Prince William County has been the big buzz of statewide politics recently. Is it turning blue, or purple and how will that impact statewide elections?
With the resignation of Sean Connaughton as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, 2006 was a great time to find out what is going on in Prince William.
Early rumors put Corey Stewart in a GOP nomination battle with one of the three Connaughton allies on the board, Marty Nohe, Wally Covington or Maureen Caddigan. After some movement for position, both Nohe and Covington stepped aside for Caddigan who waited for a couple of weeks, then dropped out and left them no time to run. At that time, all the Connaughton forces could get was John Gray a Republican turned Democrat turned Republican who was crushed by Stewart in the convention.
Meanwhile, Democrats have no bench in Prince William, so they turned to Sharon Pandak a former County Attorney who had never run a campaign before. It showed. The final results here:
Corey Stewart 44,806 (53.5%)
Sharon Pandak 39,010 (46.5%)
Even more impressive when you see how Jim Webb did against an incumbent George Allen in this county.
Jim Webb 44,503 (51.2%)
George Allen 42,409 (48.8%)
Stewart ran ahead of Allen in all seven of Prince William's magisterial districts. But the numbers of where he did best versus Allen are not totally what you might expect.
STEWART VS. ALLEN
Occoquan- Allen 46.1%- Stewart 55.0%- STEWART 8.9% AHEAD OF ALLEN
Occoquan district is where Stewart ran the furthest in front of Allen, which was expected since this was Stewart's home magisterial district. However, it is worth noting that many Connuaghton backers declared Stewart DOA when he endorsed Bolling- and Connaughton ran strongest in this district in the primary. It appears that was all smoke, as the voters rallied to Stewart this year once again when his name was on the ballot.
Woodbridge- Allen 39.0%- Stewart 46.3%- STEWART 7.3% AHEAD OF ALLEN
Woodbridge district was where Stewart ran the best outside of Occoquan district. This is the district represented by Hilda Barg, and the base of the Delegate district represented by Jeff Frederick. Jeff has shown an organization in both of his elections that allows him to run ahead of the top of the GOP ticket here, and he was a strong backer of Stewart. It appears he was able to give that edge over to Corey here, as 7.3% is a huge crossover in an open seat race. Meanwhile, Hilda shows once again that the only reason she wins here is partisan advantage, not local popularity.
Dumfries- Allen 44.9%- Stewart 50.8%- STEWART 5.9% AHEAD OF ALLEN
Dumfries is the other district that is mainly represented by Jeff Frederick, while being represented on the board by Maureen Caddigan. I never saw Maureen's name show up as endorsing Stewart, yet he ran better in her district than he did county-wide. Maureen was also quietly helping Hilda Barg in last year's Delegate race, so between those two elections I think we can surmise the voters of Dumfries have had it with Caddigan and her caddy politics.
Gainesville- Allen 54.5%- Stewart 58.8%- STEWART 4.3% AHEAD OF ALLEN
This district is represented by John Stirrup, Stewart's strongest ally on the board. He did better here than any district other than his own, and the ones where he had the Frederick organization working for him.
Neabsco- Allen 39.1%- Stewart 43.2%- STEWART 4.1% AHEAD OF ALLEN
This district is represented by John Jenkins on the board and was one of Pandak's better places of support. Still Stewart ran almost four points above Allen. This is also anchor of Scott Lingamfelter's Prince William portion of his district, perhaps showing that his district is becoming more and more Democratic and Scott is quickly becoming vulnerable here.
Brentsville- Allen 55.9%- Stewart 59.8%- STEWART 3.9% AHEAD OF ALLEN
Brentsville is the quickly growing district of Wally Covington, a close Connaughton ally on the board. His support of Stewart was always a little cold, and voters in his district seemed to notice, as this was Stewart's 2nd worst area for crossover.
Coles- Allen 48.8%- Stewart 51.1%- STEWART 2.3% AHEAD OF ALLEN
Coles is the home of Marty Nohe, another key Connaughton ally on the Board. Clearly Marty's cool reaction to Corey was noticed here as Coles was the worst area for Stewart crossover. That voters cared that Marty wasn't a Stewart fan probably bodes well for his re-election this year. Compared to Caddigan, Marty comes out of this election looking pretty good.
The press has reported this election was a referendum on growth. Yet the two districts with explosive and obscene growth, Brentsville and Gainesville both saw Stewart win crossover that was middle of the pack compared to slower growing districts.
Instead it looks to me like this was an election more fought on local politics and personalities and one that Stewart navigated a lot better than Pandak.