Towns and cities in Virginia will hold elections for mayor, local councils and school boards Tuesday, with races focused on issues ranging from rezoning to traffic and crowded classrooms.
In Northern Virginia, election campaigns in municipalities in Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun and Fauquier counties have mostly centered on how to keep the character of smaller communities intact amid steady growth in the Washington region.
That is particularly the case in Fairfax City, where eight candidates are vying for six council seats. Fairfax Mayor David L. Meyer is unopposed in his bid for a second term.
The city of roughly 25,000 residents was unnerved by the 2016 arrest of longtime mayor Scott Silverthorne in a drugs-for-sex undercover operation.
Since then, the community has been mostly focused on the potential effects of a handful of building projects around the city. Among them: a $150 million development near the Fairfax Circle intersection that will replace a long-vacant strip mall with new stores, restaurants and about 400 townhouses and apartments.
“There is an understandable concern among the citizens about how many people should be in the city,” said Meyer, who replaced Silverthorne in a 2017 special election. “The real challenge for leadership is the question of balance, finding that right mix.”
Four council incumbents are running for another term: Michael J. DeMarco, Jennifer E. Passey, Janice B. Miller and Jon R. Stehle Jr.
Other candidates for the at-large council seats are: Joe Harmon, a small-business owner and city planning commission member; So Lim, owner of a local insurance agency; Tom Ross, a retired assistant director for the National Park Service and former chair of the city’s electoral board; and Sang Yi, a staff director of a congressional subcommittee on natural resources. Council members Jeffrey C. Greenfield and Eleanor D. Schmidt are not seeking reelection.
In Loudoun, Purcellville Mayor Kwasi Fraser is facing a challenge from Christopher Thompson, the town’s building code enforcement administrator. That race is partly fueled by a controversy that stemmed from the attempted firing of the town’s police chief last year.
Purcellville Councilman Ted Greenly, who was appointed to fill a vacancy this year, is seeking reelection to one of three open town council seats. The other candidates are: Joel Grewe, director of a Christian leadership program for teens; Tip Stinnette, chair of the town’s planning commission; and Steve Warfield, a marketing manager for Costco.
Council members Doug McCollum and Karen Jimmerson are not seeking reelection.
Local elections will also take place in Clifton, Haymarket, Dumfries, Occoquan and Vienna. The town of Herndon is scheduled to hold its local elections in November.
All of those communities are grappling with a steady increase in road traffic that has come with new residential and commercial development in recent years.
The main goal is “to maintain that history and keep that community feel while managing the growth that’s really around us,” said Vienna Mayor Laurie A. DiRocco. “Vienna really wants to keep that small-town feel.”
DiRocco and Vienna council members Linda Colbert and Pasha Majdi are running unopposed Tuesday.