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Watching the 37th - UPDATED

By Greg L | 1 December 2009 | Fairfax County, Virginia Senate | 7 Comments

UPDATE: Steve Hunt pulls out a big win with 51% of the vote! 

A pretty respectable turnout tonight in the 37th District as between 1,700 and 1,900 voters showed up for the Republican primary.  Surprisingly the race seems to between Will Nance, who mounted a pretty aggressive turnout effort, and Steve Hunt.  Marianne Horinko looks to be trailing considerably despite spending what looks to be about five times more than anyone else in the race.  This one looks like it’s going to be close.

Centrevile High School was a madhouse this evening as turnout greatly exceeded expectations.  Lines were long, and it took people almost an hour to vote even after they managed to get into the parking lot after navigating the traffic jam that developed in front of the school.  The Hunt and Nance campaigns ran very strong operations at the poll and for quite some time it looked as if this was a Hunt/Nance race as Nance stickers and signs were all over the place.

I spoke with Steve Hunt’s campaign manager soon after the last votes were cast, and his impression at the time was that this was going to be a close race between Hunt and Nance, who outspent Hunt by about 2:1.  Marianne Horinko didn’t seem to have much presence at the poll, with few volunteers and very weak signage, quite a surprise for someone who appears to have spent five times what Nance did in the race.

In the end, Hunt got 51% of the votes, and Horinko got 25% and Nance narrowly trailed with 24%.  In a three way race in a special election, that margin of victory is darned impressive.  Despite getting heavily outspent, Hunt seems to have borrowed a few pages out of the Cuccinelli playbook and ran a nearly perfect ground game that trumped money, national figures weighing in on behalf of his opponents, and the army of consultants behind Horinko and to a lesser degree, Nance.  Hunt had the energy and the volunteers, and that trumps all sorts of disadvantages.

Dave Marsden is going to have a hard time if tonight’s firehouse primary is any indication, which I believe it is.  Republicans haven’t fallen on the couch thinking their job wasn’t done on November 3rd by any means.  They showed up in force, in numbers far exceeding expectations, and are clearly engaged in this race.  Meanwhile as Democrats remain indefinitely fractured over Marsden’s candidacy, Marsden isn’t doing much of anything to engage voters and get them energized for the special election.  In many ways there’s only one candidate actually running for this seat, and one pretending to run.

That doesn’t mean Republicans can cruise until January when the special election is going to happen –  far from it.  This election still has to be actively won.  It’s just a lot easier to get that victory when Democrats are infighting, their candidate is flawed and weak, and Republicans have been pushing hard to connect with the electorate and get them engaged in a campaign where turnout will be just as important for the special election as it was for tonight’s primary.

Also covering this are Crystal Clear Conservative, Mason Conservative and Bearing Drift.

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  1. Bwana said on 1 Dec 2009 at 11:40 pm:
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    NLS is calling ut w/ Hunt getting 51 percent

  2. Kevin C. said on 2 Dec 2009 at 10:20 am:
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    BVBL: “A pretty respectable turnout tonight in the 37th District as between 1,700 and 1,900 voters showed up for the Republican primary.”

    I’m just curious, 1,700-1,900, out of how many voters IF that number is available?

  3. Greg L said on 2 Dec 2009 at 10:51 am:
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    A primary for a special election is always a low-turnout affair, and normally a turnout of 1,200 for this would be pretty decent. Having nearly 1,900 votes cast is a tremendous turnout and starts approaching about 10% of the Republicans in the district. Historically that is a really high rate of participation.

    I’d dig around to see if I can find a comparable event — a firehouse primary in a senate district that’s held in early December — but it’s a fairly rare occurrence and I really don’t have the time today to dig around and find one of these that’s happened in the past ten years. To top off the challenge, since a firehouse primary is managed by a party and not the Board of Elections, the data for comparable primaries isn’t available on the SBE website.

    Maybe someone else out there remembers when we had something comparable?

  4. Kevin C. said on 2 Dec 2009 at 1:54 pm:
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    Don’t go to any trouble Greg, I was just, as I said, curious.

    I guess the comment I was looking for “ammunition” to make is, it always PI$$E$ me off when so FEW people vote but so MANY people complain.

    Especially the ones who always say, “I only vote in national elections.”

    Does anyone disagree with the FACT that the place where our votes affect our day to day lives the MOST are our LOCAL elections?

    Which leads me to say: Attested to by the fact that we just threw out the DRUNKEN, FRAT BOY, LOW-LIFE THUG in the 51st!

    Congratulations again and kudos for all your hard work Rich!

    I wouldn’t want anyone thinking that me wearing my “Paul Nichols is a LIAR and a THIEF” t-shirt EVERYWHERE, and I mean EVERYWHERE I went, or the (BILLBOARD) sign on the top of my 4-Runner saying, “Let’s tell Paul Nichols that helping a SEXUAL PREDATOR commit a crime is not a qualification for political office” had any affect, at all, on the vote.

    At least NOT MUCH!

    Once again, WAY TO GO Rich!!!!!

  5. Gnarly said on 2 Dec 2009 at 2:55 pm:
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    That’s an amazing number for a State Senate Firehouse Primary. I’m not sure we have a source to check, but I’m sure that’s a record. Compare this with a room of maybe 10? 15? people who decided on the Democrat’s nominee, while creating such ill will that many in their party will sit this one out.

    The GOP in Fairfax is BACK!!!

  6. Karla H said on 2 Dec 2009 at 10:00 pm:
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    The Republicans… hmmmm… isn’t that the group that tried to push amnesty for illegal aliens? And wasn’t it GWB who said, “You pass that bill and I will sign it!” (I’m not sure if that was before or after his “Patriot Act.”) And wasn’t it the Republican, John “Lame Brain” McCain, who authored that bill? Along with Teddy “the Swimming Instructor” Kennedy? And wasn’t it the Republicans who doubled our national debt from $4.5 trillion to $9 trillion? And who lowered interest rates, shafting savers, and creating a housing bubble? And wasn’t it the Republicans who started 2 unjustified wars?

    I guess if you eat sh*t for 10 months then vomit starts to look real tasty.

    Me? I’m fed up with both these parties. They are collectively shafting We the People. They are taking turns taxing and spending. We will soon have no nation left. A REAL nation has:
    1. a set of laws. We don’t. We change them willy nilly, whenever it is convenient. That is as good as no law.
    2. A REAL nation defends its borders. We don’t. We are too busy sending our army to foreign lands, where they are at best, on parity with the locals.
    3. A REAL nation has a stable currency. ‘Nuff said on that one.

    If you think the Republicans can provide salvation because they are Christian then you are being tricked by false advertising. Both parties suck. Both parties are screwing us. We need a change if this nation is to survive. We need congressmen and senators who will represent their constituents, not their party (what a concept). We need a president who has actually held a real job at some point in his life. We need diversification. We have too many lawyers in too many positions of power. And lawyers are leeches on society… non-productive leeches.

    Without serious change we will be in a far worse position in the future.

  7. Kevin C. said on 3 Dec 2009 at 7:26 am:
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    Karla H said on 2 Dec 2009 at 10:00 pm: “Me? I’m fed up with both these parties.”

    It IS true, and it has been for a long time now, that the PROBLEM is not with Democrats or Republicans but with POLITICIANS!

    They cut deals with each other while SCREWING us, the TAXPAYER, and WE keep ELECTING them?

    What’s the line about, “I have found the enemy and the enemy is US!”

    Karla H said:”We have too many lawyers in too many positions of power.”

    Hospitals were FINE when DOCTORS ran them.

    When ACCOUNTANTS and LAWYERS took them over and started running them, the problems started!

    What’s the OTHER line about, “First thing we have to do is KILL all the lawyers!”

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