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MORE: Murphy wins, Va. House 34th District shifts blue

The second time was a charm for Democrat Kathleen Murphy, who topped Republican nominee Craig Parisot in a special election for the Virginia House of Delegates 34th District seat Tuesday night.

Murphy bested Parisot in a tight, low-turnout election to succeed Barbara Comstock, a Republican who vacated her state House seat after winning Virginia's 10th Congressional District seat in November.

With all precincts reporting around 8:15 p.m. after a snow-showered Tuesday, Murphy had received 6,406 (51 percent) votes to Parisot's 6,082 (49 percent).

There are roughly 60,000 voters in the 34th District; nearly 30,000 cast ballots in 2013, when Murphy lost to Comstock by less than 1 percent of the vote.
Democrat Kathleen Murphy is the new delegate for Virginia's 34th House District. Courtesy Photo

"I'm incredibly grateful that the voters of the 34th District have chosen me to represent this wonderful community in Richmond,” Murphy said in a statement. “I promise to serve with honor and purpose and to always keep our priorities at the forefront of everything I do -- education, transportation and keeping our families safe. I could not be more proud of the countless hours put in by staff, volunteers and supporters to get us to this day. This election proves that Northern Virginia voters are ready to get something done in Richmond, and I am honored to move forward with the task ahead of me."

Speaking to the Times-Mirror about her campaign in December, Murphy, a political consultant and former Hill staffer, said supporting full-day kindergarten, strengthening the region's transportation system, especially completing improvements along Route 7 and tightening gun control measures will be her top priorities in Richmond.

The Democrat would not say she supports a tax hike for the explicit purpose of full-day kindergarten, but she believes Northern Virginia needs “to get a fair share” of what it sends into the state's coffers. “I think there are always avenues to fund the things we want funded if we'll sit down and do the work,” Murphy said.

The absence of public, countywide full-day kindergarten is a perennial hot topic in Loudoun, one of the richest counties in America.

Murphy said she's closely in line with the initiatives and views of Gov. Terry McAuliffe, including on the issues of ethics in government and gun violence.

“I think $100 is a really good start,” Murphy said in regards to a proposed limit on gifts to legislators.

On gun control, Murphy said she would support expanding and strengthening background checks for buyers.

"Anyone who knows Kathleen will tell you how passionate she is about serving the people of her district -- and I know she will bring that same energy and determination to get things done in Richmond,” Democratic House Caucus Chair Scott Surovell said in a statement.

The 34th District, which runs along the Potomac River and covers portions of Fairfax and Loudoun counties, was viewed as a swing district. While the Republican Comstock narrowly won re-election in 2013, McAuliffe defeated Republican Ken Cuccinelli by nearly 10 percent that year. In the 2012 presidential election, 34th District voters were split between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, with each candidate earning 18,688 votes, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

Though Democrats were sure to celebrate Murphy's victory Tuesday -- and that of Democrat Joseph E. Preston in the House 63rd District in the Richmond suburbs -- Republicans still maintain a comfortable majority in the House of Delegates. The current breakdown, factoring in a Murphy and Preston win, exhibits 67 Republicans and 33 Democrats.

Republicans also hold an advantage in the 40-person Virginia Senate with 21 members to Democrats' 19.

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parisit ran fr public - public ran fr him

Sounds like the snow storm gave Murphy the edge she needed.

I’m not sure about that, Fred. As a Republican, I usually hope for poor weather because Democrats, traditionally, have a higher percentage of fair-weather-voters. But in the last two special elections, where snow blunted the turnout, the Dems won with Jennifer Wexton and Kathleen Murphy.

But I do agree with you, Fred, that Murphy better not get too comfortable in Richmond. With her money advantage and residual name ID advantage from last time, a 325-vote win isn’t particularly impressive. But a win is a win and props to her.

Congratulations to Delegate-elect Kathleen Murphy; now on to Richmond.

On the other hand, as of 1130 Wednesday, Mr. Parisot still has his illegal signs up along the Algonkian Parkway median, including a large 4x4 sign up at the entrance to Lowes Island Elementary School.

12,000 votes vs 30,000+ last time.  Sounds like the snow storm gave Murphy the edge she needed. Next time she won’t be so lucky.

The candidate with zero name recognition and a 2-1 deficit in campaign money came 325 votes from winning Virginia’s 34th District.

THAT’s the headline, Trevor. ~ Rick @RickCanton

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