Twelve years after it was carved out of pastures and woodland, Reston has become a politically active community . Six of the 10 Democrats running in the June 14 party primary in the 18th House of Delegates District race are from Reston and for the first time, there is a Republican candidate from Reston in the GOP primary. State and local candidates also are campaigning more than usual in the new Fairfax County town of 30,000. Henry Howell and Andrew P.Miller, the two Democratic gubernatorial candidates, have each visited Reston three times.
"It shows that we have come of age," said Karetta Browning Hubbard, a political newcomer in the Democratic primary.
Some country political workers have said the over the past few years Reston has been considered the most liberal, predominantly white area of Virginia. As evidence, they point to the 1972 presidential race in which Reston gave Democratic candidate George McGovern 52 per cent of its vote compared to the 30 per cent he received in the state as a whole.
Some political leaders, however, now say the community is becoming less liberal. These leaders cite the 1976 presidential race in which Jimmy Carter received 55 per cent of the Reston vote compared to the 49 per cent he received statewide.
"It's becoming active for (the Republicans)," said Joseph Ragan, chairman of the Fairfax Republican Party. "It's becoming more moderate," he said.
The Reston Republican Club, created three years ago, has grown to 400 couples, according to Helga V. Boney, the club founder and the first Republican House candidate from the new town.
"The Republicans say they are gaining, but the (Nov. 8) election will tell," said Emilie Miller, head of the county's Democratic Party.
The candidates, mindful of the fertile political ground in Reston, have been actively pursuing the estimated 14,000 registered Reston voters.
"I have campaigned more there (Reston) than before," said seven-term Del. Dorothy S. McDiarmid, who lives in Vienna and is seeking one of the five Democratic nominations in the 18th District primary.
"I think the candidates (in the 18th District race) who are not from Reston are worried," said Mary Cahill, chairman of the Reston Democratic Club. 'They are definitely concerned" that the usually large turnout of Reston voters will cast votes only for Reston candidates.
Other county political workers said they believe the non-Reston candidates may have more of a chance because the six Reston candidates could divide the town's vote for the five nominations.
"The question is will all these (Reston) people running mean that we will have a person from Reston representing us (in the General Assembly), said Cahill. "It's anybody's guess."
At a recent Reston Democratic forum, a couple of non-Reston candidates asked the audience to forget that six of the 10 Democrats are from Reston and to "vote for the best."
The six Reston Democrats are Hubbard, Lauretta B. Newport, Kenneth R. Plum, Richard M. Reimer, John D. Scalamont and Embry Cobb Rucker.