county, will be a strong indicator of the mood of the nation's fastest growing suburb. The Tulloch-McGimsey race is one of several highly competitive battles in Loudoun.

Steve Snow, perhaps the most outspoken advocate for big growth on the board, faces Stevens Miller, a Broadlands resident who is running to place tough restrictions on growth and restore integrity to the board. Snow has raised vastly more money than Miller, but the electorate remains highly polarized on development issues and Snow has done little to reach out to the other side. Watch for a Miller upset.

In Sterling, the continuing political success of Eugene Delgaudio demonstrates either deep disaffection on the part of voters or an admirably subversive bent. Delgaudio, who is being challenged by Democrat Jeanne West, is the kind of local politician who makes news reporters' lives rich and rewarding: He's a zealot who is, depending on whether you share his deeply conservative worldview, either entertainingly aggressive or downright dangerous. In his day job, whether he's bashing gays, diving into the U.S. Senate fountain in scuba gear as part of the "Ted Kennedy Swim Team," acting out a wedding between a man and a donkey to protest same-sex marriage, or holding news conferences for "Flashers for Clinton," Delgaudio is a master of political theater and a guy who knows how to infuriate his opponents. West, by contrast, is mild and quiet. We'll see if Sterling voters are looking for something to calm them or want to continue to make a splash. I bet they stick with the zany guy.

Your turn starts right now....

Posted 7:54 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Vienna, Va.: Hey Marc-

What's your prediction in the Petersen vs. Devolites-Davis race? We have met or seen Petersen at about half a dozen events this summer/fall, and his campaign kids knocked on our door a month or so ago (we are not registered anythings). I have never seen Devolites anywhere doing anything and no one from her campaign has called or knocked on our door (we have two preschoolers so we hit all the cheap family-friendly festivals to run some energy out of them!) It just seems like one campaign has a lot more people on the ground? Maybe because she is an incumbent?

Marc Fisher: This is not only one of the most important and telling races on the board tonight, it's also likely to be quite close. (Though you never know, and the very scant returns we have at the moment--just 4 percent of the precincts reporting--show Petersen up by a fair degree. But we don't know where those votes are coming from, so you can't ascribe any meaning to them.)

My guess is that it will be tough for Devolites Davis to prevail, but not for lack of campaigning. She's been out there day and night, so if she didn't make it to your door, it's likely because of your own voting record or your neighborhood's general leaning rather than because she's been slacking in any way.

Campaigns have become very good at figuring out Virginians' political leanings even though the state doesn't have party registration. Going door to door this fall with Republicans and Democrats alike, I found both sides using sophisticated computer analyses that look at your voting pattern--that is, they cannot know for whom you voted, but they can tell if you voted in the Democratic or GOP primary, which gives them a pretty good clue as to what you're thinking.

Posted 7:59 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fairfax, Va.: Rooting for Chap Petersen tonight. But if Jeannemarie wins tonight and the State Senate is 20-20, I hope she switches to the Democratic Party. What's the point of her husband and her sticking with the Virginia GOP? Tom's foolish if he thinks they'll let him run against Webb in 2012. If Jeannemarie is really willing to be as moderate as she has just run in the General Assembly I suspect she'll have a primary challenger in 2011. I think the Virginia Democratic Party would be happy to welcome both of them into the field but of course this will never happen.

Marc Fisher: Interesting idea, and Devolites Davis actually joked about this on the campaign trail, telling the story about how Senate minority leader Dick Saslaw approached her to ask her to switch over to the Democratic side. But when I checked the story with Saslaw, he said he was only joshing with her. In any event, there's no way she'd switch parties given her husband's prominent role in the Republican party, nor do I think she has any inclination to do so even on a pure issues basis. She's portraying herself as something of a softy in this campaign, but her record is fairly conservative (at least for northern Virginia.)

Posted 8:01 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Triangle Virginia: To what degree, if any, should the results of the Virginia elections be viewed against national elections next year as a bellwether?

Marc Fisher: Most local elections are decided on local or state issues, but every candidate I spent time with this season said they were hearing a lot of anti-Bush, anti-war sentiment out there, and Republicans and Democrats alike said they expect some of that to play into tonight's results.

That said, I don't think there'll be any Big Message to the 2008 candidates from this vote unless there's a powerful shift toward the Democrats--that would indeed send a Message well beyond the state's borders.

Posted 8:03 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fredericksburg, Va.: Do you think the Dems will win the Virginia Senate this evening?

Marc Fisher: That's the big question of the night. The House appears to be out of reach even if the Dems win almost all of the closely contested races. But the Senate is very much in play--too much so for me to hazard any useful guess. But if you watch the races I highlighted at the top of tonight's chat, I think you'll get an early sense of what's going to happen.

Posted 8:04 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Waldorf, Md.: What are your predictions for the Prince William County Board of Supervisors?

Marc Fisher: Unless I'm misreading the sentiment in much of the county, I would expect Chairman Corey Stewart to keep his job. Those enormous "Fighting Illegal Immigration" signs he has cluttered all over the median strips have sent a strong message, as did the unanimous board vote in favor of Stewart and John Stirrup's anti-illegal immigrant policy initiative.

Posted 8:06 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Arlington, Va.: Marc,

While The Post editorial section (or at a minimum The Post in general) likes to be perceived as non-partisan, its hard for an independent like myself to truly believe this. The vast majority of endorsements are for Democrats with only a handful of Republicans receiving endorsements. At what point is it fair to criticize The Post for playing partisan politics with its endorsements>

Marc Fisher: Being a partisan is usually an all-or-nothing affair. If you're a Republican, you generally vote that way pretty much all the time. Same with the D's. Independents are folks who sometimes vote one way and sometimes the other.

We have a strict separation of church and state in the newsroom, so those of us on the news side are not privy to the discussions that go into the editorial board's endorsements. But as a reader, I'd characterize the Post's endorsements over the years as leaning Democratic, with more Republican endorsements than I would expect given the editorial page's positions on individual issues. There were some real surprises in this fall's endorsements, especially in the hard-fought Virginia Senate race between Republican Jill Holtzman Vogel and Democrat Karen Schultz, with the Post going for Vogel and calling her, of all things, a "moderate." That's a direct contradiction of her own TV ads, in which she repeatedly makes it clear that she is a "pro-family conservative," "a Christian," and an opponent of much that the moderate Democrats stand for.

Posted 8:10 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Sterling, Va.: Are there any early indications of "vote irregularity" in the form of those not eligible to vote (i.e. non-citizens, etc.) being urged, supported or otherwise directed to vote in the elections, particularly in Northern Virginia?

Marc Fisher: Not that we've heard--there were some problems across the river in Rockville, and we have a story up on the web site about that.

Posted 8:11 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Kingstowne, Va.: I'm not sure whether to be happy or sad about my voting experience. I was working from home today and so I slept late, got up at 8, threw on some clothes, and went the half-mile to the polling place. I was the 65th person to vote, had no wait, and was home by 8:15. Nice not to have to stand around and wait, but on the other hand, such a short wait indicates that people didn't care about voting this year.

I swore not to vote for anyone who supported the driver fees. Of course, my district's member of the House of Delegates, who voted for them, ran unopposed (Mark Sickles). I wouldn't have voted for him anyway because I feel that the entirely negative attack-style campaigns he ran in the past were an embarrassment. So I wound up writing myself in. What can you do!

Marc Fisher: When I write in votes, I generally give the nod to one of my kids or to one of my favorite characters from a great novel.

Posted 8:13 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fairfax City, Va.: Anyone who visits in-the-know blogs knows that Chap beat Jeannemarie.

But my question has to do with the graphic on the front page of this site, which currently shows a "Net Gain" of 1 for the GOP in the state Senate. Huh? The GOP has taken a seat from the Dems? Where?

Marc Fisher: Yes, some of the politiblogs declared a winner in that race hours before the polls closed--based on the mists in the air, presumably. There are no exit polls in this election, so any such declaration of victory was either a daring attempt to read the tea leaves of turnout or a stab in the dark.

That said, we now have 11 percent of the vote in in the Davis-Petersen race and Petersen is up by a good margin, with 61 percent of the vote.

Posted 8:15 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Marc Fisher: They apparently count votes a lot faster down in RoVa, where the bellwether race in Senate District 1 looks like a virtual tie between Democrat John Miller and Repo Tricia Stall--it's 50-50 with more than half the votes counted.

Posted 8:16 p.m., 11.6.2007

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"I found both sides using sophisticated computer analyses that look at your voting pattern--that is, they cannot know for whom you voted, but they can tell if you voted in the Democratic or GOP primary, which gives them a pretty good clue as to what you're thinking.": Do you think this helps determine what sort of junk mail you get from the campaigns? I'm curious because I'm generally conservative, but I've voted in both parties' primaries over the years. Voted for Bush in the 2000 GOP primary and voted for Edwards in the 2004 Democrat primary (basically because I felt he was the least offensive), and in 2005 I voted for George Fitch in the Republican gubernatorial primary because I found Kilgore odious. I live in the 39th Senate district (the Barker v. O'Brien race) and I would have expected to get mail from both sides, but the only mail I got this year from any Republican was from Doug Boulter, the candidate for Lee District supervisor. Do you think primary voting history factors into this sort of thing, or is it more a case that since I live in Lee District, the statewide parties assume that I must be a Democrat? (I'm anything but. I've voted for Republicans, voted for Democrats, voted for Russ Potts for governor....)

Marc Fisher: On mailings, you're probably being pigeonholed more by where you live than by your primary voting pattern. On visits from door to door campaigners, they're looking exclusively at your voting pattern--how often you vote and which primaries you come out for.

Posted 8:19 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fairfax, Va.: When you've talked with voters, what exactly has them up in arms over illegal immigration?

Marc Fisher: Two kinds of responses usually--1) People who live in neighborhoods where lots of immigrants have moved in often complain about basic code enforcement issues--cars parked all over the lawns, too many unrelated residents in houses, that sort of thing. 2) People who don't live in the midst of such problems often have a more Lou Dobbsian take, talking about the moral offense of allowing people to be here in violation of the rules.

Posted 8:21 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Alexandria, Va.:"When I write in votes, I generally give the nod to one of my kids or to one of my favorite characters from a great novel."

A neighbor told me that he voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger for House of Delegates and for George W. Bush for Chairman of the Board of Supervisors (we live in the part of "Alexandria" that's actually Fairfax County). Kind of surprised me. He's a military veteran who takes civic responsibility very seriously, but I gather that he's so totally disgusted with the worthless scum who pass for politicians that he wanted to flip them all the finger.

I understand that last year Joe Gibbs received over 700 votes in the Senate race that was ultimately won by Jim Webb.

Marc Fisher: My high school class managed to elect as our senior class president a fellow who had left the school four years earlier--it was a write-in campaign, but well worth the effort.

Posted 8:22 p.m., 11.6.2007

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South Bend, Ind.: Are there any other Senate districts likely to flip other than the four you listed? Any possible GOP pick-ups in this cycle?

Marc Fisher: Yes, several could flip. Early numbers show Sen. Nick Rerras trailing by a bit with 40 percent of the vote counted.

The Republicans would be lucky to pick up more than one Dem seat.

Posted 8:26 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Dunn Loring, Va,: So Marc, are you doing shots for each time a race is called for a Democrat?

Marc Fisher: Ha! No, reporters tend to root for the story. So we're happy campers if either party does very well, or if there's a nailbiter of a tie. It's the murky middle that makes news folks unhappy.

Posted 8:27 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Mom of Preschoolers Again (they are both asleep, hooray!): Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Marc! Interesting regarding the sophisticated intelligence gathering tactics (especially for a local election)

It does make you wonder what kind of information people are compiling and analyzing about you, doesn't it? We live on a working class/diverse street so maybe that is a factor!

Love the chat, thanks.

Marc Fisher: Thanks and congrats on achieving such an early bedtime. I don't think either of my kids ever once fell asleep before 9, at any age. Don't worry about the privacy issue--the campaigns are working off the same public records that you or I can examine. You're listed in voting rolls by name and address and the years in which you voted, but, in Virginia there's no party registration, so campaigns have to try to figure that out based on which primaries you chose to vote in, and many Virginians choose to cross party lines to vote in the more interesting or more hotly contested primary.

Posted 8:30 p.m., 11.6.2007

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"My high school class managed to elect as our senior class president a fellow who had left the school four years earlier--it was a write-in campaign, but well worth the effort.": Don't forget the D.C. Democrats' mayoral primary a few years back where Mayor Williams had to mount a write-in campaign (and won).

Marc Fisher: Right--one of the most embarrassingly badly run campaigns of the modern era.

Posted 8:30 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Query about results: Is there any way to get a list of the individuals who receive write-in votes in Virginia races? I'd be curious in seeing how many are bogus votes where someone votes for Belgarath the Sorcerer versus situations where someone votes for a real individual out of pique, or where there seems to be some small contingent of voters who support someone else. The State Board of Elections site just says "Write-in."

Marc Fisher: Elections boards generally don't report the names of write-ins unless the number of write-ins becomes seriously large; at that point, they need to dig into the paper record and start seeing if one person got all of those write-in votes.

Posted 8:31 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fairfax, Va.: Any predictions in the Hugo/Simmons race?

Marc Fisher: Nothing counted yet in that race. If I had to bet a cookie on it, I'd put it on Hugo.

Posted 8:34 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fairfax, Va.: Re: Arlington, WaPo partisan?

I think it's important to keep in mind that outside of perhaps Alexandria and Arlington, most Virginia Democrats really aren't intensely liberal, and many of the most prominent Republicans (especially the incumbents) do tend to skew to the right (such as Hugo and "Cooch" in the races that I voted in), so as even a supporter of middle-of-the-road/moderate candidates, it seems to me that one would end up supporting Democrats in Virginia more than Republicans.

Marc Fisher: That's been the trend in the Republican party in Virginia over the past 10-15 years, and it's a big part of what this election is about, and what the party's choice of Jim Gilmore over Tom Davis as their Senate candidate next year is about. The fight for the soul of the GOP in Virginia appears to have been won for the time being by the right wing, but that could well change.

Posted 8:35 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Sterling, Va.: In this day and age of the Internet and alternative sources for checking the news, commentary and analysis coming out of the mainline American news sources, and for the sake of transparency -- would it be too presumptuous or rude to ask? -- but what is your own party affiliation as officially registered?

Marc Fisher: It's public record and you're free to look it up just like I looked up yours. (Kidding--I don't know who you are.) I don't tout it here and I don't tell anyone who I work with because my job is to be independent and call 'em as I see 'em.

Posted 8:37 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Franconia, Va.: Any hope for George Barker to defeat Jay O'Brien in my Senate district? We've only seen Prince William results so far and they are way in O'Brien's favor. I don't understand enough about the numbers here to know if that determines the outcome or was expected on both sides.

Marc Fisher: Only five percent of the vote counted there, and, as you say, O'Brien, the GOP incumbent, is up--but way too early to say anything on this one.

Posted 8:39 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fairfax County, Va.: Could you please explain the delay in reporting from Fairfax County? My understanding is that a court decision made our recent use of wireless reporting (whatever that is) from the polls unconstitutional (not sure why that would be) and so we are back to some sort of pre-digital system of manual reporting with only short advance notice and no recent experience with that on the part of election workers. But that is based on a quick skim of a story some days ago. Could you or The Post clarify? I don't believe this is an unexpected or mysterious delay, in other words, and would prefer a clear explanation. That might also suggest when we should realistically expect any real Fairfax County results. Thank you.

Marc Fisher: You got it exactly right--the court rejected the wireless transmission of results, which seems very odd because they're public record and are just going right up on the county website anyway, but I guess it's a case of courts worrying about the security of the transmission.

That said, Fairfax numbers are coming in--I just saw that 20 percent of the vote is already reporting in Dick Saslaw's district.

Posted 8:41 p.m., 11.6.2007

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South Bend, Ind.: If Tom Davis's wife loses, does that have any implications for his decision on whether to run for the House in 2008? What do you see in his political future? Governor's race in 2009? Senate in 2012?

Marc Fisher: There was much rumor mongering a couple of weeks ago to the effect that if his wife loses, Davis would not run for reelection to Congress. I got pretty firm denials of that from some folks close to Davis who are very much in a position to know. But what else were they going to say at that sensitive moment? My bet is that he's not about to give up his seat voluntarily, even if Jeannemarie loses, which is starting to look like a good possibility:

She's down 60-40 with 20 percent of the vote in.

Posted 8:43 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Ashburn, Va.: Loudoun...what's the word?

Marc Fisher: The word is that they're really slow. Not a single Loudoun vote is up on the state board of elections tally boards. And the Post's internal counts are no better. Loudoun is very sleepy tonight. Stay with us....

Posted 8:45 p.m., 11.6.2007

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St. Petersburg, Fla.: How about the Va. House of Delegates race in District 45?

The Post reported heavy turnout early in the day, which may be a relative term since the wait at some polls was 10 minutes.

Marc Fisher: That's David Englin's seat in Arlington/Alexandria and he appears to be safe from GOP challenger Mark Allen. Englin is up by 63-37 with 68 percent of the vote counted.

Posted 8:47 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fairfax, Va.: What Web site are you looking at for returns? The Washington Post's section isn't as up to date as the numbers you're giving.

Marc Fisher: I'm bouncing around, checking the state board of elections, the individual county elections offices, the Post's internal count, and some municipal returns.

Posted 8:47 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Manassas, Va.: What are the chances of the abusive driving fees being repealed due to the elections?

Marc Fisher: They're history--regardless of tonight's results. Dems and Repos alike wish they'd never heard that phrase and will move within the first 30 seconds of the next legislative session to make the most offensive parts of the abuser fees go bye-bye.

Posted 8:49 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Alexandria, Va.: I took off an hour early today to make sure I had time to spare for voting...

The Metro was a total mess with a fire causing the Pentagon station to be shut down. There were a LOT of people waiting on the platforms to get home after work. The kiss-and-ride at the Huntington was jammed with people waiting for riders, and ALL the "up" escalators at the Huntington station inoperable.

I was fortunate that my polling place was close to the Huntington Metro. Those who still had to drive to their destinations most likely were not able to vote.

Could this major delay on the Metro possibly cause a shift in the vote? Possibly those voting during the day might have a different voting pattern compared to those coming home on the Metro in the evening?

Thanks for taking our questions.

Marc Fisher: Doesn't seem likely to have much effect. The trains were moving again in plenty of time for folks to get to the polls, and truth be told, most of the races in districts served by those stations are totally non-competitive.

Posted 8:50 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Marc Fisher: Fyi, folks, I'm going to take 10 to check on results and I'll be back with you here at the top of the hour. Thanks for hanging in--next hour should give us a whole lot more results and some real idea of where we're heading tonight.

Posted 8:51 p.m., 11.6.2007

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washingtonpost.com: Va. House of Delegates District 17

Posted 8:57 p.m., 11.6.2007

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washingtonpost.com: Va. House of Delegates District 69

Posted 8:59 p.m., 11.6.2007

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washingtonpost.com: Va. House of Delegates District 78

Posted 9:00 p.m., 11.6.2007

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washingtonpost.com: Va. House of Delegates District 82

Posted 9:01 p.m., 11.6.2007

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washingtonpost.com: Va. House of Delegates District 96

Posted 9:04 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Marc Fisher: Ok, some updates for you:

First, on the question earlier about the holdup in Fairfax returns, this is the result of a new state law prohibiting transmission of election returns from the polling place to the board of elections. This was designed to prevent fraud. The results now must be phoned in and hand-entered into the computers and that's what's causing the delay, Fairfax officials tell The Post's Jerry Markon.

On to some results:

It's looking like one of my five key races is pretty well over, as Democrat John Miller is beating Republican Tricia Stall in Hampton Roads for the Senate seat now held by the GOP's Marty Williams. That's a Democrat pickup. Results at the moment: Miller 51, Stall 48 with 88 percent counted.

With 30 percent counted, Chap Petersen is up over Jeannemarie Devolites Davis by 60-40.

In Prince William County, with 18 percent reporting, Board of Supervisors chairman Corey Stewart is up over Democratic challenger Sharon Pandak by 55-45.

Posted 9:05 p.m., 11.6.2007

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washingtonpost.com: Va. House of Delegates District 56

Posted 9:06 p.m., 11.6.2007

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washingtonpost.com: Va. House of Delegates District 72

Posted 9:07 p.m., 11.6.2007

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McLean, Va.: Hard to tell, since I don't know what all districts were supposed to be close, but based on the SBE Web site, looks like the Dems are doing well for state senate seats all over the state.

Marc Fisher: Yes, several of the pickups that the Dems need to take over the Senate are leaning their way, but several are too close to call. Predictions are still ranging from the Republicans hanging on to a one- or two-seat majority to a slim Democratic takeover, to the always-popular tie between the parties (in which case Lieutenant Gov. Bill Bolling, a Republican, becomes much more of a household word.)

Posted 9:08 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Kingstowne, Va.:"We've only seen Prince William results so far and they are way in O'Brien's favor."

It would seem that this is to be expected, though, based on everything we read in the papers about how the vote tends to skew around here. Assuming the various media polls are accurate, we should be expecting the Republican candidate (O'Brien) to do well in Prince William, whereas the Democrat (Barker) would be expected to do better in the area east of I-95.

Marc Fisher: With but 15 percent of the vote reporting, O'Brien is holding a 51-49 edge. Not much of any meaning there quite yet. Waiting on Fairfax.

Posted 9:09 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fairfax, Va.: Do the Independent Green candidates really serve as anything more than comic relief? Have they even spurred talk about their one main issue: light rail?

Marc Fisher: Not a whole lot of attention paid to Green candidates this go-round. Indeed, in some races, the Green candidates pretty much came out and endorsed the Democrats.

Posted 9:10 p.m., 11.6.2007

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washingtonpost.com: Va. House of Delegates District 94

Posted 9:11 p.m., 11.6.2007

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washingtonpost.com: Va. Senate District 24

Posted 9:12 p.m., 11.6.2007

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washingtonpost.com: Va. Senate District 20

Posted 9:13 p.m., 11.6.2007

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washingtonpost.com: Va. Senate District 26

Posted 9:14 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fredericksburg, Va.: Why wasn't the Pollard/Stuart Race on your races to watch?

Marc Fisher: It's a great and important race, but I didn't think it was especially distinctive in telling us what the direction of the state or region will be, especially since it was pretty clear that this would be one of the closest races.

And it is turning out to be exactly that:

With 63 percent reporting, Republican Richard Stuart is beating Dem Albert Pollard by 51-48, with Stuart doing especially well in Stafford County.

Posted 9:14 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Onancock, Va.: So Mark, we're starting to have two Senate seats here in Tidewater trend towards a Democratic pickup. Have any early predictions for the end of the night?

Marc Fisher: Yes, it looks like Sen. Nick Rerras is out of a job and, as I said above, Republican hopeful Tricia Stall is losing in Hampton Roads, so those would be two Democratic pickups. But with Pollard running behind, the O'Brien-Barker race too close to call, and far too few votes counted in the Cuccinelli-Oleszek contest in Fairfax, we're a ways from any clear read on party breakdown in the Senate.

Posted 9:16 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fairfax, Va.: It's a good bet Connolly will win re-election tonight. That said, do you think he runs for Congress? If so, does he stay on as board chairman or does he step aside? Is so, will there be a special election and who would run?

Marc Fisher: Fairfax board chairman Gerry Connolly appears headed toward a resounding victory, probably by a wider margin than in his previous election--he would surely take this as a mandate to go ahead and run for Congress, especially with the possibility that Tom Davis might bow out (I'll believe that when I see it.)

Connolly would certainly remain in office until and unless he wins a congressional seat.

Posted 9:18 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Vienna, Va.: Boy, Loudoun always is late. Can't something be done. Why should Fairfax take less time than Loudoun?

Marc Fisher: Loudoun's been late for as long as I've been watching these elections, which is 20 years. In the old days, we used to attribute this to it being a rural community. Can't do that anymore.

Posted 9:19 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Bowie, Md.: Would love to see some discussion on the local Maryland races. Or is this forum only for Virginians? Who do you think will come out on top in the Bowie mayoral race?

Marc Fisher: There are but a few municipal races in Maryland tonight, and since the polls there closed an hour later than in Virginia, we're not seeing any significant numbers quite yet. I just checked Bowie and nothing's on the board yet. Stand by.

Posted 9:21 p.m., 11.6.2007

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washingtonpost.com: Va. House of Delegates District 87

Posted 9:22 p.m., 11.6.2007

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washingtonpost.com: Va. House of Delegates District 21

Posted 9:23 p.m., 11.6.2007

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D.C.: First off, I'm thrilled that the commercials are gone...at least for a few months. Next, I cannot recall a TV or radio ad in the blizzard of them which identified any political party, whether pro or con. In a race like Davis/Petersen, you wouldn't be able to fault someone for guessing the candidates' party ID the wrong way. I find that fascinating, and chalk it up to Northern Virginia being Northern Virginia. I'm sure that ads playing in more conservative parts of the state were quite a bit different in their messaging (and I'm betting there were a lot less of them too).

Marc Fisher: Definitely right that the multi-million dollars races are here in NoVa--that's driven by the price of TV advertising in the D.C. market. But viewers were flooded with political advertising in much of the state, at least in parts where there's a significant number of contested races. Remember, more than half the House seats were essentially uncontested--that's gerrymandering for you.

Speaking of unbelievable amounts of money, let's check in on two of the most expensive races....

Posted 9:23 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Marc Fisher: With 36 percent of the vote in now, Chap Petersen is beating Jeannemarie Davis rather handily, by 59-41.

And over in Loudoun and environs, the race to succeed Russ Potts has Republican Jill Holtzman Vogel beating Democrat Karen Schultz by 50-45 with 73 percent of the vote in. But that tally includes zero votes from Loudoun, one of the largest components of the district. So that's not over quite yet.

Posted 9:26 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Jefferson Manor, Va.: Marc -- one thing that people talk about is being frustrated with campaigning tactics and a general malaise with elections. Yet I had both supervisor candidates come to the neighborhood, and we had a whopping five people show up. So while folks complain, they also aren't willing to participate. It's frustrating, especially since both candidates were strong and offered very different options.

Marc Fisher: Great point--and this is something that massively frustrates candidates. Of course, they're talking out of both sides of their mouths, because those candidates who put out ads and literature that focuses on meaningless or divisive social issues can't very well then turn around and complain that the voters aren't concentrating on the important policy questions. But voter turnout in local off-year elections will always be lower than in presidential races. People get interested and involved when there are competitive races, which there aren't enough of, and when there are issues that hit them where they live. I'll do some checking on turnout....

Posted 9:29 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Springfield, Va. (by way of New Brunswick, N.J.): Marc,

Really hoping for a defeat for Kooky Ken tonight...any indication I'll have a reason to celebrate?

Marc Fisher: Don't hold your breath. Oleszek is beating hCuccinelli 52-48 but only 10 percent of the vote is in, so we're a long way from anything definitive there.

Posted 9:30 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fairfax, Va.: If Connolly were to run for Congress and win, would there be a special election or what would happen? I remember we elected Davis to Congress in 1994 when he was serving as chairman, but I don't remember what happened with regard to replacing him.

Marc Fisher: Yes, the governor would have to call a special election, just as he has to replace the late JoAnn Davis.

Posted 9:31 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Alexandria, Va.: What are the preliminary results from the Miller-Stall Senate race?

Marc Fisher: With 90 percent of the votes in, Miller is beating Stall by 51-48, which is pretty much where it's been all evening. I think she's toast.

Posted 9:32 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Burke, Va.: Your first poster said their family hits all the free events for kids and hasn't seen Devolites Davis anywhere. Well, my 6-year-old knows the Davises, Tessie Wilson, and Sharon Bulova by sight, because each of them came regularly to the free Friday night concerts at Royal Lake Park sponsored by Bulova's office. Although we vote solidly Democratic, we willing drink the "Davis Water" they passed out at the concerts, ate the candy they gave to the kids, and used their fans ("I'm a fan of JM D-D;" "I'm a genuine Chap Peterson Fan. Accept no cheap substitutes"). We also saw Devolites-Davis and Bulova at the Fairfax City Fourth of July parade. And one afternoon at the Farmer's Market, my daughter yelled out, "Mom -- it's Tessie Wilson!" So I have to wonder where this family has been that they have not seen JM D-D.

Marc Fisher: Depends on where you live and where you venture out. Candidates are increasingly judicious about where they go, eschewing even token visits to parts of their districts where they know they're going to lose and focusing their efforts on getting out the base in parts of the area that are friendly to them.

Posted 9:33 p.m., 11.6.2007

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"Remember, more than half the House seats were essentially uncontested--that's gerrymandering for you.": I wonder if part of this is also a symptom of the negative campaigning that has become the trademark of American politics. Put bluntly, why would any rational person want to have his reputation dragged through the mud? (Someone earlier mentioned Mark Sickles running HORRIBLY negative character assassination campaigns against Tom Bolvin in the past. I've seldom seen anything so nasty and I wonder if that sort of thing scares off potential challengers.)

Marc Fisher: Whatever your political leanings, I think most folks would agree that the climate for political candidates has become chilly bordering on icy, and the fact that there's a commensurate decline in the quality of candidates, or at least in the number of well-qualified folks, shouldn't surprise anyone. There've been some rather moving speeches in Congress lately on the perils of changing your mind, which is now better known in our political culture as "flip flopping," when it might once have been considered "thinking through an issue."

Posted 9:35 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fairfax, Va.: Hello! Is there a Web site where I can follow Fairfax County School Board races?

Marc Fisher: Your best bet is to check the Virginia State Board of Elections site at voterinfo.sbe.virginia.gov

Posted 9:36 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Ashburn, Va.: Any word on Loudoun yet? Thank you!

Marc Fisher: Squat. Not a single vote. Very odd.

Posted 9:36 p.m., 11.6.2007

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washingtonpost.com: Virginia State Board of Elections

Posted 9:37 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fairfax, Va.: Barker leads O'Brien, 51-49, with the majority of precincts counted so far in GOP-friendly Prince William. Good sign for the Dems?

Marc Fisher: Careful on that one--much of that district is in Fairfax, where the votes are coming in extremely slowly. Only 22 percent of the precincts are reporting in that race so far.

Posted 9:41 p.m., 11.6.2007

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D.C.: Hey Marc-

Any word on what turnout was like today?

Marc Fisher: It's hard to say locally--we're missing most of Fairfax, much of Prince William and all of Loudoun, so we can't really say. It's clear that there's very low turnout in districts with non-competitive races, as you'd expect. But in some places around the state, there's a very healthy turnout for an off year election. In Sen. Nick Rerras's district in Norfolk, the turnout is a very high 39 percent (statewide four years ago, the turnout was 31 percent.) Whereas in the hard fought Senate race in Hampton Roads, the turnout in the Stall-Miller race was 27 percent so far.

Posted 9:43 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fairfax, Va.: Why do The Post and other media outlets insist on reporting elections as horse races after the polls close?

Look at the home page right now--

Democrats Show Early Lead in Key Va. Precincts

Democrats jumped into an early lead in some key state Senate returns in Virginia this evening with only scattered precincts reporting.

The polls have closed; the votes are cast. It doesn't matter in which order they are counted. The winner has been determined. And yet the media try to keep us on edge for hours...

Never mind. I've answered my question.

Marc Fisher: Um, what else, other than the results, would you want us to focus on as the returns come in? I think the discussion here tonight has been a mix of numbers and thoughts about the meaning of the results. Unless you're arguing for a media blackout until every vote has been counted, I don't see where you're going with this.

Posted 9:45 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Great Falls, Va.: Any ideas about the Hunt/Vanderhye delegate race? I'm a little surprised to see such a spread at this point.

Marc Fisher: In the House race between Republican Dave Hunt and Democrat Margaret Vanderhye, Hunt is up 51-49 with only 21 percent of the votes counted. No clear signals there quite yet.

Posted 9:47 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Alexandria, Va.: Marc -

What do you make of the e-mails that Jeannemarie's campaign sent to Federal contractors in the last two weeks of the campaign, hitting them up for donations?

Given that Tom Davis is the Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, some Federal contractors resented being hit up, especially given that Jeannemarie tapped the Central Contractor Registration database to get their e-mail addresses.

Fodder for ethics investigations into Jeannemarie if she wins? Fodder for the same in Congress re: Tom?

Thanks for your insights.

Marc Fisher: There's been a fair amount of traffic on the blogs about this, mainly stemming from a claim by a federal contractor that he'd been solicited at an email address that the Davis campaign could have gotten only from a federal contracting database. There's no question that Tom Davis has done all he can to help his wife, in what's shaping up to be a losing effort; whether he stepped over the line would be for the congressional ethics panel to decide, but I don't see why a federal database wouldn't be public record and therefore fair game.

Posted 9:50 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Peterson-Devolites....: Hey Marc,

What do you think the follow out from the last few weeks of the election, with Devolites releasing Chaps personal information and mistakenly inviting people to vote a week early?

Do you think this dampened any enthusiasm for her as a candidate? Or were people pretty set in their ways by then?

Marc Fisher: That race featured a slew of accusations of sleazy campaigning, but in the end, I think what happened here is that as both Davises quite forthrightly admitted, the district has been changing underneath them, and it's becoming pretty solidly Democratic. This was more a case of straight line party politics than of personality, issues or campaign tactics. If Devolites Davis is looking for someone to blame tomorrow, her best bet is probably George Bush.

Posted 9:51 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Marc Fisher: I'm going to go run some numbers for 10 minutes and will be back here with you for more exciting numerical action. Thanks for hanging in. The best is yet to come, or something like that. Hey, they're eventually going to count those votes in Fairfax and Loudoun. Really, they will.

Posted 9:52 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Braddock District...: Hey.. Dave Albo ran unopposed and only has 63 percent of the vote. He's facing 37 percent write-in votes. Wow. I guess the Dems should have run someone against him.

Those "abusive-driver" fees (or as we like to call them, "The Albo Traffic-Law Firm Fees") are really angering voters, eh?

Marc Fisher: Nice observation--yes, you'd think a Democratic candidate might have had some fun making a race there, even if they likely wouldn't have won.

Posted 10:04 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Vienna, Va.: Say Marc, do you know when the absentee ballots are counted? They could make a difference in the close races.

Marc Fisher: They wouldn't be counted tonight--but we're quite a way from knowing whether they'll be needed in any race.

Posted 10:05 p.m., 11.6.2007

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McLean, VA: Hey Marc

I was so disillusioned with many of the choices this year (I found it hard to vote for most of the Democrats on the ballot, I wouldn't vote for any of the Republicans) that I ended up writing in my all time favorite candidate: Annie Wonelse

Any interest in doing a larger story on the total number of write in candidates that are received, looking at trends and some of the unique or otherwise famous names people write in??

Frank Zappa For President!

Marc Fisher: The Albo race seems to cry out for a closer look at the voter anger represented by those write-ins, and we'll surely be covering that in the paper in the next couple of days.

Posted 10:06 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Marc Fisher: To those folks waiting for those Maryland municipal returns, Bowie Mayor Frederick Robinson has easily turned away a challenge from Michael Lyles, winning 76 percent of the vote. And in Rockville, the new mayor is Susan Hoffman.

Posted 10:08 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Marc Fisher: Ok, at long last, Loudoun numbers, and some big changes in store for America's Fastest Growing County:

Looks like it's time to bid farewell to supervisors Steve Snow in Dulles and Bruce Tulloch in Potomac, two of the most powerfully pro-growth figures in the county. With 40 percent of the vote counted, Democratic challenger Stevens Miller, despite having vastly less money than Snow, appears to be beating Snow handily, up 58-42 at the last check. Tulloch, who was the subject of a Post investigation into his use of official contacts to drum up personal business, is losing to Democratic challenger Andrea McGimsey by a 48-32 margin with 29 percent of the vote in. Republican Eugene Delgaudio is holding on to his seat by a reasonably comfortable 55-45 with 60 percent of the vote in.

Posted 10:14 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Washington, D.C.: Moral of the story for Devolites-Davis: Don't try to out-Democrat the Democrat. People will go for the real thing. Plus, it may not inspire your base too much (even if it is demographically shrinking).

Marc Fisher: Sounds right: with 60 percent of the vote now in, she's down by 57-42--not even close.

Posted 10:15 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fairfax, Va.: Since Tom Davis and his wife seem to have based the entirety of her race (but really, its their race as her loss to Chap is going to spell his political doom) on the issue of guns these last few weeks, will The Post finally discuss what a loser of an issue gun control really is (and how nearly everything any representative of the Brady Campaign or Million Mom March ever states is largely dishonest or otherwise designed to deceive uneducated voters).

My hope, as I've posted before, is that these people will finally go away and we can start talking about real issues (and for that matter, real solutions to urban violence instead of the routine fall back of "more gun control" when a politician doesn't want to address the real cause of crime)

Marc Fisher: Certainly it's true that gun control does not win elections in Virginia, with the small exception of a few inside the Beltway districts where they rarely have contested elections in the first place. But guns were not the dominant issue in the Petersen-Davis race. Party label was more important, as well as transportation and the whole NoVa/RoVa funding unfairness issue.

Posted 10:17 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fairfax, Va.: Things seem to be tightening in the O'Brien and Cuccinelli races. Now Larry Sabato has projected Pollard losing, so looks like the GOP might hold the Senate after all.

Marc Fisher: With 40 percent reporting--Fairfax is finally pumping results--Oleszek is holding a slim 51-49 margin over Cuccinelli.

And with 46 percent in, it's even closer in the O'Brien-Barker race, with the Democrat holding a thinner than thin 50-49 margin over Sen. O'Briend.

Posted 10:19 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fairfax, Va.: Marc -- impressive dedication staying up for this. Here in Fairfax the turnout seemed light, but what really surprised me is the number of voters who seemed surprised that not every minor candidate had a party affiliation. This meant those who intended to vote strictly along party lines were flummoxed by the ballots -- and took a very long time waiting for inspiration.

Marc Fisher: That's why the slow decline of the old handy-dandy, the sample ballots that various interest groups used to hand out outside the polling stations, puzzles me. Lots of folks used to take those sample ballots from the interest group they most favored and just do as they were told on those down-ballot races.

Posted 10:20 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fairfax, Va.: While a 20/20 split in the Virginia Senate would give "advantage" to the Repubs because of Bolling, wouldn't there be changes in legislative committees? And how would the state senate deal with which issues to bring forth?

I guess what I'm ultimately wondering is whether the state senate is like the U.S. Senate, where the majority party doesn't really have much greater control than the minority party, or whether it's like the U.S. House, where the majority has far greater say in what is dealt with.

Marc Fisher: A tie would go to the Republicans because of the lieutenant governor, but not in the same way as an actual majority provides. There would be more Democratic say in committee assignments, and there are some parliamentary rules that would allow the Dems more of a role than they have as the minority.

Posted 10:22 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Vienna, Va.: Marc -- I like your analysis of most of the races, but I think you're slightly off on Dev-Davis v. Petersen. I think voters in this district will look past party labels. I think Dev-Davis doomed herself with a ham-fisted campaign and negative ads.

Looking over recent Va. elections, it seems close races are invariably lost by the most negative campaigner. Would Tim Kaine be governor today if he hadn't taken the high road in a race everyone thought he'd lose? Would Bill Bolling be in tie-breaker position if Leslie Byrne hadn't gone after him in such a counterproductive way?

Marc Fisher: Good point, we've certainly seen backlash against harsh negative campaigns, and the Kilgore governor race is a good example of that. The macaca business and all the related racial questions, however, certainly doomed George Allen and it could be argued that that was negative campaigning by the Democrats, though it's also true that the really negative behavior there came in Allen's original actions and statements.

Posted 10:24 p.m., 11.6.2007

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I confound those pollsters: You mention that politicians look at who votes in what primary as a way of understanding your likely future voting patterns. Ha Ha, I guess I fooled them. It really confuses the heck out of people who call me and ask if I voted in the primary and if so, whether Demo or Repub. I always vote Repub in the primary -- I believe in "pick your poison" -- but I vote pretty much straight Demo in regular elections. So they call and I tell them I voted Repub in the primary, and then they ask my opinion on what would make me more or less likely to vote for a candidate. Well, more than once I had the person ask, "You did say you voted REPUBLICAN in the primary, right?"

And then I confuse them even more when they ask if I have a religious affiliation and of the selections, I pick born-again Christian or evangelical Christian. Well, the Bible says that to be Christian is to be born again. I was baptized as an adolescent, and the pastor referred to me as "buried with Christ in baptism, raised to walk in newness of life," so I have always considered myself born again. Not in the way that they mean, but I think they have corrupted the meaning.

So the politicians can't always figure it out by who votes how in the primaries.

Go Democrats!

Marc Fisher: That's why since I first got the political bug as a kid, I've signed up for mailing lists from every possible stripe of ideology on the market--keeps it interesting for me, and there's always joy in confounding the market research types.

Posted 10:26 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Braddock District...: Decline of sample ballots? I've never voted when I didn't get handed a sample ballot. They are alive and well in Fairfax.

In fact, I handed them out today. The other party didn't bother to show up to hand out theirs, but it doesn't really matter as long as one party does, does it?

Marc Fisher: The parties still do it, but you don't see nearly as many such ballots from outside advocacy groups, who used to be out there with sample ballots that helped voters figure out who's on which side in those down-ballot non-partisan races. (Of course, those are the races where newspaper endorsements have historically made some difference as well.)

Posted 10:27 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fairfax, Va.: Word to your moderator. It really is "Not Larry Sabato" -- that's the name of a blog. I don't want to wrongly indicate Sabato as making a projection.

washingtonpost.com: Whoops, my bad.

Marc Fisher: Right--thanks for the correction.

Posted 10:27 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Triangle, Va.: Marc,

Thanks for answering my earlier question. The question I have now is only somewhat related to tonight's vote, and that is what if any sense have you determined/heard about the job/popularity that Jim Webb has done so far?

Marc Fisher: Webb is doing quite well within the Democratic party--lots of chatter about him as a vice presidential candidate. In Virginia, the Post poll last month found him doing well, too:

From Tim Craig's Virginia politics blog here on the big web site: "The poll showed 50 percent of Virginia voters approve of Webb, 27 disapprove and nearly a quarter, 22 percent, don't know enough about him to rate his first year.

He's popular among Democrats (67 approve, 17 disapprove, 15 percent have no opinion). Independents are also positive (49-25-26), while Republicans are split evenly (36-40-24)."

Posted 10:29 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Braddock District...: Is it possible that Pat Herrity still has zero votes with four precincts reporting?

Marc Fisher: Herrity is now up by 58-42 over Democrat Mike McClanahan in the Fairfax board's Springfield district, with 88 percent of the vote in. He's the only Republican to be added to the Fairfax board, it seems. And GOP supervisor Joan DuBois is apparently out of a job, as Democrat John Foust is beating her with 44 percent of the vote in.

Posted 10:38 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Marc Fisher: Jeannemarie Devolites Davis has just conceded her seat to Chap Petersen.

Posted 10:38 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Arlington, Va.: Tom Davis is sooooo not running for re-election! It would be a tough slog for him with how blue his district has become and he just dumped a ton of money into Jeanne's campaign kitty. If he was running again, he would have kept it for himself.

Marc Fisher: That's possible, but it's also possible that he's confident he can raise plenty more for a showdown with Gerry Connolly. That said, Devolites Davis made some pointed comments toward the end of the campaign, when she appeared to know she was going to lose, about what a relief it would be to have weekends back and to get off the constant treadmill of political life. That would imply that both husband and wife are considering a shift in life priorities.

Posted 10:43 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fairfax, Va.: As I was driving into PWC yesterday, I saw those orange electric signs which are placed at the side of the road, generally to alert drivers to construction, deer, etc., telling people to vote for Sen. Colgan. Since those signs generally seem to be used for non-political purposes, I was wondering if they were state/county property, and if so, if Colgan (or supporters of his) crossed a line. (I say this as someone who has no stake in that particular race.)

Marc Fisher: How odd. Definitely worth taking a closer look.

Posted 10:43 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Fairfax, Va.: Not too long ago (1980s) what is now VA-8 had a Republican congressman. I also read that Arlington voted for Nixon. Now of course it's overwhelmingly Democratic. Now that Fairfax Co seems to be 52-48 (or maybe it's 55-45 by now) Democratic do you think in 10-20 years it will soon be derided as "the People's Republic of Fairfax" by state Republicans? I can't see it but then again maybe in the 1970s and 1980s everyone would've laughed if you said Arlington was going to be so heavily Democratic.

Marc Fisher: It's not likely that Fairfax would be as firmly Democratic as Arlington, but it certainly is looking like the county will be dominated by Democratic officeholders. If Cuccinelli or O'Brien lose, or both, that will send a powerful message to Virginia Republicans about a monolithically Democratic northern Virginia. Add the turnover on the Loudoun board tonight and that's got to be pretty scary for Republicans struggling to figure out the party's message and direction, especially having just chosen a firm conservative over a moderate for next year's Senate race.

Posted 10:46 p.m., 11.6.2007

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Marc Fisher: That's going to wrap things up here on the big show for tonight. Our writers aren't on strike, so instead of hanging with Letterman or Stewart tonight, stay here with us--we've got a newsroom full of reporters who will be filing for hours to come on washingtonpost.com and then in the morning paper.

I'll be back here at the regular time Thursday at noon for our post mortem on the vote--and for whatever else is on your minds. Thanks for spending part of your evening parsing the numbers with me.

Posted 10:52 p.m., 11.6.2007

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