Both Republicans running for the Albemarle Board of Supervisors have won: Duane Snow in the Samuel Miller district and Rodney Thomas in the Rio district.
Snow was in a three-way race against Democrat Madison Cummings and independent John Lowry, all vying for a seat vacated by outgoing independent Sally Thomas. Cummings came in second, just behind Snow, with the independent a distant third.
The contest between Thomas and Democratic incumbent David Slutzky was closely watched. Slutzky’s intellectual, open-minded approach to government has a way of frightening more conservative voters, and Thomas’ campaign was premised on opposing Slutzky’s support of limited growth and related standard conservative issues. It’s a relatively narrow win—249 votes out of 4,735 cast, not counting outstanding absentee ballots and conditional votes—but a win just the case. Slutzky won easily in 2005, defeating Republican Gary Grant 58% to 38%.
Their victories remove two seats from the Democratic persuasion, tilting the whole board strongly towards conservatives, who only lost control of the BoS two years ago, when Ann Mallek defeated incumbent Republican David Wyant. Mallek and Dennis Rooker (who ran unopposed today) are left as the only reliable Democratic votes. With Lindsay Dorrier and Ken Boyd‘s seats up for reelection in two years, expect Democrats to be gunning hard for both of their seats.
Interestingly, both of today’s Republican victors were born and raised in Albemarle County, while all of their opponents moved here as adults. That may be a coincidence, but I suspect not. For most candidates, the sort of missteps that Rodney Thomas made in his campaign wouldn’t just end their campaign, it’d end their political careers. An electorate who has known the candidate for many years is going to be more forgiving.