There is a special election today in parts of Fairfax County for the 41st District House of Delegates seat, which was vacated when former Delegate Dave Marsden (D-37, Fairfax) won the special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by Ken Cuccinelli after he was elected Attorney General. You have until 7:00 p.m. to vote. The candidates are Republican Kerry Bolognese and Democrat Eileen Filler-Corn. Our sister organization, TFF Action, published and distributed a voter guide for this election. If you have not seen it and have not voted, or know people planning to vote, you still have time to read it yourself and e-mail it to others so they can make an informed decision. Remember, special elections are very low-turnout affairs. Your vote is magnified in a special election. We hope the people of Fairfax in the 41st House of Delegates district are well informed as they go to the polls today.
As we anticipated, Republican Kerry Bolognese has announced his intention to seek the 41st district House of Delegates seat (see statement), left vacant with the election of Dave Marsden to the Virginia Senate from the 37th Senate district in last Tuesday's special election to fill the seat left vacant by Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli. Bolognese ran an aggressive grassroots campaign in the Fairfax County district in the November general election and nearly defeated Marsden, falling short of a major upset by a couple of hundred votes. Because of that campaign, he may be considered the front runner and could give the House GOP a seventh new seat for this election cycle. Nothing says "favorite" louder than the date of the election set by Governor Tim Kaine — March 2. In the statement he released in announcing the election, he said:
It is important that the voters of the 41st district have a voice in the legislative process. Holding the special election on March 2 will not only give voters time to learn about the candidates, but will allow for the distribution and return of ballots from voters overseas, including our men and women in the armed forces.
So, the governor is going out on a humorous note: The election is scheduled just a week or so before the current General Assembly session ends. How much representation is that? It's not as if he hasn't schedule special elections in 30 days or less before, such as last year's vote to replace former Delegate Brian Moran. The difference? The likelihood of a Democrat win.
Perhaps funnier is the altruism of counting the military's ballots. Remember this? The Fairfax County registrar threatened not to count military ballots in 2008. It was then Attorney General Bob McDonnell who issued an opinion to count them while the governor remained silent; this while the same Fairfax registrar was registering inmates to vote.
It appears that a well run absentee ballot campaign was a crucial difference for Delegate Dave Marsden tonight in the Democrat's win to fill the 37th Senate district seat vacated by Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli. Delegate Marsden defeated Republican Stephen Hunt by 11,943 to 11,626 with all 39 precincts reporting, according to the Fairfax County Registrar's office. Delegate Marsden beat Hunt by more than 2-1 in absentee ballots: 800-395. Delegate Marsden's win extends the Democrats' majority in the Virginia Senate to two seats, 22-18. It also will necessitate another special election to fill Marsden's delegate seat. Republican Kerry Bolognese, who barely lost to Marsden in November, would seem to be an early favorite to win the seat should he choose to run.