The Board of Supervisors filled the George Washington District seat with the appointment of Tom Coen. However, the appointment is temporary until a Special Election is held to complete the current term. The Special Election has been scheduled to coincide with the November 2018 General Election.
Candidates seeking the nomination of either of the parties had until today to file for the June 12 Primary. For the Republicans only one candidate has filed. Long time White Oak resident Gordon Silver has filed to run as a Republican in the heavily Republican favored district. With no other candidates filing before today’s deadline Silver has secured his position on the ballot for the November election in the Republican column.
The appointed Supervisor Tom Coen was expected to file to run as a Republican as well, but he has announced he has filed to run fro the seat as an Independent. There is no word on any other candidates having filed as either a Democrat or other Independents. The race is shaping up to be Silver vs. Coen.
On the November ballot voters will also be electing the representative for the 1st Congressional District and US Senator. Incumbent Congressman Rob Wittman is seeking re-election as is Democrat Senator Tim Kaine. Both will face challenges from their opposition party. The George Washington district is a Republican stalwart district. In 2016 the district went almost 60% for President Trump and in 2012 George Allen received 52% of the vote over Tim Kaine. Rob Wittman has always enjoyed a large victory in the precincts that make up the George Washington District. This bodes well for Republicans lower on the ticket to capture the strong Republican voter turnout in the district.
However, the district has elected Democrat Supervisors before. In 2007 the voters elected Harry Crisp to represent them on the Board of Supervisors and in 2003 they elected Pete Fields. The Republican candidate in both of those elections was Tom Coen, who is now the appointed member of the Board and seeking to run as an Independent this year. The voters having rejected Coen twice as a Republican candidate, will now see him on the ballot as an Independent. The district demographics and boundaries have changed slightly over the last 10 years, but will it be enough for voters to reconsider Coen’s candidacy?
It will be an interesting race to watch, especially if only Silver and Coen remain as the candidates on the ballot.