In a bizarre election year, Tuesday’s results were an affirmation for Leesburg’s now three-term mayor.
With some absentee ballots still outstanding, Burk had a more than 10,000-vote margin of victory over her challenger, Councilman Ron Campbell, garnering 67% of the total vote.
“I think the message the voters sent was they want the town to be represented by someone who is willing to work with people and get things done,” she said. “They don’t want someone who is an obstructionist who has their own agenda.”
On her victory, which will bring her total years of elected public service in Loudoun to 18 years at the end of the new term, she said she was honored to represent the town for another two years.
“I really appreciate the fact that the community supports me in that effort. I will continue to work with the community to move forward, especially in this really difficult time,” Burk said.
It was Campbell’s second time in as many years challenging Burk for the mayor’s seat, and while he received significantly more votes in this head-to-head battle, it was not enough to stop her from securing a third mayoral term. With his council term expiring Dec. 31, Campbell said he had no regrets in running in the mayor’s race, rather than running for re-election for his own seat.
“Some of the expectations we had of getting votes just didn’t happen. This is the way the votes came down. I’m absolutely proud of my service for my four years. I absolutely believe we did the right things in representing the people. This wasn’t about anything other than trying to do more from a leadership perspective,” he said.
Joining Burk are three new faces on the Town Council dais—Zach Cummings, Ara Bagdasarian, and—likely—Kari Nacy.
Like Burk, both Cummings and Bagdasarian were endorsed by the Loudoun County Democratic Committee. Though the Town Council is a nonpartisan body, political party endorsements and support have become a common—or even essential—part of a council race since Leesburg moved its elections from May to November almost a decade ago. Cummings was the top vote-getter in the council race, receiving 19% of the vote, followed by Bagdasarian at 16%.
While it will be his first time sitting on the Leesburg Town Council dais, Tuesday’s victory marks a return to elected office for Cummings who, in his early 20s, was elected to a council seat in his hometown of Dover, OH. It was a “totally different” experience the second time around, and Cummings said he was eager to get to work.
“My new hometown has taken me in and I’m ready to get to work for them,” he said.
The second time was the charm for Nacy, who found herself in the winning column following a fifth-place finish in her first council bid two years ago. The lone candidate in the council race to be endorsed by the Loudoun County Republican Committee, Nacy received 14.76% of the vote.
Early returns, prior to absentee ballots being tallied, showed Nacy out to a commanding lead over the other three council candidates. She admitted that throughout Tuesday evening she had to keep herself busy as she waited for large number of early voting and absentee ballot totals to be announced. With the absentee and early voting results in just before 10 p.m., she could celebrate the victory.
“I’m definitely humbled and honored that the citizens of Leesburg voted me in this time and I’m really excited and looking forward to representing them on council,” she said.
Bill Replogle appeared to be the odd man out, finishing 367 votes behind Nacy, with 14.27% of the vote. As mailed ballots can still be accepted through noon Friday, election results are not expected to be finalized until later in the week, if not early next week.
The new Town Council, which includes returning council members Vice Mayor Marty Martinez and council members Suzanne Fox and Neil Steinberg, takes office Jan. 1.
Bagdasarian said he is hopeful the new council can work together, something that has been a challenge at times for the current council.
“Obviously it’s a new decade and a very new time in not only our local situation but our global situation. I hope we can work together to get through the pandemic and get through this entire period and come out even stronger on the other side,” he said. “I know the Town Council had challenges in the past and we’re going to have three new members. Hopefully we can work together to achieve a better outcome for the town.”