Voters in Fauquier County's two southern districts on Tuesday gave the Republican nominations for supervisor overwhelmingly to candidates who vowed to check the pace of residential development.
In the Lee District race to succeed Supervisor David C. Mangum (R), Sharon Grove McCamy defeated S.L. "Serf" Guerra, capturing 69 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns. In the Cedar Run race to succeed Supervisor Wilbur W. Burton, the last Democrat on the board, Raymond E. Graham beat J. Mark Rohrbaugh Jr. with 58 percent of the vote.
The losers, both of whom serve on the Planning Commission, attributed their defeat in the low-turnout GOP primary in part to a last-minute mailing postmarked from Leesburg that they said included factual errors and misleading statements. The mailing, which attacked Guerra and Rohrbaugh as tax-raisers, purportedly was sent by a group called Citizens Against Higher Taxes, whose treasurer was listed as James P. Lucier Jr.
Lucier is not listed in the Loudoun and Fauquier telephone directory and could not be reached for comment. McCamy and Graham both said that they had no involvement in the mailing and that they would investigate.
Speaking from his victory party at the Cedar Run Rescue Squad building, Graham, 53, a retired Fairfax County administrator, said his strong views on limiting residential development propelled him to the nomination.
"I think this vote is something of a mandate because McCamy also won," he said. "What they're telling us is to be cautious with growth issues."
McCamy, 38 -- who outspent Guerra by large margins, according to campaign records -- was less eager to claim that those issues pushed her over the top. She said Lee District voters had been frustrated by Mangum's and Guerra's lack of responsiveness and responded to her good-government pledges.
"The number one thing in this area is citizen participation," she said.
Guerra, 72, said he believed the mailing scared voters to the polls. "I think this is something we're going to have to look at over the next few days," Guerra said. Rohrbaugh, 42, also said the mailing played a big hand in his race and called it "dirty pool."
McCamy will face independent William R. "Bill" Frazier, who already has received Guerra's endorsement. Graham will face independent George Kaye, who, beyond announcing his candidacy, has made few public statements.
All five seats on the board will be up for election in November. The two independent candidates in the Marshall District race to succeed retiring Supervisor James R. Green (I) are Planning Commission Chairman Harry Atherton and orchard owner Traci Stribling. Both have said they support "slow-growth" measures.
In the Center District, Supervisor Joe Winkelmann (R) is running against Richard Galecki, a Democrat, and both have said they support growth controls. Board Chairman Larry L. Weeks, (R-Scott), who has lead the current three-vote majority for checking development in Fauquier, is running unopposed.
Meanwhile, Gail H. Barb, a longtime employee of the clerk of the court's office, handily beat back her challenger, John Marshall Cheatwood, an insurance underwriter who failed in another bid for clerk of the court eight years ago. She won with 77 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns.
Cheatwood failed to convince voters that Barb would be instrumental in building a new courthouse or that her 28 years in the clerk's office was a drawback. Barb said experience was the draw: "I really do believe that people understood that I have given my all to that office for all these years."
Several voters interviewed Tuesday agreed. "I don't like to see people have their jobs taken away from them," said Lorraine Kreps, 78, outside a polling station in Catlett.
Barb will run against Conway M. Porter, the Democratic nominee and a retired manager for the Virginia Employment Commission.
Because of the Republican Party's dominance in local politics, the primary victors emerge right away as frontrunners in the November elections.
Besides Barb, no candidates for constitutional offices will face opposition in November. Barring a vigorous write-in campaign, Sheriff Joseph A. Higgs Jr. (R), Treasurer E.A. "Beth" Ledgerton (R), Commonwealth's Attorney Jonathan S. Lynn (D) and Revenue Commissioner Ross W. D'Urso (R) would be reelected.
In state legislative races, Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr. (R-Winchester), whose district covers part of Fauquier, beat back a stronger-than-expected challenge from Mike McHugh, an antiabortion and home-schooling activist, with 62 percent of the vote. Democrats have fielded a challenger to Del. Jay Katzen (R-Fauquier) in the November elections with the filing of vineyard owner Meredith Gorfein, 54.