Mixed Bag of Election Results

Yesterday’s elections saw a mixed bag of results, with Republicans perhaps benefiting the most. The uncontested 57th House and 25th Senate races left both Democrats untouched, and the also-uncontested 58th and 25th House race left Republicans Steve Landes and Rob Bell in place. (Half of all Virginia House races were uncontested, largely because of the recent redistricting.) In the 59th, incumbent Republican Watkins Abbitt fended off Democrat Allen Hale for a sound victory, while in the 24th Senate district, incumbent Republican Emmett Hanger had a very strong victory over Democrat Steve Sisson. Albemarle had a number of interesting elections. A pair of Republicans defeated Democratic challengers for two open Board of Supervisors seats: in White Hall, David Wyant defeated Eric Strucko on what seemed be opposition to urbanization of Albemarle, while in Rivanna, Ken Boyd defeated Peter Hallock on the promise of reducing the 2.2% unemployment rate to help increase county revenue. In Scottsville, conservative Democrat Lindsay Dorrier retained his seat after being challenged by a write-in candidate. On the school board, Brian Wheeler barely won the at-large seat, Sue Friedman the Rivanna seat, and Barbara Massie the White Hall seat, with Scottsville incumbent Steve Koleszar having just managed to retain his seat. Finally, beleaguered sheriff Ed Robb retained his seat with a minority of the votes, while unchallenged commonwealth’s attorney Jim Camblos. Albemarle turnout was at 32%, while Charlottesville’s two uncontested races resulted in just 12% turnout. The Progress has a series of stories and the full statistics in today’s issue, with the Board of Supervisors, school board, and sheriff’s articles available on their website. For the raw Albemarle results, see the State Board of Elections’ website.

33 thoughts on “Mixed Bag of Election Results”

  1. "David Wyant defeated Eric Strucko on what seemed be opposition to urbanization of Albemarle"

    that can’t be! I thought everyone in this area opposes growth!

  2. Maybe you misread, or I miswrote. Eric Strucko ran on a platform of smart growth. Wyant ran on a platform of what appeared to be no growth. Both are opposed to growth, but Wyant was more strongly opposed. Between the two of them, neither advocated continuing the current unsustainable practice of unbridled growth.

    I think. Frankly, it wasn’t very clear. That’s not why Wyant won, anyhow. Wyant is a local boy, and everybody that he went to school with and all of their siblings and spouses and cousins voted for him. So he won.

  3. From The Progress:

    Incumbent Edgar S. Robb beat two challengers in Tuesday’s Albemarle County sheriff’s contest, winning 49 percent of the vote and securing a second four-year term.

    “I think it was a referendum on the fact that I have done so much more than the Sheriff’s Office was required to do,” he said. “I brought honesty, integrity and professionalism to the office of the sheriff, which is what I have done for the past four years.”

    “I got more than the two of them put together,” Robb boasted. “That’s a resounding victory.”

    Ah, our sheriff the rocket scientist. Lessee…100-49=51…51 > 49… Hmm…

    Yeah, I dunno. I’m coming up with this being a referendum for wanting him out of office. But, hey, maybe my math is wrong.

    We didn’t want Edgar as Senator, and so we kicked him out and installed Emily. So he ran for sheriff, and now is the single most incompetent Albemarle sheriff in recent memory. Now he barely hangs onto his seat by failing to secure a majority of the votes, and declares that the people have spoken, and the people love him. You’d think he’d get the message and go away.

  4. You’d think he’d get the message and go away

    Why would he “go away”? He won in a democratically held election. No? Or are you saying the system is imperfect? Gosh, what will you think of next?

  5. In Albemarle County, a popular incumbent sheriff won re-election but the race drew a surprising level of interest. With Sheriff Ed Robb garnering 8,223 votes and Larry Claytor and Barry McLane getting 6,281 and 2,188 respectively, one can only wonder what the outcome would have been had Mr. McLane pulled out and freed his supporters to shift to Mr. Claytor. (Daily Progress, 6 Nov 2003)

    Here is the math Mr Robb:

    8223 – (6281+2188) =246

    Mr Robb won but a majority didn`t think he was the best man. (If one analyzes that perhaps it should read "better man" inasmuch as the voters were probably comparing two candidates but then again perhaps they compared three – oh the woes connected to posting to this board and remaining clear of the line of fire).

    But that is democracy and I`m for it.

  6. man i voted for the wrong guy then, my dream of Albemarle county being one pave parking lot for the downtown mall as gone down the tubes.

  7. uh, not to diss you ‘cuz you are smart and all (really), but:

    8223 – (6281+2188) = -246

    I know that’s what you meant, but you did say Here is the math Mr Robb.

  8. Why would he “go away”?

    Because he’s incompetent and not a nice person. That’s why he was knocked down from the Senate to sheriff, and that’s why he won with a minority of the votes.

    I agree with Big Al — reforming our election system such that it is runoff based (ideally, using instant runoff) would be a huge help. A number of localities in the U.S. have done so, to great effect.

  9. You are a better person than this person you smarty you : ).

    I knew very well as soon as I posted something involving math I was doomed as sure as there is "an x in Christmas". And I checked it twice!

  10. We need to have a recall election. The guy who won wasn’t the guy everyone who is smart enough voted for. Plus, we need a recount.

  11. Yeah I agree, the person who I don’t want in office we need to have a run-off elections until he wins.

  12. I confuse about it. If we have a election with more then 2 peoples and the person with the most votes wins, we need to reform it because he didn’t have the majority. I am confuse I thought my vote counts and if more people wanted this guy in, then shouldn’t he be elected.

  13. Waldo there has been a lot of development but "unbridled" is not exactly, uhhh….correct. Do you have any idea of how much Albemarle County building permit fees or zoning fees are? The county has a tremendous red tape bridle that they gleefully strap on to anyone who wants to build anything. It doesn’t matter if your are Mr. Bigbucks the bigbox developer or Joe Sixpack who wants a new family room, there are still loads of expensive hoops to jump through. The cost of those hoops adds plenty to the high costs of housing and doing business in Albemarle.

    Also, there is a lot of land in Albemarle which is physically quite suitable for building but cannot be built on because of restrictions coming from the zoning and subdivision ordinances. If growth in Albemarle truly was unbridled that land would be available for use and the surrounding counties would not have near as much new development as they do.

  14. Actually, it’s a case of ensuring that candidates don’t assume office without a simple majority, which should probably be a fundamental requirement anyway. Best of all, it actually makes fringe candidates both more viable and less troublesome.

    More Viable: people who might be inclined to vote for a candidate not aligned with a major party, but don’t becasue they don’t want to "waste" their vote, can do so – especially with the "instant runoff" solution, which I like too.

    Less Troublesome: candidates who don’t have a realistic chance of winning can go for it, and while they may gather enough votes to prevent somebody from obtaining a majority, with a runoff that won’t matter. They’ll have made their point, without possibly causing the election of the candidate they (and their supporters) like the least.

  15. Instant runoff would be a step in the right direction.

    That said, the biggest problem in politics, U.S. in particular, is there’s no effective accountability ONCE an elected individual has taken office. So, IMO, it’s not so much making sure the people elect who they actually wanted (IRV), but it would be far more valuable to have well-established measuring standards on the performance while office is held, just like we do in experimental sciences, for instance.

    In simple terms, the fudging, dodging and plain exploitation while in office is the real problem today. If held properly accountable, the elected official would not matter quite as much and we would be in the political quagmire we’re in today.

  16. Yep, ‘growth’ is not the enemy. It’s far more desirable to have growth than shrink, right?!

    The real issue is what constitutes ‘smart’ growth. I don’t think two people agree entirely on what that is, especially since it’s never really well defined in any rhetoric used. And when it is approximately given, I tend not to agree as is, although I would say I’m ‘for’ smart-growth.

  17. There are plenty of variations on instant run-off, but one of the most simple would permit the voter, when faced with more than two choices, to designate a first choice, second choice, third choice, etc. If no candidate achieves a majority of the votes, the ballot-counters then look at the second choices of those who voted for the candidate who got the lowest number of votes. Those second-choice votes are then added to the remaining candidates, in order to come up with a winner who achieves a majority.

    The idea is to elect a candidate who is "most acceptable" to most voters.

  18. "The idea is to elect a candidate who is "most acceptable" to most voters."

    I thought the idea is who ever gets the MOST votes wins! Good lord, you people are going to drag this over and over until your guy wins.

  19. Whoa! Slow down. Somebody asked for an explanation of instant run-off voting. I provided it.

    The idea of the current voting system is that whoever gets the most votes wins (except in presidential elections, where, as President Gore will tell us, electoral votes are what really counts). Instant run-off voting is a possible answer for those who believe that the current system is not the most fair.

    I find it interesting that anybody would object to discussion of other ways of making decisions.

  20. I am for ‘every vote counts’. However, if you get run off ever time someone wins but doesn’t get the majority that tells me that my vote is meaningless. I voted for a guy who won the election and you are saying to me we need to have a instant run-off because the losers had a split. That is crazy. You are telling me my vote doesn’t count. I am sorry but if someone has the most votes then they are the winner.

    BTW Electoral Votes are something different. I believe the States voted for a president and not the mass of people in NY, FL, and CA.

  21. "In simple terms, the fudging, dodging and plain exploitation while in office is the real problem today. If held properly accountable, the elected official would not matter quite as much and we would be in the political quagmire we’re in today."

    Hear! Hear!

    I am sure Sympatico meant "we would not ……."

  22. If you can be open-minded about the possibility of instant run-off, allow me to present an imaginary scenario.

    Let’s imagine a situation in which there are four candidates for political office. To remove whatever personal partisan leanings we may have, let’s say that three of the candidates are members of the Capitalist Party. Their platforms are very similar. The fourth candidate is a member of the Communist Party. Her platform is quite different from that of the other three.

    So, in the election, Capitalist Candidate A gets 25.5% of the vote, Capitalist Candidate B gets 24.5% of the vote, Capitalist Candidate C gets 24% of the vote and Communist Candidate D gets 26% of the vote.

    Under current voting procedures, Communist Candidate D wins. The trouble is, though, that 74% of the voters are VERY unhappy. Most of those who voted for Capitalist Candidates B and C would have been quite satisfied if Candidate A, their second choice, had been elected. But, instead, the candidate that most voters did not want gets office.

    I fully appreciate that, under the current system, plurality wins. But, doesn’t it make sense to consider a system that looks to achieve maximum satisfaction from participants? Given steadily eroding percentages of eligible voters showing up at the polls, I suggest that it’s time for a change.

    By the way, I have no particular gripe about the particular local sheriff’s election. I had no horse in that race.

  23. I disagree it was very clear. Wyant said that the Crozet master plan that Eric Strucko helped write was not the will of the citzens of Crozet and did little to address the infrastructure problems incresing Crozet from 3000 to 12000 people. To say he won just because he was local diminishes he qualifications. He wrote rules for VDOT and is an expert in water management and infrastructure. He has made it to the top of two fields, engineering and is a NFL ref. Yes his family has been here for 200 years but his resume is impressive without his years of community service.

  24. Ken Boyd defeated Hallock saying that Albemarle was not business friendly. This a long with the economy took the unemployment from a state low 2.3 to 3.2 percent. That may not seem much but the 360 additional people who didn’t have jobs would disagree. Boyd’s win was also result of going to more then 2500 homes and meeting the voters of the Rivanna district. With Hallock last week of negative ads and the Progress endorsement made the final difference.

  25. Yes, that’s what I meant… I think. I guess the sentence structure is pathetic enough, I’m not sure what I meant. Oh well. I’ll do better next time!

  26. This notion that the Albemarle economy is in a tailspin is absolute bunk. The recently released October unemploment rate went down to 2.9. A historical look at unemployment data indicates that Albemarle has consistently had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state. Since 1990 the state unemployment rate average is 3.74, while Albemarle’s is 1.87. The idea that Albemarle is "unfriendly" to business is also simply not true. Why would there be over 3 Million square feet of additional retail space either approved or about to go through the approval process in Albemarle? Furthermore, Albemarle County recently received a AAA bond rating from Moody’s.

  27. …so.. will he put his money where his mouth is and propose removing Crozet from the Growth Area?

  28. No one ever said it was in a tailspin, what was said was from august 2002 to august 2003, the most current data at the time for Albemarle, unemployment increased 40%. That is a mathmatical fact, what it means is open to interpretation. Albemarle use to be the state lowest now that belongs to part of NoVa. It must certainly was not trending in the right direction. Just looking at retail is not the point, Retail does not create the high paying jobs that many are looking for. As with most things it is a matter of degrees and the trend lines were not heading in the right direction for many in the business community.

  29. I don’t know, he never addressed that direct question. His problem was that the planning did not involve, in his opinion, enough of the Crozet citizens direct imput. Wyant won every polling place and carried Crozet with that message.

  30. …..if retail doesn’t provide high paying jobs, then why is the business community so intent on bringing so much of it to the area….does char/alb really want to be the next tyson’s corner of the mid-atlantic. Hopefully, Mr. Boyd will recognize the implecations……

  31. ….the larger question will be will he help protect the rural area from development with the same energy he say’s he’ll protect Crozet.

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