Home Virginia Politics Winners and Losers: Primary 2011 Edition

Winners and Losers: Primary 2011 Edition


Here are a few winners and losers from last night that I think are worth highlighting.


1. Adam Ebbin. In talking to people the last few weeks, almost everyone was assuming that Ebbin would lose to Rob Krupicka. Instead, Ebbin won 39%-36%, a significant upset victory. Ebbin also made history as the first openly gay State Senator in Virginia history. Congratulations to Adam, as well as to LGBT Virginians, who now have a strong voice in Richmond to help stand up against the extreme, homophobic agenda of people like Ken Cuccinelli!

2. Janet Oleszek. She not only won last night, she beat the “machine,” such as it is, in Fairfax County. She also won after getting started very late. Chap Petersen also is a big winner in this one, as he backed Janet strongly, including in the closing mailer to voters. It wasn’t exactly Chap! vs. Sharon Bulova, but to the extent it was, Chap! won.

3. Alfonso Lopez. Won by a 2:1 margin last night, putting to rest any doubts about his willingness to work hard, to run a disciplined campaign, and to put together a strong coalition of grassroots and establishment supporters. That was impressive. Another winner in this context is Lopez’s campaign manager, Brian Straw, who now rewards himself by heading off to law school. Or, is that a punishment? (my attorney wife, who hated law school, would probably argue “yes!”) 🙂

4. Dick Black: I’m not going to get into Republican primaries too much here, but no doubt, Dick Black – despite being a bat**** crazy homophobe, infamous for sending plastic fetuses to lawmakers back when he was a delegate – won last night (38.8%-37.4%) in the 13th Senate district primary over the favorite, John Stirrup. This leads us to the next winner, on the Democratic side…

5. Shawn Mitchell. The Democratic nominee against Dick Black has got to be VERY happy this morning. After Black’s win last night, the Mitchell campaign fired off an email which said, in part, “We know from Dick Black’s eight years in Richmond that he is more interested in causing controversy than solving problems and will put his social agenda ahead of fixing the economy and creating jobs in Loudoun and Prince William Counties.” DPVA chimed in: “The Tea Party and the radical right got their candidate in the 13th Senate District with political opportunist and far-right extremist Dick Black winning a close race.” In short, Mitchell got the Republican opponent he wanted, definitely his best chance at victory in November. Now, we all have to help him beat crazy Dick Black, who truly would like to take us all back to the Stone Age.

6. Jeff Frederick. The former RPV chair, who was ousted for utter incompetence, staged a huge comeback last night in the 36th State Senate district, where he crushed Tito “the Builder” Muñoz by a 69%-31% margin. The question is whether this indicates that Frederick has truly unified the Republican Party behind him to face incumbent Senator Toddy Puller this fall. Let’s hope not, but last night was impressive for Frederick, nonetheless.

7. Mack Crounse (Democratic strategic communications firm): Went “3 for 3 in VA primaries tonight” with wins for Theo Stamos, Alfonso Lopez, and Barbara Favola. Impressive!


1. Washington Post. Endorsed in three Democratic primary races – the 30th and 31st Senate districts, the 49th House of Delegates district – of which two (30th and 31st) appeared to be truly competitive. The Post won one (Barbara Favola) big and lost one (Rob Krupicka) in a major upset. A so-so night for our friends at the Kaplan Post.

2. Rep. Gerry Connolly. Wisely kept out of the Oleszek-Wade primary for Braddock District Supervisor, while making it known that he was not pleased with Wade. That was smart. On the other hand, Connolly endorsed and worked for Rob Krupicka, who lost — including by over 100 votes in Fairfax County to Adam Ebbin.

3. Barbara Favola. She won last night, big time, over Jaime Areizaga-Soto, putting to rest doubts about her ability to win a competitive Democratic primary (which she’d never done before). Last night, she did so, convincingly. On the other hand, it was a particularly nasty primary, in which the two candidates and their supporters clearly developed animosity towards each other. We’ll see how this plays out in coming weeks, and whether Favola is able to achieve enough Democratic unity (so far, no Areizaga-Soto endorsement, from what I read this morning) and enthusiasm for her tough general election battle against the wealthy (not to mention “tanned, rested, and ready”) Republican Caren Merrick. The jury’s out right now…

4. Virginia NOW. Endorsed Adam Ebbin (big win!), Libby Garvey (big loss!), Alfonso Lopez (big win!), Stephanie Clifford (big loss!), Janet Oleszek (win!), and Barbara Favola (big win!). Mixed results, overall. Also, why on earth do interest groups endorse multiple candidates in contested races? I mean, would national NOW ever endorse multiple candidates in a Democratic primary for president (Hillary AND Obama in 2008?). I don’t get it.

5. LGBT Democrats of Virginia. Endorsed Janet Oleszek (win!), Adam Ebbin (win!), Jaime Areizaga-Soto (big loss!), Stephanie Clifford (big loss!) and Alfonso Lopez (big win!). Again, what’s with endorsing both candidates in a contested primary? I’m not a fan.

6. Environmental groups: A mixed bag here. The Virginia Sierra Club endorsed winners like Barbara Favola and Alfonso Lopez, but also losers like Rob Krupicka and Rick James. The Virginia LCV endorsed Adam Ebbin and Alfonso Lopez, both winners last night, but also endorsed Rick James, who was soundly beaten (60%-40%) last night by Del. Algie Howell. Kind of a mixed bag.

7. Progressive blogs. We didn’t make any official Blue Virginia endorsements this year, but the front page of this blog (and me personally) clearly favored Jaime Areizaga-Soto, Janet Oleszek, and Theo Stamos. In addition, according to a Blue Virginia poll we did in July, Adam Ebbin was the clear favorite of our readers over Rob Krupicka and Libby Garvey. Our candidates went two for three last night. Meanwhile, NLS endorsed Janet Oleszek (win!), Jaime Areizaga-Soto (loss!), and Stephanie Clifford (loss!), Adam Ebbin (win!), and Theo Stamos (win!). NLS went 3-2 in those 5 races (not sure if I missed any NLS endorsements).

8. Dick Saslaw and Mary Margaret Whipple. They got the candidate, Barbara Favola, they (badly) wanted last night in the 31st State Senate district. But in doing so, they made a lot of people angry and spent tens of thousands of precious dollars (all of which SHOULD have been used for the general election and the battle to keep control of the State Senate this fall) in the process. The phrase “winning ugly” comes to mind.

9. Patsy Ticer: The retiring Senator in the 30th district backed Libby Garvey and Stephanie Clifford, both of whom lost badly. However, Ticer also gave money to Adam Ebbin, who won. And she endorsed Barbara Favola, who also won. All in all, a mixed bag for Patsy Ticer.


1. Chadderdon Group. The Alexandria-based direct mail firm earned over $250,000 for its work with Rob Krupicka in the 30th Senate district and Jaime Areizaga-Soto in the 31st Senate district. Both candidates lost: in Jaime’s case, by a wide margin; in Rob’s case, in a major upset of the consensus favorite in the race. (note: Chadderdon also earned $9,800 from Barbara Favola in the 31st before switching to Areizaga-Soto, which is a highly unusual move for a direct mail firm).

2. Englin Consulting. Earned over $45,000 providing political consulting services to Rob Krupicka and Jaime Areizaga-Soto. Both candidates lost (Jaime in a wipeout, Krupicka in an upset loss after being the favorite from Day #1).

3. Del. David Englin. Endorsed Rob Krupicka and Jaime Areizaga-Soto, both of whom lost last night. Del. Englin also issued a statement condemning “Barbara Favola’s racist statements that Jaime Areizaga-Soto cannot win or effectively represent us because of his ethnicity.” We’ll see how this goes over with Del. Englin’s colleagues in Richmond, but I’ve definitely heard some grumbling.

4. Sharon Bulova. Endorsed and STRONGLY campaigned for Christopher Wade, a self-described McCain-Palin supporter in 2008 and a lifelong Republican who gave no reason whatsoever why he “switched” parties to run as a Democrat for Braddock District Supervisor. “McCain-Palin Dude,” as I call him, lost to a real Democrat, Janet Oleszek, who defeated not just him but the Sharon Bulova political machine, such as it is (and it ain’t much, apparently – lol!).

5. Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille and Vice Mayor Kerry Donley. Both endorsed Rob Krupicka for the 30th State Senate district, about half of which is in Alexandria City. Krupicka won Alexandria, but not by nearly a wide enough margin (48%-35%) over Adam Ebbin to compensate for losses in Arlington County (where Krupicka got just 14% of the vote) and in Fairfax County (where Krupicka lost to Ebbin, 40%-35%). Not much of a political machine in Alexandria, it seems.

6. George Allen: Strongly endorsed Tito Muñoz, who was wiped out last night by Jeff Frederick. We might also want to add Sarah Palin (who made Muñoz famous in the first place, back in 2008) and Andrew Breitbart (who called Muñoz “one of the greatest voices” in the Tea Party) to this list. In fact, what the heck, we will! 🙂

7. Democracy: There were very few contested races yesterday, which is pathetic in and of itself. Ideally, in a democracy, it seems to me that there should be frequent primaries of incumbents. We certainly didn’t have that yesterday, particularly on the Democratic side. As for the primaries that actually DID take place, turnout was pitiful (e.g., 7% and 8%, respectively, in the 30th and 31st Senate districts). I really don’t know how a democracy can function effectively when 90%+ of registered voters don’t exercise their right, and in my view obligation, to cast a ballot. Ugh.

  • totallynext

    As I said before, I truly believe Adams strong showing in many precincts in mv district is because of his grassroots approach.  Direct voter canvas.  And endorsement by Scott surovell.  This is one district where dem voters listen to their delegate.    

  • Cool_Arrow

    Good list here. I live in the 30th district and was a Rob supporter. I definitely agree with having Adam as a winner as I have no problem at all voting for Adam in the general (not that it will be a close race or competitive) but Adam didn’t do anything that rubbed me the wrong way. I’m happy to call him my next State Senator.

    A big loser is sanity. We know the answer to this but why in the world would voters in the 13th go out and vote for Black? He may just go out and blow it for them! Definitely gives the Dems a pickup opportunity that they need to go after and hard. I’m encouraged by their press release. Shawn Mitchell is going to need some cash and he’s going to need some help. Black may just be able to sink himself but Mitchell needs to get out there and remind people (especially since there are a lot of new people to that district) all about who Black is.

  • Not a good night for Stirrup, to put it mildly.  

  • lsockett

    I am so happy with B. Favola and A. Ebbin’s wins.  

    In my opinion, Jaime A-Soto was the first to go negative in his race against B. Favola.  I remember back in early summer when I received the first mailed circular from the Jaime A-Soto campaign going strongly negative against B. Favola — I was shocked, since I had never really seen anything like that in Arlington (other than the County Comptroller race a few years ago).  That made a very negative impression on me.  

    And then for Jaime A-Soto not to endorse B. Favola last night — not a classy move.    

    I knew Adam Ebbin was going to win — I gave his campaign money even though I’m not in his district.  The guy is really well liked even by his Republican colleagues in Richmond.  He is a good guy who knows his business and has already been doing a great job on the House side.  I think the Wash. Post failing to endorse Ebbin just shows the Post’s own biases — the Post said that Krupicka supposedly had more “business” credentials, but what about the fact that A. Ebbin had already been a House legislator?!  And A. Ebbin’s calm and even-handed reaction to the W. Post’s Krupicka endorsement and the kerfuffle between the Libby Garvey and the Krupicka campaign show what a classy and good guy he is.  Doesn’t Ebbin have to go up against a Republican opponent in this race in November?  

    By the way, as usual, it looked to me that the voters yesterday overwhelmingly skewed “old” (i.e., 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s), at least at my voting place at Taylor Elementary School.  As my husband says, why is it that young people will wait hours at the Apple Store to buy a new Ipad or Iphone, but won’t wait 10 minutes at a voting booth?  

    L. Sockett

  • Matt_H

    Winner or loser?

  • From the Arlington County Democratic Committee:

    Arlington Democrats United After Primary: Ready for November

    Arlington, VA – Following the results of last night’s Democratic primary in Arlington, the Arlington County Democratic Committee expressed unity and support for Democratic nominees Adam Ebbin, Barbara Favola, Alfonso Lopez, and Theo Stamos as the focus now shifts to November. Arlington County Democratic Committee Chair Mike Lieberman offered the following statement:

    “The Arlington Democrats offer our sincere congratulations to Adam Ebbin, Barbara Favola, Alfonso Lopez, and Theo Stamos. For months, our Democratic candidates have waged energetic and spirited primary campaigns, and we look forward to all campaigns being able to turn this energy into supporting our united Democratic ticket in November. ”

    ACDC’s joint campaign will be run this year by three co-chairs – Lauren Hall, Alan Howze, and School Board Member Sally Baird. Their goal is to run a coordinated and united campaign to elect the full Democratic ticket in Arlington in November.

    Candidates in each contested primary offered the following statements:

    State Senate – 31st District

    Barbara Favola – “I want to thank the voters in the 31st District for saying “yes” to a campaign based on a vision of a more inclusive and progressive Virginia. This campaign also demonstrated that Mr. Areizaga-Soto and I share the same strong commitment to Democratic values. I applaud Mr. Areizaga-Soto’s service to the Democratic Party and to the Country. His talents will be a significant asset in the upcoming battle to retain the 31st Senate seat.

    Jaime Areizaga-Soto – “After a long and hard-fought Primary campaign, I look forward to working side-by-side with all Arlington Democrats to keep the Democratic majority in the Virginia Senate.”

    State Senate – 30th District

    Adam Ebbin – “Thank you to the many friends in Arlington and across the district whose support and dedication made this victory possible. I’d also like to thank Rob and Libby for their years of service. I am glad that each of them will continue to serve Northern Virginia in their present positions, and I look forward to working closely with them as their State Senator. With the primary behind us, now is the time to come together as Democrats to protect our Senate majority and expand our delegation in the House.”

    Rob Krupicka – “Let me be the first to congratulate my friend Adam Ebbin on his victory. His record of service is truly admirable and I look forward to many more years of strong leadership in the State Senate.”

    Libby Garvey – “I want to congratulate Adam Ebbin on his nomination, and I look forward to working together with him and all Democrats to keep the Senate in Democratic hands. I also want to thank the voters of the 30th District, my supporters and all the volunteers who have worked so hard over the 9 months. Finally, I want to thank Patsy Ticer for her steadfast support. I’ll always be honored to have had her endorsement.”

    House of Delegates – 49th District

    Alfonso Lopez – “I am honored by the confidence Arlington voters have placed in me and am so proud of our team for running a great campaign. Stephanie ran a spirited campaign and demonstrated an enthusiasm for public service that will benefit Arlington for years to come.  I look forward to working together with her on the many community priorities we share.”

    Stephanie Clifford – “Over the course of the campaign, Alfonso and I have been jointly endorsed by several organizations. It’s because we share the same progressive values that have made the 49th District great. I have spoken with many members of our community and I am confident that Alfonso will carry their voices to Richmond.”

    Commonwealth’s Attorney

    Theo Stamos – “I am both honored and humbled by the results of this evening’s election. To all of our friends – old and new – thank you for the confidence you have shown in me; thank you for your friendship, and thank you for voting for me for this very important position. Let me also thank David Deane for running such a thoughtful and dignified campaign. I appreciate his professionalism and the many contributions he made to this process and to the Democratic Party.”

    David Deane – “I want to send out a heartfelt thank you to the voters of Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, the Arlington County Democratic Party, and all who helped to work on my campaign. This was a difficult race, as I had to run against an excellent attorney, who I both like and respect, Ms. Theo Stamos. I am sure she will tackle this next professional challenge with the same grace and professionalism that she has always exhibited.”

  • Not sure why they’re all red, maybe from being out in the sun shaking so many voters hands? 🙂

  • Captain Obvious

    David’s condemnation of the plainly racist comments made by Favola was NOT a losing move; it was brave and just.  Thank you, Delegate Englin, for speaking out on this issue.

  • sbenglin

    Congratulations to my next Senator Adam Ebbin, to Barbara Favola, and to all of the winners from yesterday.

    Yep, it was a tough day for Englin Consulting. I remain incredibly proud of our work and that of Rob and Jaime.

    When we first started working with Jaime he polled at 4%.  We knew, as did he, that running a heavily-accented Latino man against the wishes of the entire Arlington establishment and Senate leadership’s chosen candidate in an August Primary in a district that stretched to Loudon would be an incredibly tough battle we weren’t likely to win. It speaks volumes about Jaime that he fully understood the headwinds and decided to do what many others who were interested in the seat decided not to muster: he forged ahead and gave it his all. Win or lose, those are the kinds of candidates I support with my vote, my money, and my work. I’m honored to have had the opportunity to work with Jaime and his incredible team and would do it again in a heartbeat.

    Also on Jaime’s race, I think more props are due:

    *To Lowell, who didn’t just report and blog on the race, but actually made a ton of phone calls, turned out a ton of volunteers and worked on the ground as well as online. He put his sweat where his mouth was, and that always deserves props.

    *To Mark Keam, Scott Surovell, Kaye Kory (a 2007 Englin Consulting win), David, and (more quietly) Patrick Hope for having the guts to speak up when they saw something amiss.  Yep, there will be grumbling among their colleagues, but all five deserve props for sticking their necks out anyway because they thought it was the right thing to do.

    In the 30th, it speaks to the quality of Rob as a candidate and his campaign that the conventional wisdom now is that he was always the favorite.  Not true – Adam was the favorite back in the day.  Rob and a dedicated team of staff and volunteers made more than 100,000 voter contacts since January and made it look like it was his to lose. I decided to work for Rob when I decided to vote for Rob – I regret neither decision even as I look forward to supporting Adam as my Senator.

    My firm takes on work that we believe in, even when it’s bad for our win-loss record.  It’s why we work for long-shot candidates (though I have to admit a 4% baseline is the longest-shot I’ve ever tried) and hard-to-win causes like changing federal transportation policy to make it more transit friendly, college access programs for low-income students, community pharmacists, budget transparency and more.  

    So, yes, tough day for EC yesterday but we’re honored to have worked with two awesome candidates and are back at it today.

  • mrg.uva

    “The Alexandria-based direct mail firm earned over $250,000” in two off-year elections.  Sounds like a win to me.  People always seem to forget that consultants are businesses as well.  They have to make money.

  • MBS_Arlington

    In the case of Virginia NOW, we are a grassroots and participatory organization and our members have varying views about the most effective ways to realize our goals of equality and empowerment. In our PAC process, we had extensive discussion and we endorsed with the intention of representing the various views that were expressed.

    Additionally, this was a primary with progressive Democrats among whom there was little difference on the issues (although other considerations came into play). In the general, we most likely will endorse only one candidate in a race.

  • Bwana

    …but if what I read is correct then perhaps Chap Petersen should be listed among the winners.  He endorsed Janet Oleszek in the face of a Chairman Bulova pull for Wade.  Chap campaigned for Janet, and put out a mailing in support of her (while notable Wade backers were nowhere to be seen).  In doing so he made common cause with Leslie Byrne, his opponent in the 2005 primary.

    If my take above is correct, this victorious involvement in a party Primary (especially with Connolly coming off a close 2010 election win and not being a winner himself yesterday) may make Chap even more of a top rank Northern Virginia Democrat/statewide candidate as we move toward 2013.