This was the year Virginia voters did what the politicians and naysayers said they wouldn't: They elected the first black and the first woman to statewide offices.
Gerald L. Baliles' election in the 1985 governor's race was partly eclipsed by the historic victories of his Democratic colleagues: L. Douglas Wilder, who was elected lieutenant governor, and Mary Sue Terry, who won the attorney general's contest.
All three were swept into office on the exiting coattails of Gov. Charles S. Robb, who is returning to Northern Virginia as a lawyer amid growing speculation that he is among the national Democrats who should be considered candidates for president or vice president in 1988.
While the Democrats bask in their success, the Republican Party, now denied any state office for eight years in a row, will spend 1986 salving its wounds and attempting to recoup its losses.
The cloak-and-dagger world of espionage and spies came out of the dark and into the national headlines this year as federal authorities arrested members of the Walker family of Norfolk on charges of passing American military secrets to the Soviet Union. Their cases were among a series of espionage arrests that shook the military, Virginia's biggest employer.
The year saw some determined individuals buck the system, from the Virginia student who forced a change in a Boy Scout rule banning atheists to a Fairfax County man who cut through the neighborhood bureaucracy to win the right to keep his back yard satellite dish.
Others fought the system and lost. As a result of a two-year rabies scare in Northern Virginia, a Prince William County woman's prize pet ferret had to be put to death to check for rabies after the animal bit a child.
And for still others, luck ran out in 1985. Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann's season was cut short when his leg was broken during a Monday night game. Middleburg resident and restaurateur Theismann has vowed to return to the playing field next season. THE WINNERS
*1.GOV. CHARLES S. ROBB. National attention.
He leaves office as one of Virginia's most popular governors, credited with improving the state's educational system and its economic climate. The son-in-law of the late President Lyndon B. Johnson, the 46-year-old Robb has won high praise for advancing women and minorities in state government and preaching the gospel of moderation to his party.
*2.GERALD L. BALILES. Low-key and detailed.
The former state attorney general, Baliles, 45, led his Democratic ticket to victory in the fall elections and is expected to follow closely in Robb's footsteps as governor. Baliles, known for his low-key personality, is, however, likely to become more involved in the details of running the state bureaucracy than was Robb, who concentrated on "big-picture" policy-making.
*3.L. DOUGLAS WILDER. Beating the odds.
Overcoming warnings from his own party members that he would never win, the state senator from Richmond became the first black elected to statewide office in Virginia with his victory over a Republican legislator in the race for lieutenant governor. Wilder, 54, has said he will now offer campaign advice for other underdog candidates in other states.
*4.MARY SUE TERRY. Ticket leader.
She started her campaign two years ago and outpolled her Democratic ticketmates Nov. 5. As attorney general, she is the first woman to be elected to statewide office in Virginia. A native of rural Patrick County, Terry, 38, is considered a prime candidate for governor in four years.
*5.JOE ALDER. TV star.
The 32-year-old law officer from a small town in Southside Virginia became a celebrity with his folksy TV ad endorsing Wilder as the law-and-order choice of the Fraternal Order of Police. Some politicians credit the ads starring the barrel-chested, slow-talking policeman with giving Wilder the credibility on crime issues he may have needed to win.
*PAUL TROUT. Loyal and determined.
The 15-year-old was booted out of his Boy Scout troop after proclaiming himself an atheist. The Scouts later readmitted Trout, who attends a Charlottesville boarding school, after the national organization eliminated its requirement that Scouts must profess belief in a Supreme Being.
*7.JAMES P. MORAN JR. On the rebound.
He bounced back into Alexandria politics as mayor this year after resigning as vice mayor of the city in 1984 as part of a plea agreement on a misdemeanor conflict-of-interest charge. Moran, 40, pulled a stunning defeat over five-term mayor Charles E. Beatley. Once elected, he promptly issued a directive banning gossip among city officials.
*8.MAX PARSONS. Many channels.
The 35-year-old resident of Fairfax County's Franklin Farm subdivision disguised his outlawed television satellite dish as a picnic table umbrella. That wasn't good enough for subdivision authorities who called the dish ugly. But the neighbors reneged after a four-month battle and changed the rules to allow camouflaged dishes.
*9.WILLIAM ORAM. A ticket to home.
For the price of 11 $10 raffle tickets, Oram, a Falls Church construction engineer, won his dream home. But this was no average tract house; it was the $250,000 custom built home in Reston that was constructed in 72 hours and raffled off by builders to raise funds for charities.
*10.WOMEN'S SOCCER TEAM. On the ball.
The George Mason University Women's Soccer Team, only four years old, rose to the top, winning the NCAA national championship with a 2-to-0 shutout of four-time champion North Carolina. Said coach Hank Leung: "Next to the birth of my children, this is the highest I've ever been." THE LOSERS
*1.WALKER FAMILY. Caught in the cold.
In what national security advisers called the biggest spy case in 30 years, three members of Virginia's Walker family pleaded guilty to spying for the Russians. Former Navy officer John Anthony Walker Jr., 48, pleaded guilty to spying for the Soviets for 20 years and will be sentenced to life in prison. His brother Arthur, 51, another Navy man, has been given a life term for giving John classified reports from a Chesapeake engineering firm. And his son Michael, 23, is scheduled to be sentenced to 25 years in prison for taking classified documents from his ship, the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.
*2.CHRISTOPHER & ROBERT RECKMEYER. A family enterprise.
Two Northern Virginia brothers operated a national drug distribution ring from their $3 million Loudoun County farm. Christopher, 33, was portrayed in the courtroom as the cunning ring leader who bought boatloads of drugs and laundered the profits in Oriental carpets, emeralds and sapphires. Robert, 31, tearfully told the court he buried most of his money in the ground. The two, accused of distributing nearly 300 tons of marijuana and hashish, are serving a maximum sentence of 17 years in federal prisons.
*3.OCCUPANT. Prized no more.
The chili-pepper red pet ferret was beheaded by Prince William County authorities only days before he was to be exhibited in a national ferret show by his owner, Irene Wells of Dale City. Authorities said they had no choice but to kill Occupant in order to test the ferret for rabies after it bit a child. The tests were negative and the animal's remains were returned in a garbage bag to a teary Wells.
*4.JOE THEISMANN. Breaks of the game.
The Redskins' quarterback said he could not bear to watch replays of the game in which his right leg was snapped by members of the New York Giants defense. Out for the season, Theismann, 36, insists that his days in the NFL are far from over and that he won't be just another Middleburg resident or Northern Virginia restaurateur next fall.
*5.LEM TUGGLE JR. Two-time loser.
Tuggle, a death row inmate at Mecklenburg Correctional Center, attempted to flee from the prison as he did two years ago with five other inmates. This time, however, guards foiled the bid of Tuggle and others for freedom.
*6.MILLS E. GODWIN. Leadership questioned.
A leader of the Virginia GOP's conservative wing, the former Virginia governor suffered a humiliating defeat when the party's state ticket that he helped select went down to defeat. Godwin, 71, twice elected governor of Virginia, was blamed for contributing to the defeats by attacking Wilder on what were seen as racist grounds.
*7.WYATT B. DURRETTE. A final defeat.
His race for governor was probably his last hurrah, said the former Fairfax County legislator. Plagued by persistent disarray and disharmony in his own ranks, Durrette, 47, said he will resume his Richmond law practice and devote more time to his family.
*8.ELSIE L. MUNSELL. Out of favor.
Buffeted by criticisms of weak and ineffective leadership, the 46-year-old U.S. attorney quit her prosecutor's job in Alexandria. Munsell, once considered a leading candidate for a federal judgeship, was the first woman to hold the job of federal prosecutor in Virginia.
*9.G. RICHARD PFITZNER. A contentious year.
Pfitzner's political star was rising rapidly only a year ago, when the Democratic Prince William County supervisor unseated Democratic Board Chairman Kathleen K. Seefeldt. But Pfitzner, 40, resigned the chairmanship after a year marked by contentiousness with both his colleagues and the media.
*10.RUBY DANIEL. Family chauffeur.
The wife of Rep. Dan Daniel (D-Va.) had to drive the couple's car from Washington to their home in Danville while her husband flew home for free in airplanes provided by a defense contractor. The House ethics committee is investigating whether Daniel, a ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, may have falsely billed the federal government by submitting vouchers for car travel he did not make. FIVE TO WATCH IN 1986
*1.HENRY HUDSON. Federal worker?
The pornography-fighting Arlington County prosecutor is considered the top contender for the vacated U.S. attorney's position in Alexandria. Hudson, who was the youngest prosecutor in the Washington metropolitan area when he was first elected in 1979, has been praised by police for his tough stands and criticized by defense lawyers as bent on introducing his conservative moral standards to the courtroom.
*2.ROBERT R. (BUD) SPILLANE. A need to please.
An adept politician with a winning sense of humor, he left the helm of the troubled Boston school system in July to become the $90,000-a-year Fairfax County school superintendent. Now he must balance demands from teacher groups against taxpayers' concerns about education costs and preserve the school system's reputation, while pushing for a national leadership role.
*3.VOLA LAWSON. At the helm.
She became the first woman city manager in Alexandria, saying she wanted to put the city "back on an even keel" and mend the deep political scars left by a controversy over allegations of wrongdoing by the city's public safety director. Now she must help city officials regain the confidence of the business community as well as advance policies that include a commitment to retain housing for low-income residents.
*4.ROBERT H. PRY. A need to define.
Some business leaders and state officials say the jury is still out on Pry's tenure as president of the year-old Center for Innovative Technology. While Pry, 61, a retired electronics executive, is praised for his many ties with national business leaders and his knowledge of the high-tech world, but his inability to define the center's mission upset many and prompted Robb to create a new position of director to work alongside the president.
*5.VIVIAN WATTS. Taking a hot seat.
Regarded as the rising star of the Northern Virginia Democratic legislative delegation, the 45-year-old Annandale state delegate agreed to leave the General Assembly for what is likely to be the hottest seat in Baliles' cabinet. She will become secretary of transportation and public safety next month, forcing her to attempt to manage not only a troubled prison system, but to meet increasing demands for better roads in all sections of the state.