A candidate in Manassas (5,596 registered voters) or Manassas Park (1,659 registered voters) could conceivably shake the hand of every voter in town.
Yet the opposing candidates for commissioner of revenue in both cities have yet to cross paths in this year's campaign.
The incumbent treasurers in the two cities are running unopposed, so there's no need for them to hit the campaign trail. In fact, the Manassas Park treasurer is almost too busy juggling two jobs -- he is also acting city manager -- to have time to worry about a reelection campaign.
So much for election hoopla in the two small cities that broke off from Prince William County in 1975.
"When you're competing with the governor's and the delegates' race, this kind of an election takes a back seat," says Democrat Stewart McBryde, the incumbent commissioner of revenue in Manassas. "But it's very important as far as the city is concerned."
McBryde's opponent is Republican Catherine A. LeLacheur, a 46-year-old real estate broker.
The commissioner's job entails assessing real estate and personal property and issuing all state revenue licenses and business and professional licenses. The pay is $24,000 a year.
McBryde, 66, is a retired federal employe who has lived in Manassas since 1922. He has held the commissioner's job for six years.
McBryde has spent some time doing door-to-door canvassing and says, "I feel confident about the election. And I plan to continue the operation of the office in accordance with the state laws."
LeLacheur says the major task in her campaign has been trying to let voters know who she is, especially since she has lived in Manassas for only two years.
"Not being a lifelong resident, mine is not a familiar name," LeLacheur said. "But by the time the campaign ends, I hope to have delivered my literature to all 6,000 voters in Manassas."
To get her name before the voters, LeLacheur also has been knocking on doors. She says the response has been good. "Many people are surprised that there is an elected person in this particular position," she said. "My goals in the office would be to work for fair and equitable tax assesment for all people."
Manassas Treasurer Curtis L. Mlsna was appointed to his position by the Manassas City Council last March after 22 years in banking. His most ardent campaigning in this year's election took place early this fall when he collected the 125 signatures he needed to file as an independent. Now that he's running unopposed, he says, "I guess it's a foregone conclusion that I will be back for four more years."
"The investment of city funds as a means of additional revenue with interest income is a critical area," says Mlsna, a Manassas resident for 10 years, whose job pays $25,189. "I think my past experience in banking has given me an advantage in making sure we are investing any excess funds as best we possibly can."
In Manassas Park, a city of about 6,500 residents, incumbent commissioner of revenue Betty Mullins says she has focused on making sure she does her job well, along with some door-to-door campaigning.
"I feel it's what I do every day that's important," said Mullins. "I don't go out and do things just because it's an election year. Any service I offer is year-round and not just at election time."
The 47-year-old Mullins, an independent, has held the office three years. The annual salary for the commissioner's job in Manassas Park is $20,475.
"I think my past experience and performance would be what I have over my opponent," Mullins said.'
Her opponent, Republican Ernest L. Evans thinks it's time for a change.
"As nice as I want to be to the incumbent, that's the only area of the city government that needs to be cleaned up in order to survive as a city financially," says Evans, who feels there is need for "more accurate assessments and more accuracy in recording taxes in the city."
Evans, 45, retired from the Air Force as a sergeant major after a career in intelligence and personnel work, and now is an area supervisor for K Mart Corporation.
Evans says he is concerned about the city's real estate tax rate, currently $2.30 per $100 of assessed value. "This is the highest tax rate in the state of Virginia," says Evans, "because we have the lowest assessment amounts."
If elected, he plans to bring assessments into what he calls "proper perspective" and then urge the City Council to reduce the tax rate. "I think the tax rate should be about $1.80," Evans said.
Manassas Park Treasurer Jerry W. Davis, a Republican, may be the busiest unopposed candidate in Northern Virginia. Early this month, in the middle of the campaign season, the City Council appointed him acting city manager.
"I'm putting in a lot of hours right now," says Davis, 28, who's had time to put up just one billboard and print a few brochures. "But basically, everything I can do has been done, and I must devote full time to my two jobs." He also has just begun work on a doctorate in public administration.
Davis served on the Manassas Park City Council before he was elected treasurer in 1978. His salary, which includes some state stipends for running special programs, is $28,417.
Davis may be busy, but he's not worried about the outcome of the treasurer's race. "I'll be assured of at least one job for the next four years," he says.