It’s Election Day: Trumpism, Town Turnover, and the ‘Blue Wave’ on Ballot

Amid the most fraught and turbulent political climate in a generation, Loudouners will take to the polls today to pick their representatives in Congress and municipal leaders in Leesburg, Middleburg, Hillsboro.

[Polls open today at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Find out more, including your polling place, at elections.virginia.gov or loudoun.gov/vote.]

Early reports show a high turnout for a midterm election. As of 1 p.m. today, voter turnout in Loudoun County was about 32 percent, with more than 81,000 voters having cast ballots. By comparison, at that point during the 2014 mid-term, turnout was at 18 percent.

“It’s dynamite,” said John Anderson, precinct chief at Smarts Mill Middle School. “This is presidential election-level turnout.”

At the Stone Bridge High School polling place, Debbie DeSteuben said that she voted for incumbent Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10) and Senate challenger Corey Stewart (R) because she feels that Trump is leading the nation in a positive direction that’s keeping taxes low, the borders secure and is supporting a “blooming economy.” She said that it was mainly border security, the idea of less government control and her opposition to Wexton’s support of Medicaid expansion that informed her vote.

“It’s just a way to make votes stay under the control of the Democratic Party, which just wants more money and more money and more money,” she said. “I want to make my decisions for myself, I don’t need the government to do that.”

Marc Moore said that while he voted Republican today, and typically does so, he voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and for Obama once before.

“It just depends on what the issues are,” he said. “They’re all the same anyway—at the end of the day, they do whatever they want.”

Harris Mahedavi said that he voted for Comstock’s challenger, state Sen. Jennifer T. Wexton (D-33) and incumbent Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) based on their views of health care and education, noting that he feels Democrats have a better policy on both.

With a desire to run for the Ashburn District of the Loudoun County School Board in 2019, Mahedavi said that he’s primarily focused on candidates that will find ways to expand the county’s CASA Program, its Child Find Center and who will put some emphasis on students who are neither academically challenged nor viewed as gifted.

“What about the 90 percent of kids,” he said. “For me the answer was very clear-cut.”

Also voting for the democratic candidates was Ashburn resident Iman, who declined to give a last name and said that while he feels Trump isn’t “off the railing that much,” he’s in need of some checks and balances.

“This country runs with a balance of power and I think our buddy needs a little bit of balancing,” he said.

Leading up to election day, division and gridlock at the federal level have dominated national headlines and shaped the conversation around the Congressional midterm election. Democratic Senator Tim Kaine and Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock fight to hold on to their seats against the backdrop of a potential blue wave that could see Democrats claim the majority in the House of Representatives and possibly even flip the Senate—giving them a check on President Donald J. Trump during the final two years of his term.

The candidates in those two races have approached this election very differently. Comstock has sought to distance herself from Trump, although voting to support many of his initiatives with the notable exception of opposing the repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act and threats of shutting down the government. Her challenger, State Senator Jennifer T. Wexton, has made tying Comstock to Trump a major theme of her campaign.

[Read more about the House race here.]

By contrast, Prince William County Chairman and Senate hopeful Corey Stewart has embraced his association with the president, launching a full-throated America-first campaign targeting illegal immigration and describing himself as “Trump before Trump.” Kaine, meanwhile, has lent much of his campaign’s time and attention to helping other Democrats, like Wexton, boost their campaigns against Republican members of Congress. A third choice on the ballot is Libertarian Matt Waters, an Alexandria resident who has targeted irresponsible federal spending in his campaign.

[Read more about the Senate race here.]

At the local level, three of Loudoun’s towns have much different questions on their mind.

Leesburg will face its third Town Council election in a year, counting two special elections to fill vacant seats. This time, five candidates are vying for three council seats. In the mayor’s race, first-term incumbent Kelly Burk faces a challenge from two council members, Ron Campbell and Tom Dunn.

Middleburg will hold a special election to fill the Town Council seat that became vacant when Bridge Littleton was elected mayor in May.

And in Hillsboro’s all-write-in ballot, Mayor Roger Vance has asked voters to re-elect the current town council to keep their expertise onboard as the small town moves ahead with its long-awaited traffic and pedestrian safety project.

And the Loudoun County government will ask residents for permission to issue $251 million in bonds to help pay for roads and schools, while the state government asks whether localities should be allowed to give tax breaks for flooding victims and military spouses.

For more detailed information on the candidates and issues, see our Election Guide here.

Despite the rain, the polls at Loudoun County High School were busy today. [Douglas Graham/Loudoun Now]
A volunteer for incumbent Republican Barbara Comstock’s campaign chats with Comstock’s challenger Democrat Jennifer Wexton at the polls Tuesday. [Douglas Graham/Loudoun Now]
State Sen. Jennifer Wexton cast her vote at Loudoun County High School early Tuesday morning. She’s challenging Rep. Barbara Comstock to represent Virginia’s 10th Congressional District. [Photo by Douglas Graham/Loudoun Now]

rgreene@loudounnow.com

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