After winning hard-fought and contentious primary battles for the Republican nominations for sheriff and commissioner of revenue, Charles Jett and Scott Mayausky now must turn their attention toward the general election in the fall.
But in overwhelmingly Republican Stafford County, where the June primaries often determine November results, the upcoming fights figure to be easier than this week's party vote.
"Absolutely these guys will win," said John Van Hoy, chairman of the Republican Party in Stafford. "Both are very strong candidates; we're in good shape."
In a sometimes bitter and extremely expensive primary, Jett soundly defeated G.W. "Jerry" Tolson, a former colleague and Quantico officer, 5,137 to 1,674. Mayausky also won by a wide margin, outdistancing Board of Supervisors Chairman Kenneth T. Mitchell (R-Aquia) 4,978 to 1,635.
In the general election, Jett will face independent Chuck Feldbush, a detective in Prince William County, while Mayausky will run against John Harris, an independent and longtime member of the Stafford County Planning Commission.
Robert Franklin, an independent who announced his candidacy for the commissioner's race just two weeks ago, dropped out of the contest after Tuesday's primary.
"I was running because I was concerned with Ken Mitchell," said Franklin, who expressed serious doubts about Mitchell, who declared bankruptcy four years ago after his fledgling carpet business failed.
That leaves Mayausky and Harris to duke it out. Although Mayausky won easily Tuesday, he still must establish himself as a strong candidate in his own right and overcome the perception that he is too young and inexperienced for the position. "I want to know what experience he brings other than 24 months of window dressing as an appraiser," Harris said.
Harris, 41, is vice chairman of the Planning Commission and said that his experience in public service qualifies him for the job.
So far the 26-year-old Mayausky, an assistant in the Office of Commissioner of Revenue for the last two years, has framed himself as the natural successor to George L. Gordon, who has held the office for 57 years and has endorsed Mayausky.
Harris said Mayausky needs more than an endorsement. "A lot of folks in Stafford want to know who is running: Is it Scott, or is it George?" he said. "One day George will leave the office, and we don't know if this gentleman with his useful experience can do the job."
Mayausky could not be reached for comment.
Jett has the backing of the Sheriff's Department and of retiring Sheriff Ralph Williams. Feldbush does not have the organized support of either a political party or an organization.