The 33rd Senate District will stay in Democratic hands as Del. Jennifer Boysko handily won the seat in a special election Tuesday.
Boysko faced Republican Joe T. May in the race to serve the final year remaining on Jennifer Wexton’s term following her election to the U.S. House of Representatives in November.
The election occurred just hours before the start of the 2019 General Assembly session. While Loudoun will have a full complement of senators for the duration of the session, voters in the 86th House District, which Boysko has represented since 2016, will be back at the polls in coming weeks to pick a new representative.
Boysko won nearly every precinct in the senate district, which has been represented by Democrats since Mark R. Herring won the seat in 2006—also in a special election. In Loudoun, she garnered 67 percent of the votes, totaling 10,657 votes to May’s 5,144. In the portion of the district in Fairfax County, Boysko won 77 percent of the vote, bringing the final vote tally to 14,766 to 6,376.
May, a Leesburg businessman who served in the House of Delegates from 1994 to 2014, entered the race with the belief that a moderate Republican could make inroads in the territory. He won the majority of votes in only two Loudoun precincts, River Creek and Harper Park in the Leesburg area.
Boysko’s supporters packed into O’Faolain’s Irish Pub in Sterling to celebrate her victory. There, Boysko stood on a chair to give a speech.
“The reason that we all do this is because we want to make Virginia a better place for everyone,” Boysko told the crowd. “And I think I can agree that we all think that government can actually do good.”
She said with the General Assembly session starting at noon the next day, the legislature will have the chance to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, redraw Virginia’s electoral districts, and expand funding for education, transportation and health care. Boysko said that would make the state “a friendly and welcoming Virginia for everyone, no matter who you love, no matter where you come from, how you worship—we are going to show everyone that Virginia is a place for everyone.”
Wexton said the key to success for Boysko will be “to continue to do what she’s been doing in the House of Delegates, which is representing the people who sent here there.”
“For our constituents, they want to make sure that our public schools are strong as they can be and that our teachers are paid well, that they have transportation solutions, and that we live in a safe and prosperous community, and I think hopefully we’ll be able to do that,” Wexton said.
Going into her job as a freshman senator in the minority party, Boysko said “listening and learning is probably the most important thing,” along with finding common ground on both sides of the aisle when possible.
Gathering with supporters at Loudoun Brewing Company in Leesburg after the election, May said he was somewhat surprised by the lopsidedness of the results. However, he sounded a hopeful note that his campaign helped to close a rift between the moderate and more conservative wings of the party; counted among his supporters this time was Del. David LaRock (R-33), who defeated May in a party primary.
While Boysko headed to Richmond for the start of the session, Loudoun’s Democratic leaders are already moving ahead with plans to fill her House seat. The party has scheduled a firehouse primary Saturday, Jan. 12. There, voters will choose from among dentist Imbraheem Samirah; attorney and former Herndon mayor Mike O’Reilly; Fairfax NAACP president, rental property business owner and veteran Kofi Annan; and public affairs consultant Chad Thompson.
Republicans have not yet announced plans for a primary race.
In the meantime, Boysko said she would continue to look out for the interests of her House district constituents. “I love my district and have enjoyed serving the community,” she said. “Serving as a senator gives a greater opportunity for making positive change, and I will still be accessible for all of my constituents for as long as they need.”