In the first northern Virginia straw poll of the primary campaign season, Democrats at the Mount Vernon District Democratic Committee (MVDDC) Mardi Gras & Straw Poll fundraiser selected Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay for Board of Supervisors chair, challenger Steve Descano as Commonwealth’s Attorney, Rodney Lusk as Lee District Supervisor, and Karen Keys-Gamarra, Rachna Sizemore Heizer, and Abrar Omeish for three at-large seats on the Fairfax County School Board.
Enthusiasm for various candidates was strong in this first-in-memory contested primary for county seats. Having four candidates for Board Chair, four for the Lee Supervisor’s seat, and even one challenger for Commonwealth’s Attorney is unusual. Several other districts also have multiple primary candidates for supervisor and school board this year.
A newcomer to the chair’s race, Alicia Plerhoples, came close to McKay’s 95 votes with 85 votes, while Ryan McElveen had 10 votes, and Tim Chapman had 5. Descano outperformed current Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh by 134 to 60 votes. Lusk won decisively with 67 votes over Kelly Hebron (38), Larysa Kautz (35), and James Migliaccio (22).
In the at-large school board race, incumbent Keyes-Gamarra had 152 votes. Sizemore Heizer, 116, and Omeish, 100. Incumbent Ilryong Moon, with 91 votes, did not capture a straw poll seat.
Anyone who bought a ticket to the 11th annual Mardi Gras celebration held Saturday could vote in the straw poll. The poll is an indicator of the early strength of the campaigns, which organize to get supporters to the event. Each candidate was given a few minutes to speak before ballots were collected.
Rep. Don Beyer also spoke to the crowd. For many years the event was held at his Volvo-Subaru dealership on Richmond Highway, which is undergoing renovations. A strong turnout of Democrats enjoyed a Cajun buffet, music, and dancing.
MVDDC does not endorse primary candidates, but will use funds raised at the event to help elect the winners of local Democratic primaries.
State legislators, who usually attend, had to remain overnight in Richmond to take a vote on the state budget Sunday morning. None of Mt Vernon’s legislators have primary challengers.