You'd never know that Alexandria Commonwealth's Attorney John E. Kloch and Sheriff Michael E. Norris are running unopposed for new four-year terms.
Their campaign signs are up at most major Alexandria intersections. They're still out on the chicken-dinner-and-coffee circuit. They're ringing doorbells, and Norris has even sent out a fund-raising letter.
"It's inportant that citizens know what I do," explains Democrat Kloch. "Plus, I wouldn't want to be beaten by a two-vote write-in," he adds with a confident smile that only an unopposed incumbent can flash.
Kloch, 40, has been either the deputy, the acting or the appointed commonwealth's attorney in Alexandria since 1974. He was elected to the post in 1979, following the resignation of William L. Cowhig, who was tried and acquitted on bribery and gambling charges relating to a bingo scandal in the city.
"Integrity was the big issue two years ago in the campaign," says Kloch, who feels he has succeeded in the goal of "getting the office out of the news and getting in the news what the office does."
He thinks that's part of the reason no one else filed to run for the $59,000-a-year job.
"I represent the public interest," says Kloch, who has a staff of 19. "I've never apologized for being a Democrat, but I refer to myself as a prosecutor who happens to be a Democrat."
Some of the issues Kloch feels are important are his efforts to combat what he calls the "revolving-door criminal," plans for the city's victim-witness assistance unit and getting the elements of the criminal justice system -- the police, probation office and courts -- working well together.
"I do miss some of the excitement of the election, with an unopposed race," says Kloch, who is recycling old campaign signs and says he is soliciting no money for this race. "But it's a relief that I'll have a job for the next four years."
As for the other unopposed candidate on the ballot, Republican Sheriff Michael Norris, Kloch says, "Mike and I work well together. We keep our party out of our jobs."
That lack of party identity is evident in Norris' campaign: his big blue-and-red posters do not even mention his party affiliation. "I intend to represent all people," he says.
Norris, 32, directs the work of 82 employes and is paid $48,000 a year. He was an Alexandria policeman for eight years and was a police sergeant when he was elected sheriff in 1977.
The sheriff oversees operation of the jail, transportation of prisoners, and serving of court papers (which number about 50,000 a year, according to Norris) and is responsible for courtroom security.
If there had been opposition this year, Norris maintains, "I could easily have stood on my record. I think I could have won."
One of Norris' goals is to maintain the current level of services despite what he calls "the mood of budget tightening on all government levels," to assist in making the justice process more efficient, and to increase the use of volunteers in helping with court services.
Norris says he recently sent out a fund-raising letter, "because you need to keep your name before the public and to show people what the office does." He has raised just over $2,000 so far this year, and says just about all of it went for printing.
Is Norris worried about the outcome of Tuesday's election?
"Sure," he jokes. "Everyone who goes to the polls is a potential candidate."