One has to go back several decades to remember a time when Fairfax County could fairly be described as having a viable two-party electorate.
That balance was a good thing, because it kept local leaders on their toes – general-election voters tended to throw out incumbents with a degree of regularity if they were not in sync with center-left-to-center-right, common-sense governance.
For any number of reasons not necessary to enunciate here, those days are long in the rear-view mirror. The county has become solidly, in many areas impregnably, Democratic in its voting patterns.
Which is all the more reason voters need to pay attention to the June 20 Democratic primary. Because in many cases, that’s the only election that truly will matter in Fairfax County this year. With rare exceptions, the general election is likely to prove a mere formality.
Among the races before voters on June 20 are two constitutional offices – sheriff and commonwealth’s attorney – that should not be skipped over in the ballot booth.
The first, for sheriff, is an easy one to dissect, as incumbent Stacey Kincaid is facing a challenge from her left from Kelvin Garcia, a former police officer and now a lawyer.
Garcia’s campaign is using pages from the progressive playbook, but he’s unlikely to make much of a dent against the incumbent and her track record of responsible leadership.
Running a jail facility, which is a key component of the position, is hard work, and critics are quick to jump on any missteps. And there at times have been missteps. But overall, Kincaid is doing the job about as well as anyone.
Stacey Kincaid deserves re-election. It’s an easy call.
Now on to the commonwealth’s attorney race, where incumbent Steve Descano – fueled by enormous amounts of outside money – narrowly defeated the effective, moderate prosecutor in the Democratic primary four years ago and defeated an independent in the general election.
This June, Descano faces Ed Nuttall, a serious challenger who promises to restore sensible leadership after four years of Descano playing out his left-wing agenda in the deluded hope that he can use it as a springboard to state office and then . . . well, one never knows the height of aspirations of some haughty leaders, does one?
We grant that some of Descano’s changes to the office were needed. Fair enough. But he has taken it too far, and combined his seemingly put-criminals-first efforts with a smug arrogance that has won him few friends. Even the editorial page of The Washington Post, which supported Descano in 2019, has abandoned him for Nuttall. That’s a striking reversal and may tell voters all they need to know.
We wish his Descano’s challenger were running a more high-profile campaign, but perhaps he’s figured out the way to voters’ hearts in Fairfax. Let’s all hope.
It’s time to right the mistake of 2019. Ed Nuttall is the preferable choice for commonwealth’s attorney.
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Just a reminder, as there’s lot of misinformation being spread out there: Virginia does not register voters by political party. Any voter can cast a ballot in the June 20 primary. Those who don’t like that arrangement can work to change it, but that’s the way it currently stands.