Home 2015 elections Winners and Losers: Virginia Primaries 2015 Edition

Winners and Losers: Virginia Primaries 2015 Edition


Here are a few winners and losers from the primaries held in Virgina last night that I believe are worth highlighting. As always, this list isn’t meant to be comprehensive, just some stuff that jumped out at me, so please add winners and losers of your own in the comments section. Thanks.


1. “Working Families” Coalition; Charlie Jackson: These guys –  – Mid-Atlantic Laborers Union/LIUNA, CASA in Action, NAKASEC Action Fund, SEIU Virginia 512, SEIU 32BJ, UFCW Local 400 – waded into four contested Democratic primary contests, endorsing Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey for Arlington County Board; Penelope Gross for Fairfax County Board; Rosalyn “Roz” Dance for State Senate from the 16th district; and Steve Heretick for House of Delegates from the 79th district. They won them all, with a combination of money, door knocking, phone banking, etc. Hopefully, the Virginia Democratic leadership will take notice! Also, Charlie Jackson, the Democratic political strategist and 10th CD Democratic chair who helped mastermind all this, must have a big smile on his face this morning. 🙂

2. Del. Scott Surovell: Can we say “kingmaker?” He rolled the dice, endorsed Dan Storck over Tim Sargeant for Mt. Vernon District Supervisor, and came out on top last night. Surovell also saw his friend and political ally Paul Krizek sweep to victory. Not too shabby for one evening. Throw in Ben Tribbett as a “winner” here, since he played a role in all this behind the scenes.

3. Team Katie Cristol: Wow, just wow. Cristol came out of nowhere and performed impressively at debates, but she also won the Democratic nomination for Arlington County Board last night because of the strong campaign team behind her (and she also ran a heckuva campaign, let’s face it!). That includes the “Working Families” coalition, of course, but also everyone involved (e.g., her husband, Steve; political strategist Ian Redman, volunteers like Brian Devine) in that effort. Nice job!

4. Team Christian Dorsey: He went into this as a strong favorite to pick up one of the two Arlington County Board Democratic nomination slots, and he did. Mission accomplished by Lauren Hall, Virginia Robinson, Stephanie Clifford, Ingrid Morroy, and the many others involved in this effort. I didn’t endorse Christian, but he’s a really good, sharp guy who should make a fine addition to the Board. Mazel tov!

5. The Stolle Family: The Virginian Pilot headline (“Siobhan Dunnavant wins GOP primary, could become 4th Stolle elected”) says it all on this one.

6. Arlington County Board Member Libby Garvey: I hate putting her on this list, as i view her as a negative, damaging, corrosive force in Arlington politics. Still, she’s got to be happy that the folks most hostile to her lost last night, while someone widely viewed as an ally, Christian Dorsey (for his part, he insists he will be fiercely independent of anyone/everyone, and I hope that’s the case!), won. Not a bad night, all in all.

7. Mike Signer: He was determined to get elected to something (e.g., Lt. Governor in 2009), and he finally did…to the Charlottesville City Council. Signer also recently came out with a book, Becoming Madison: The Extraordinary Origins of the Least Likely Founding Father, and became a father (if not a Founding Father – lol) for the first time. Mazel tov to Mike, who’s definitely in the “winners” category right now.

8. Bill Howell: He could have been the next Eric Cantor, but instead he won resoundingly by working hard, raising tons of money, not taking anything for granted, and did I mention working hard? 🙂

9. Hal Parrish: The Republican nominee in the 29th State Senate District probably has a big smile on his face this morning, after watching the anemic turnout in the Democratic primary yesterday (and also the results).

10. Team Steve Heretick: A superb victory over the seemingly invincible Del. Johnny Joannou (calls himself a “D,” but more of a Republican or even Tea Partier). Nice job!

11. Team Mark Levine: Very impressive, not sure how they did it exactly, but the multi-page mailer they sent out, telling the story of Mark’s heroic efforts to find justice for his murdered sister (and for all women who are victims of domestic violence), has gotten rave reviews. Anyway, great job by Levine’s entire team (particularly campaign manager Jacob Weinberg) in putting together a winning campaign here, despite basically zero establishment support, endorsements, etc.! Also, I’ve got to say, I’m very much looking forward to watching Mark go after far-right-wing lunacy, idiocy, etc. in Richmond. Something tells me I’ll be posting a LOT of Mark Levine video in the coming years. 🙂


1. Terry McAuliffe: He got the candidate he  wanted – Dan Gecker – in the potentially crucial 10th State Senate district (although I have grave doubts that Gecker can motivate the base, in what is clearly a base election, to turn out this November). On the other hand, McAuliffe’s hopes of taking back the State Senate suffered a major blow yesterday, as longtime Democrat Don Caldwell threw his hat in the ring as a third-party candidate against incumbent Democratic Senator John Edwards. If Edwards loses in November, which now appears to be a serious possibility (maybe even a probability), Democrats’ chances of taking back the State Senate are close to zero.

2. Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw: Can you lose by winning? Last night, Saslaw got the two candidates – Dan Gecker and Jeremy McPike – he wanted. However, my argument is that both will struggle to win this November for a variety of reasons. Also, see the item about John Edwards above. In short, Saslaw’s chances of becoming Majority Leader again are not looking good right now, even if he doesn’t realize that yet.

3. Lee Hockstader/Washington Post: The Post’s/Lee’s endorsements both hit and missed last night. For instance, Katie Cristol, Paul Krizek and Penny Gross – all of whom the Post/Lee Hockstader endorsed – won last night. On the other hand, Atif Qarni, Craig Fifer, Bill Euille, Peter Fallon and Tim Sargeant – again endorsed by the Post – all lost. So much for the Post’s/Lee Hockstader’s endorsements having much “juice.”

4. Blue Virginia/Yours Truly: Some of my picks (e.g., Paul Krizek, Steve Heretick) won last night, some didn’t (e.g., Peter Fallon, Craig Fifer, Emily Francis, Atif Qarni). Mixed bag, leaning towards the “losers” side.

5. Patrick Hope: Endorsed some winners (Christian Dorsey, Dan Storck, Paul Krizek), endorsed some losers (Peter Fallon, Bill Euille, Julie Jakopic). Mixed bag.


1. Justin Fairfax: Endorsed and worked for four candidates – Michael Futrell, Jack Dobbyn, Clarence Tong and Derrick Wood – all of whom (particularly Futrell, Dobbyn and Wood, all of whom got trounced) lost badly last night. Not much to show for someone who is clearly angling for statewide office in 2017. Oh, and as an added bonus, Fairfax endorsed Mark Cannady against Scott Surovell (!!!). Zero political judgment with this guy.

2. Del. Rob Krupicka: Attempted to annoint his friend Julie Jakopic as his successor in the Virginia House of Delegates; she finished third last night. Also endorsed Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille for reelection; he lost. Also endorsed James Lander for Arlington County Board; he finished fifth. Not a good night for Krupicka, but on the other hand, he gets to make (and presumably sample) doughnuts for a living, rather than having to deal with being in a tiny/powerless House of Delegates minority, sitting in traffic on I-95, etc.

3. Michael Futrell: He got crushed (as expected) last night after running a poor/nonexistent campaign (including a website with all kinds of stuff “borrowed” without attribution from other people’s sites). On the other hand, he might not a total “loser,” because he could end up back in the House of Delegates, given that the candidate who had replaced him on the ballot (Rod Hall) announced he was dropping out. That means Democrats need to find a new nominee in House District 2, and Michael Futrell is (amazingly) one of the possibilities. However, I’m told this morning that this is less likely than I had thought, and I hope that’s the case; time for some new blood here!

4. Tea Party: Definitely didn’t have a good night. First, Tea Partier and all-around rabble rouser Susan Stimpson lost badly (62%-38%) to House Speaker Bill Howell. Second, right-wing nutjob Del. Mark Berg lost to what the Washington Post described as “a more moderate Republican, Christopher E. Collins.” Third, Sen. Emmett Hanger, who committed the heresy of supporting Medicaid expansion in Virginia, easily defeated Tea Partier Dan Moxley. Fourth, Siobhan Dunnavant – who reportedly considered running as a Democrat, even meeting with Dick Saslaw and Donald McEachin to discuss it – defeated “Newt Gingrich staffer Vincent Haley.” Yes, Tea Partier Amanda Chase won last night, but the guy she defeated – Sen. Steve Martin – is about as far right wing as you can get in this country. I’m also told by Dan Sullivan that “the results in Bedford County were a slap in the face to the local TEA Party/Republican Committee. 2 of 3 Supervisors lost to more moderate challengers.” Oh, and as an added bonus. Tea Party-backed “Democrat” Del. Johnny Joannou also lost last night. #FAIL all around for the Tea Partiers.

5. Alex McMurtrie campaign: Spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to finish…dead last, with 19% of the vote. Lame.

6. Team Peter Fallon: What on earth happened here? By most accounts, Fallon was a strong favorite to win one of the two Arlington County Board Democratic nominations, but he somehow ended up finishing third. Something clearly went wrong there, the question is what?

7. John Fredericks: I hadn’t even thought of this one, but a reader emailed me and said, “I’m pretty sure John Fredericks was off by a mile. Picked Joannou, Preston, etc. Not sure he got anything right.” I’d add that Fredericks also slammed Siobhan Dunnavant, who won last night.

8. Adam Ebbin: Endorsed Craig Fifer (finished second to Mark Levine, who Ebbin almost certainly didn’t want to see win, as Levine could eventually challenge him for either State Senate or House of Representatives) and James Lander (finished fifth). Ouch. (note: I’ve been reminded that Ebbin also endorsed Paul Krizek, who won)

9. Mary Margaret Whipple: Endorsed James Lander and Andrew Schneider for Arlington County Board. Both lost.

10. Virginia Sierra Club: Endorsed Peter Fallon for Arlington County Board and Emily Francis for State Senate. Both lost.

11. Grover Norquist: Endorsed Susan Stimpson, lost badly.

12. Mark Obenshain: Endorsed Sen. Steve Martin for reelection, lost.

13. Emily Francis campaign: Was the protoypical progressive, environmentalist, low-budget, netroots-appealing candidate, but almost completely failed to engage with the progressive netroots both in Virginia and nationally. Inexplicable.

14. Arlington Sun Gazette: Endorsed James Lander (finished a distant fifth) and Peter Fallon (finished third) for Arlington County Board. Apparently, Arlington Democrats weren’t swayed in any way by the local paper’s endorsements.

15. “The doors”. Election after election, I am told how important “the doors” are. Yet election after election, I’m not sure I see it. For instance, in this election, door-knocking champ Charlie Conrad supported Clarence Tong, yet Tong fizzled and ended up finishing fourth. Also, Atif Qarni’s campmaign focused heavily on “the doors,” yet turnout was miniscule and Qarni finished second. I’m not arguing against door knocking, I’m arguing FOR a mult-faceted campaign that employs ALL the tools of campaigning – technology, social media, messaging, narrative, smartly targeted direct mail, etc. – in the year 2015. A great example is Scott Surovell, who uses all those tools – door knocks like crazy, is all over social media, you name it – and seems to do nothing but win, win, win some more.

16. Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette: I can’t imagine he’s happy this morning. As one Democratic friend wrote to me this morning, “it’ll be interesting to see the dynamic on the Board with the new set of five.  Makes me wonder if Jay Fisette may call it a day…”  

17. Tim Sargeant’s campaign for Mt. Vernon District Supervisor: At the outset, Sargeant was thought by many to be a strong favorite for this seat. He ended up running an underwhelming campaign and lost to a highly flawed opponent, Dan Storck.

18. Del. Mark Sickles, Supervisor Jeff McKay:  McKay got involved (on the losing side) in a primary in a neigboring supervisor’s seat against a guy he’s gotta work with for the next decade. Del. Mark Sickles also endorsed Tim Sargeant over Dan Storck…and lost.

19. Corporate media coverage: With few exceptions, it was shallow, spotty, and just outright lame. What else is new, sadly…

20. Voter turnout: Pathetic as always, even though it’s these primaries that in many/most cases determine who will win in November. Not sure why voters don’t “get” that.

21. Joe Morrissey: Just got this from an astute Virginia Dem political observer – “Morrissey is a big loser. His kingdom is in shambles. Joe Preston lost, Lee Young lost, Preston Brown lost and Alex McMurtrie lost.” Ouch.

  • Harry

    Joshua King named as the repacement for Rod Hall by the 2nd District Committee

  • Harry

    Atif’s a smart campaigner…but not that smart, when McPike, Futrell and Qarni all declared to run for the 29th I asked each to run on their own merits, to my knowledge, Futrell and McPike did that, Qarni on the otherhand ran a vile dispicable campaign, stealing door hangers, sending increasingly vile attack ads.  The approach backfired with many Qarni supporters turned off by his negative campaign, I spoke to 10-15 Qarni supporters who contacted me and told me they were no longer supporting Qarni and would be voting for Futrell or McPike.  It is unlikely Parish, who has a dubious record as Mayor of Manassas, is cheering about McPike being the nominee in that McPike will receive lavish support in his run to retain the seat in Democratic control.

  • Mt. Vernon Democrat

    You listed among the Winners the “analyst” who a week ago predicted a “distant third” for the ultimate winner of the Alexandria Mayoral primary, and did not even include the ultimate winner of the 45th district primary among his top three for that race.

    Perhaps, when looking at the Alexandria electorate, it might help to talk to actual voters instead of dealing with the echo chamber of campaign operatives…

  • alongthepike


    Results by % per candidate, overlaid on a map by precinct.  Green = more votes, red = fewer.  Click each precinct for full detail.

  • voteorsigh

    It looks more and more like the short sighted and short statured Scott Surovell is padding the deck beneath him with loonies and softballs so that nobody is there to challenge him when the time comes. Surovell is a self serving career politician.

  • essequamverderi

    No, I can’t imagine that Jay is very happy with the election result. However, given the turnout, what can we really make of this race? I think that Dorsey has a good chance of being elected but what about Cristol? No one doubts that she is smart, or energetic, but her lack of experience is troubling. Her opponents in the fall won’t be nearly as generous to her as her primary opponents were. I would have much preferred a Fallon or Lander given their deep experience with local issues.

  • marj_signer

    The Post ought to get rid of Hockstader. He’s an embarrassment.  

  • Kingstowne ExPat

    How about giving recognition to Mark Levine for running a winning campaign?  He didn’t have the endorsements (WaPo, this blog, sitting state reps. and senators) and was predicted to finish as low as fourth by some, yet pulled off an incredible victory in an impressive field.  All candidates in VA45 are good people and solid progressives, so this district would have been well-served regardless.  But, let’s acknowledge that Mark ran a great campaign and will be an excellent representative in Richmond who will work with his NoVa colleagues to make people’s lives better.

  • ObserverCollege

    AHC, APAH, and VOICE are all LOSERS from last night’s results. The Rousselot-Vihstadt-Garvey-Dorsey coalition has affordable housing in its crosshairs.

    Here’s the tell, from this Washington Post article:

    “If you look at the two of us together, the message that becomes clear is Arlington voters really responded to our message to expand affordable housing for people at all income levels and to ensure our schools maintain the high quality that makes Arlington a choice place for not only residents but also businesses,” he said.

    —See http://www.washingtonpost.com/

    Game, set, match. Note the “at all income levels” language. That’s the key. This means diluting the aid to people working as custodians, teachers, firefighters and dishwashers–not just the County housing grant to individuals but also the production of units committed to being legally “affordable” to them. Instead of giving help to people making say 60% (or less) of median income, give it to people who are making say the median income, or even more(!).

    Now when you do this, you have to find the money from somewhere. But federal and state tax credits for mixed-income housing will require units that are “committed affordable” for say 40-60 years into the future, meaning that you have to keep those units at say x% of median income. That means you can’t just get rid of these types of people. But if you take the money that goes to the “affordable housing” developments and turn them cash grants or givebacks to individuals, then all bets are off. You can call any rebate to individual citizens an “affordable housing” program. Nothing stops a supporter from naming as “affordable housing” the construction of purely luxury units where people holding vouchers can compete with “the market”. So long as you’re not actually pursuing any loans or grants that are dedicated to what the bank or grantor defines as “affordable housing”, you have free rein.

    The key is to get rid of the “economies of scale” that the nonprofit housing developers are able to generate. Those developers engage in mixed-income developments where market-rate units and bonus density subsidize the “committed affordable” units. If you can evaporate their potential projects through reallocation of resources AWAY from them and TOWARD property tax givebacks and vouchers to people making median income or higher, those developers won’t be able to build the “committed affordable units”. Once you’ve gotten rid of them, then, it’s hard to bring them back.

    Watch and learn. Libby will declare that we are spending too much on “multi-million dollar” projects that just line developers’ pockets. John will suggest that the needy armed with vouchers entering “the market” can do better than just funding these developers feeding at the trough. Christian will “defend” affordable housing, but agree to say reduce a project’s height by about ten feet–knowing full well that the financing collapses due to the loss of that bonus density (and the erasure of tax credits and grants and whatnot requiring that bonus density).

    People at AHC and APAH better polish up their resumes, as they’re not going to be doing much housing anymore in Arlington.

  • mrg.uva

    negative campaigns and “purity” campaigns in primary elections. We Democrats are not that party. Negative tactics only work in primaries when paired with a strong positive message (i.e. a contrast is provided.)

    I heard from so many people yesterday while knocking and at the polls that they would’ve considered Emily if she’d told them what she wanted to do other than bland talking points and attacking Dan. But mostly they were tired of feeling bullied at their front doors by over-enthusiastic Francis volunteers.

    Maybe Emily would’ve had a better chance if she’d done more to be a transformative figure, communicating what she wants to do and why, or how she could change the system with fresh energy rather than just tearing down Dan.

    It was a weird one. I think Dan’s going to prove tough to beat for Sturtevant in November.

  • Radical Virginia Gun Group Shows Political Impotence in State’s Primary Races

    “Virginia Citizens Defense League” goes 0-9 in GOP Primaries as candidates embracing extreme positions on guns fall flat

    RICHMOND – The self-described “premier organization in Virginia in support of…Second Amendment rights,” the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), endorsed nine different candidates in yesterday’s GOP primary races for the state House and Senate. Its candidates – who took extreme positions on the gun issue – lost in every case.

    “Gun groups like VCDL have long considered low-turnout, GOP primary elections to be their bread and butter,” said Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s Virginia State Director Lori Haas.  “Yesterday’s results demonstrate that their agenda is now too radical and unseemly even for this constituency. Common sense on gun violence prevention is prevailing, and that’s a good sign as we head into the 2015 general election in the Commonwealth.”

    The VCDL’s highest profile target was Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Bill Howell, about whom the gun group said the following: “[Speaker Howell] is not only establishment, he IS the establishment, and EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH IT! His cowardice in the face of controversy creates endless grief for Virginia’s gun owners.”

    VCDL took particular offense at what it described as Speaker Howell’s “craven tactics” in pocket vetoing gun bills that it endorsed. On Facebook, VCDL rallied its supporters to “depose the king” by supporting Howell’s primary opponent, Tea Party activist Sue Stimpson.  Nonetheless, Speaker Howell crushed Stimpson in the primary, garnering 62 percent of the vote.

    The Howell victory wasn’t the only bad news for VCDL. It also endorsed established incumbents Senator Steve Martin (11th) and Delegate Mark Berg (29th), challengers Bill Haley (Senate – 14th), Dan Moxley (Senate – 24th), and Harry Griego (House – 17th), and open seat candidates Craig Hudgins (Senate – 8th), Vince Haley (Senate – 12th), and Tim Ciampaglio (House – 2nd), all of whom lost. Ciampaglio, who recently highlighted his VCDL endorsement in a fundraising email, lost his contest against former Delegate Mark Dudenhefer by a whopping 20 percentage points.


  • You snooze you loose.

    Mayor (ALEXANDRIA CITY) Results by Precinct

    28 precincts of 28 (100.00%) reporting

    Candidate Votes Percent

    Allison Silberberg

    Democratic 5,044 37.54%

    William D. “Bill” Euille

    Democratic 4,732 35.22%

    Kerry J. Donley

    Democratic 3,661 27.25%


    Notable win in many ways for Alexandria City. It was a two cup coffee/tea morning for many. 🙂

    Thanks lowkell.

  • I am beyond honored to have been elected by Democratic primary voters across Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax County as our nominee for the House of Delegates in Virginia’s 45th District. Thank you to all the other candidates- Larry Altenburg, Craig Fifer, Julie Jakopic, and Clarence Tong- who ran a spirited, positive campaign and are smart, talented progressives who have done , and will continue to do, so much for our community.

    Thank you to my supporters who hit the polls today, my wonderful staff, and my volunteers who hosted house parties, phone-banked night after night, and knocked on more than 10,000 doors over the past few weeks. You all earned these votes, one conversation at a time, just as a grassroots campaign should.

    Above all, thank you, the voters of the 45th. You let me into your homes night after night to talk to me about the issues that concern you. You gave me cold glasses of water on hot May nights. You shared heartfelt stories of personal struggle. Every single day, you affirmed for me why this is the best community I could ever hope to represent. I work for you.

    Tonight, I promise to you I will do everything I can to represent the 45th District with respect and dignity, and with an unwavering commitment to the progressive values we all share. I will work with fellow delegates from both parties to move Virginia forward to help struggling families, protect our environment, and reform Richmond to make sure elected officials work for their constituents, not corporations.

    I hope I can count on you to join me going forward. When we work together, I know Virginia can do better.

    On to November.

    Thank you,

    Mark Levine

  • PassionateJus

    I don’t remember receiving a single piece of mail from his campaign, while I received 3 – 4 pieces from the Cristol campaign and 1 – 2 from all the others.

    I’d say that’s pretty bad. While my wife and I have lived in Arlington for just under 3 years, we have voted in every single election, including the recent school board caucuses.