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I’m Calling This Election Early…

By Greg L | 25 November 2009 | Manassas City | 10 Comments

Another election season that’s starting to get underway is in Manassas City, where Council members Steve Randolph, Andy Harrover and Marc Aveni are seeking re-election.  So far the Dems haven’t made any noise about running candidates, while Republicans Harrover and Aveni have announced they’re going to run a joint campaign, which may discourage anyone else from jumping in.  By the time this election actually happens in May, it’ll have been long decided.

Last time, Harrover and Randolph were the top vote getters and Aveni came in third out of four candidates.  Harrover was very popular as a new candidate, and should be even more popular now with the record he’s amassed.  Aveni has been the darling of the conservatives and would perform strongly even if he got a challenge, and the joint campaign of the two is only going to help them both.  One, it will keep out convservative challengers who won’t want to run against Aveni, and it’ll keep out challengers from the business community that wouldn’t want to run against Harrover.  This move locks down the Republican side of the aisle.

Randolph has been and remains very popular as a Republican-leaning independent who even goes so far as to show up as a voting delegate at the Republican conventions (strangely enough) that essentially determine who the winners are going to be.  Since he’s likely to run in the top-middle of the pack if there’s a contested election, targeting him is pointless and pretty much impossible.  No independent could knock off Randolph or either of the Republicans, so Randolph is safe in this seat.

If Democrats wake up from their long slumber and run someone in this election, the only thing resembling a target for them would be conservative Marc Aveni, who would be a really difficult target to hit.  Aveni could easily mobilize an army from the large and active pro-life crowd that would swamp the polls in this typically low-turnout election, and now that he’s got Harrover covering his flank that job only gets harder.  In order for a Democrat to even be competitive in this race, they’d have to put together a plan where the math would make the Democrat the top vote-getter, and that’s an effectively impossible task.  There are no Democrats in the city with that kind of draw, there’s no issue they could realistically raise that would cause their voters to flood to the polls, and none of the incumbents have done anything that would motivate people to vote against them.  The math isn’t there.

That’s not to say that in other elections there won’t be potentially interesting dynamics.  Harrover, Randolph and Aveni are probably the three strongest elected officials in the city in terms of the support they have, so this election cycle in the city is the most difficult for any challengers.  Challengers are far more likely to find their way on the council when there’s a mid-term vacancy and are appointed into a position without having to run a campaign such as was the case with Cheryl Bass most recently.  It takes patience to wait for these opportunities, but they happen with fair regularity and clearly there are a lot of people who would rather interview for the job than run for it in an election.  The council regularly gets more than eight applications from people to fill a single vacant seat, but the Board of Elections rarely gets more than one or two applications at most from challengers trying to win a seat in an election.  Sometimes they get none.

That kind of dynamic, especially when the incumbents running for re-election are rather strong as is the case here, makes for a pretty quiet municipal election.  I’m calling this one early.

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  1. Dean Voter said on 25 Nov 2009 at 12:10 pm:
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    I will support the Harrover/Aveni ticket even though I did not support one of these gentlemen last time they ran as he was unknown to me at the time.

    I have been surprized to find them to be both leaders and very approachable, something we have not had much of in the past in this city, they both get my vote.

  2. anonymous said on 25 Nov 2009 at 12:15 pm:
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    aveni returns phone calls and helps get stuff done for the average citizen who is not a rich businessman, the others are lacking in this department IMHO, the strategy they are using here is pretty brilliant and I think your analysis is right on.

  3. GeorgeR. said on 25 Nov 2009 at 1:21 pm:
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    I think it would be a mistake to paint Andy H. as only for business and Marc A. as only for pro-life. My observation is they have been proactive with blight, overcrowding, and illegal ailen issues as well as trying to keep taxes low, maybe Marc more so with taxes, but both are reliable in this regard. Do not give the Dems any ammno please.

  4. Ayn Rand is Right said on 25 Nov 2009 at 3:22 pm:
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    I agree with your prediction of the outcome. Harrover, Aveni AND Randloph are known as approachable, thoughtful, and responsive elected officials. As far as the Manassas/Manassas Park Combine Democrat Committee goes, this last election proves that ‘08 was a flash in the pan. Without paid staffers from Presidential and Senatorial campaigns, they can’t even manage to cover their polls, nor get their base to them. They don’t have a bench. Who could they run? EJ Scott? Maybe Jeanette Rishell could rent a room in the city, and run? I know. She’ll file and claim her residence as 9500 Liberty Street!

  5. Joe D said on 25 Nov 2009 at 4:04 pm:
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    As far as the Manassas/Manassas Park Combine Democrat Committee goes, this last election proves that ‘08 was a flash in the pan. Without paid staffers from Presidential and Senatorial campaigns, they can’t even manage to cover their polls, nor get their base to them.

    Good observation.

  6. A Dem said on 25 Nov 2009 at 4:15 pm:
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    what a love fest - they are all overrated and overpaid especailly Randlophy.

  7. city fan said on 25 Nov 2009 at 6:30 pm:
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    What about for the mayor slot?

  8. City Boy said on 25 Nov 2009 at 6:50 pm:
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    The mayor is not up for 2 more years. I think Dance, Brooks and Wunderly are up for school board and maybe the new guy. McGee? Are they running and who else might?

  9. Greg L said on 25 Nov 2009 at 7:23 pm:
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    George R: I don’t mean to imply that either Harrover or Aveni are single-constituency representatives at all. It’s just that they have two distinct base constituencies that might not always overlap a lot. Running together, they lend each other quite a bit of strength and seriously discourage anyone from mounting a challenge against them.

  10. City Boy said on 25 Nov 2009 at 7:29 pm:
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    What do you think the chances are that one of the school board members that are up my run for council. I think Dance has hinted he may want to someday.

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