Election canvassers from both parties have been combing through Fairfax County voter records all day Wednesday, where they found one issue so far: a problem with the tally in the Cameron Glen precinct, which led to a more than 100-vote flip in Republican candidate Ed Gillespie’s favor, said Brian Schoeneman,
Secretary of the Fairfax County Electoral Board.
The original Cameron Glen tally was Gillespie 514, Mark Warner 770 and Libertarian Robert Sarvis,29. Schoeneman said there was a counting error, and Warner’s total should have been 660.
Officials are counting the votes because the election for U.S. Senate is still so close. At last count, incumbent Democrat Warner had 49.10 percent and challenger Ed Gillespie had 48.37 percent.
Warner still leads by 53,ooo votes in Fairfax County, the commonwealth’s most populous jurisdiction. The Associated Press said Wednesday afternoon Warner leads by 13,000 votes overall.
Still, Warner made a victory speech at his campaign headquarters late Tuesday.
“I want to congratulate Ed Gillespie,” Warner said. “He ran a hard fought campaign. I’ve known what its meant to come up a little bit short against a Warner a few years back. But I wish him and I wish his family well. I know he will stay involved in Virginia and national politics.”
The canvass is expected to go on until Friday.
Gillespie, the former Republican National Committee Chair, has not conceded the race.
“It’s a testament to our volunteers and their incredible efforts that we were outspent two-to-one and yet the most recent unofficial tally has us separated by less than a percentage point out of more than 2 million votes cast,” Gillespie said in a statement. “Now we owe it to the voters of Virginia to respect the canvassing process that is underway to get an official result. We will be watching the results closely so that we can ensure Virginians have confidence in the accuracy of the results.
“It was an honor to run, and I will respect the decision reached by Virginia’s voters.”
A recount could happen if the trailing candidate requests it. If the margin of votes is less than half a percent of the total vote, the candidate can appeal to the State Board of Elections to request a recount, which the government will finance. If the margin is greater than 0.5 percent but less than one percent of total vote, the candidate may also request a recount, but has to pay for himself.
Virginia is still counting the votes for U.S. Senator, with incumbent Democrat holding a slim lead on Republican challenger Ed Gillespie. But Fairfax County’s votes have been totaled, and Warner won every precinct in Reston.
Here is a look at precinct-by-precinct Reston voting for Senate and for U.S. House. In the House 11th District, which includes Reston, incumbent Democrat Gerry Connolly won re-election, defeating first time candidate and human rights activist Suzanne Scholte.
Dogwood (Voter turnout 41.5 percent)
- Senate: Gillespie, 484; Warner, 1,070; Sarvis (L), 58
- House: Scholte, 529; Connolly, 1,040
Hunters Woods (59.7 percent)
- Senate: Gillespie, 505; Warner, 914; Sarvis, 24
- House: Scholte, 529; Connolly, 852
Reston 1 (40 percent)
- Senate: Gillespie, 264; Warner, 794; Sarvis, 29
- House: Scholte, 286; Connolly, 763
Reston 2 (46 percent)
- Senate: Gillespie, 343; Warner 968; Sarvis, 36
- House: Scholte, 367; Connolly, 927
Reston 3 (51.9 percent)
- Senate: Gillespie, 220; Warner, 777; Sarvis 24
- House: Scholte, 230; Connolly, 752
Glade (53.6 percent)
- Senate: Gillespie, 504; Warner: 1,289; Sarvis, 49
- House: Scholte, 551; Connolly, 1,226
South Lakes (50 percent)
- Senate: Gillespie, 565; Warner, 1,471; Sarvis, 40
- House: Scholte, 620; Connolly, 1,393
Terraset (39.9 percent)
- Senate: Gillespie, 373; Warner, 1,035; Sarvis, 44
- House: Scholte, 396; Connolly, 994
Sunrise Vallley (55.6 percent)
- Senate: Gillespie, 390; Warner, 516; Sarvis, 15
- House: Scholte, 412; Connolly, 475
North Point (46 percent)
- Senate: Gillespie, 797; Warner, 1,207; Sarvis, 41
- House: Scholte, 856; Connolly, 1,133
Aldrin (51 percent)
- Senate: Gillespie, 876; Warner, 1,320; Sarvis, 38
- House: Scholte, 946; Connolly, 1,233
Cameron Glen (40.7 percent)
- Senate: Gillespie, 514; Warner, 760; Sarvis, 29
- House: Scholte, 540; Connolly, 627
For complete Fairfax County results, see this report from the Fairfax County Board of Elections.
(Updated Wednesday, 7 a.m.)
Virginia 11th District Rep. Gerry Connolly (D) won another term to the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, defeating main challenger Suzanne Scholte (R).
Connolly was declared the winner about 9 p.m. When all the votes were in, Connolly had 57 percent of the them to Scholte’s 40 percent. Joe Galdo (Green) and Marc Harrold (Libertarian) each earned less than 2 percent of the vote.
The 2014 midterm election marked Reston voters’ return to Connolly’s congressional district. Reston had been in the Virginia 8th District (then represented by Democrat Jim Moran) for a decade before 2010 redistricting returned the heavily Democratic bloc to the 11th.
Connolly, a former Chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, has been in Congress since 2008.
At his campaign gathering in Crystal City Tuesday night, Connolly thanked the 11th District voters “for placing your trust in me once again.”
“I shall strive to redeem their trust and to honor their values in all I do,” Connolly said.
Tuesday night’s victory marked the 10th consecutive election win for Connolly.
“We’re a divided country. It’s not just Congress that’s divided; our communities are divided: and our states are divided. And that’s because we share some values and we differ on others,” Connolly said.
Nearby, Republican State Del. Barbara Comstock was an easy winner (57 percent of the vote) over Democratic Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust (39 percent) in the 10th District. In the 8th, Don Beyer (D) earned 67 percent of the vote to defeat several challengers.
The two questions asked to Fairfax County voters also passed by large margins.
A Constitutional amendment allowing the Virginia General Assembly to provide property tax exemption to surviving spouses of an armed forces member killed in action passed with 197,088 Fairfax County voters saying yes and 32,373 voting no.
Fairfax County also asked voters to authorize a $100 million transportation bond, which received more than 164,000 favorable votes.
The transportation bond is slated to provide:
- Spot road improvements to increase roadway capacity, reduce congestion, improve safety, and improve transit access ($16 million)
- Pedestrian improvements to improve capacity, enhance safety and complete missing pedestrian links that connect neighborhoods, and improve access to schools, Metrorail stations and activity centers ($78 million)
- Bicycle improvements that include developing new bicycle facilities, constructing trails, adding bicycle parking and enhancing accessibility ($6 million)
The Senate race between Mark Warner (D) and Ed Gillespie (R) was close and still being counted Tuesday night.
Photo: Gerry Connolly addresses supporters in Crystal City Tuesday night/Credit: Connolly campaign
Among the questions: the Affordable Care Act, balancing the budget, the Marketplace Fairness Act, Virginia’s economy and student loan debt.
But the answers seemed to return to two themes: Gillespie pairing Warner with President Barack Obama and Warner pointing out his record of bipartisanship.
The event — sponsored by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, along with chambers from Loudoun, Fredericksburg, and Prince William — was not a debate. The candidates appeared separately and were asked questions from a panel of chamber reps, as well as follow-ups from moderator Derek McGinty from WUSA 9 TV.
Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chair, said Warner, first elected to the Senate in 2008, is not representing Virginia’s best interests.
“He has voted 97 percent of time with Obama,” said Gillespie. “Instead of being a vote for us, he has been a blank check for president Obama. Since Warner and Obama took office, we have nearly twice as many people go on food stamps than we have had jobs created.”
Warner pointed out that every piece of legislation he has worked on in the Senate has been alongside a Republican counterpart. He said Gillespie comes from a partisan world where it is always Republican vs. Democrats.
“If there is ever a time to drop partisanship and come together, that time is now,” said Warner. “If you want someone able to take arrows from both sides, I would respectfully ask you to rehire me. Don’t lose heart — there are more good people with goodwill in both parties. We have just got to and make it safe for them to work together again.”
Gillespie said too many Virginians are being squeezed in an economy with rising food and energy costs and slow job growth. “Some say we have to accept economic conditions as the new normal,” he said. “The new normal is the old mediocre — and we can do better. This is the result of bad policies and government grown too big.”
Gillespie repeatedly referred to his five-point plan, called EG2 (“Ed Gillespie’s Agenda for Economic Growth). His main points: Replace the Affordable Care Act, which he calls the single biggest drag on our economy; Unleash energy, starting with drilling off Virginia’s coast; Provide tax and regulatory relief; education reform and cutting wasteful spending and concentrate on beefing up defense.
Warner says his career record speaks for itself. He referred to his term as Virginia governor (2002-2006), in which he inherited a deficit and left with a $1 billion surplus, a ranking as the best state in which to do business and the creation of 130,000 new jobs.
“As senator, I have tried to take that same approach,” he said. “My record is simple. When I agree with the president, I work with him. When I don’t, I step up.”
Warner cited across-the-aisle examples such as calling on the administration to stand up to Russian President Vladmir Putin and to build broader coalition against ISIL. Meanwhile, Warner called last year’s sequestration “stupidity on steroids,” even though he was among the 74 senators — a bipartisan mix — that voted in favor of it.
“The alternative was another government shut down, which would have been worse,” he said. “We have got to take on entitlement reform and tax reform. Until we grapple with that, we are not going to get our balance sheet in order.”
He also said the ACA is flawed and the challenge is now to fix it, not repeal it.
“What I hear constantly in Virginia is ‘we are tired of being a political football — just fix it’, ” he said. “They want to keep prexisting conditions, women treated equally as men, keeping kids on the plan till they are 26. But there is a lot Congress did not get right.
“I would remind folks everyone loves Medicare now. Congress did not get Medicare right the first time 49 years ago. I have never invested in a business that met its business plan. The ones that work know how to adjust and change. We have got to have people who are willing to work together and change it.”
Recent polls have Warner ahead of Gillespie by as many as 22 points. Election Day is Nov. 4. Photos: Mark Warner, left, and Ed Gillespie, right, at Friday’s Forum at Center for Innovative Technology