UPDATE: Sen. Black meets with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad

State Sen. Dick Black (R-13th)

Well, that was quick. It took all of 34 hours into the new year for Election 2019 to take an interesting turn.

Firebrand state Sen. Dick Black, widely known for his fervent opposition to abortion rights and LGBTQ equality and his support of brutal Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, announced Wednesday he would be retiring from his 13th District seat.

Observers suspected Black would have a taxing re-election ride, but you have to imagine the Dems would rather stare down a fresh face than the two-term incumbent and Black political machine.

Whether the conservative stalwart and Purple Heart recipient stayed in the race or hung 'em up, the 13th District was and is bound to be one of the tightest, most-expensive contests in the commonwealth, and it'll be among the most intriguing local races to keep an eye on in this whirlwind of a political year in Loudoun.

Voters across the county have more than 30 local races before them this year – 11 General Assembly seats, nine Board of Supervisor seats, nine School Board seats and four of the five constitutional officers.

It'll be a wild one for us here at your local newsroom, but here are four races that have our immediate attention at the start of 2019.

Senate 13th District

Black's brand of conservatism is no doubt going out of style in his northern Virginia district, but he still had a shot at defeating whomever the Democrats put up.

With Black's retirement, the front-runner is now state Del. John Bell, an Air Force veteran who has already won two races in what has been a swing House district since the 2010 redistricting. Bell has challengers for the nomination, but given his name recognition and a line of high-profile party supporters, the 13th seat is his to lose.

The most alluring question is who will step in and seek the GOP nod. Ambitious young county supervisor Ron Meyer, who flirted with the idea of running for the seat in 2014, is an obvious suspect. As anyone who pays attention to Loudoun politics knows, it's unlikely Meyer will be content hanging around the Board of Supervisors' chamber for long.

Additionally, the rumors have long been flying that former School Board member Eric DeKenipp is weighing a bid – although that doesn't compute with his more family time reasoning for stepping away from the School Board.

There's a band of current Republican office-holders in the 13th Senate District, including Del. Dave LaRock (33rd), county Vice Chairman Ralph Buona and supervisors Matt Letourneau, Tony Buffington and Geary Higgins, so there could be some entertaining intraparty politicking in the months ahead.

2015 Results

Dick Black (R ) 52.4 percent; 25,898 votes

Jill McCabe (D) 47.6 percent; 23,544 votes

Board of Supervisors Chair

If the 2018 developments are indicators, the race for the chairman's post could be a fast-paced, potentially chaotic cage match.

Energetic incumbent Chairwoman Phyllis Randall, a Democrat, is looking to secure a second term, but it will be a more difficult race than 2015 if Republicans can rally and unite around a single candidate – something that didn't happen last cycle following the Scott York-Shawn Williams-Charlie King kerfuffle.

It's not breaking news that the county is more blue now than it was in 2015, and Randall is well-liked by the Democratic base and moderates, so she's the smart bet for re-election.

But while she may be the smart bet, she's far from a sure bet, especially if former Republican Party of Virginia Chairman John Whitbeck throws his hat in the ring, something many party insiders are banking on.

Two Republicans, Treasurer Roger Zurn and School Board member Jill Turgeon, were expecting to campaign for chairman in 2019 but have reconsidered and bowed out.

We anticipate a Randall-Whitbeck match-up being a loud, in-your-face contest featuring two passionate, ambitious politicians who aren't backing down from a fight at this stage in their careers. Cue the Michael Jackson popcorn GIF.

2015 Results

Phyllis Randall (D) 37.4 percent; 24,613 votes

Scott York (I) 30.2 percent; 19,891 votes

Charlie King (R) 29.1 percent; 19,218 votes

Tom Bellanca (I) 3 percent; 1,973 votes

Board of Supervisors Algonkian District

The Algonkian District in Sterling and Lowe's Island can expect to see plenty of political signage and dueling over the summer and into fall. Two-term incumbent Suzanne Volpe (R) is matching up against Juli Briskman, the local activist best known for flipping off President Donald Trump's motorcade as it was leaving his Trump National Golf Course in Sterling two summers ago.

Volpe has long been one of the most prolific and active Loudoun GOP cheerleaders, frequently stumping for candidates like Ken Cuccinelli, Mitt Romney and Barbara Comstock over the years.

Briskman's finger, meanwhile, and her embrace of the spotlight have awarded her the opportunity to raise a considerable amount of money.

Demographically, the Algonkian District should probably belong to the Democrats in 2019, but prognostication is tricky in low-turnout, off-year elections.

Look for the Republicans to paint Briskman as an extremist with no interest in governing and Democrats to underscore Volpe's cushy relationship with the development and building community.

2015 Results

Suzanne Volpe (R ) 52.2 percent; 4,119 votes

Andrew Resnick (D) 47.7 percent; 3,765 votes

House of Delegates 10th District

The blue wave in Virginia's 2017 General Assembly elections wasn't a complete stunner given President Trump's unpopularity in the commonwealth. But make no mistake: then-Del. Randy Minchew's loss to newcomer Wendy Gooditis (D) was among the most shocking results of the night.

We suspect Minchew, a longtime Loudoun Republican and well-connected land use attorney, blames his loss on the anti-Trump backlash – something that's hard to dispute. Perhaps he's correct in presuming that sentiment won't be so strong three years on from Trump's election.

With the pace of Washington's politics in the Trump area – and Loudoun's proximity to the District – who knows how the Trump factor will play come November, but we wholly expect to see Minchew launch a campaign to reclaim his seat.

If Gooditis can defeat Minchew a second time, that's a huge indicator of just how blue Loudoun and on west has become.

2017 Results

Wendy Gooditis (D) 51.9 percent; 15,161 votes

Randy Minchew (R) 48 percent; 14,025 votes

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(12) comments

BobOhneiserEsq

Amerigirl, OK . here is a fact the article ignored. In 2015 I got more votes countywide for Commonwealth Attorney than Randall got for Chair and the article left out that I am also a candidate for Chair for the BOS. Was that "journalistically fair"?

amerigirl

This was written in January, had you thrown your hat in the ring by then? I thought you did it in March, which would explain why you weren't mentioned and why they said "if" John C. L. Whitbeck decided to run. The Commonwealth Attorney race, along with many other races in Loudoun, wasn't even covered so why would they mention the number of votes? For the time it was written I believe it was "journalistically fair".

BobOhneiserEsq

Should the voters of one of the most educated, technically competent and wealthy communities in the USA be labeled by color. Do the "red" folks really not cringe when their representatives push for high density residential projects which drive up property tax rates? Do "blue" folks really applaud the obvious lack of financial stewardship by the school board as we now see a $1.3 billion operational budget and a $4.4 billion CIP without any specific metrics in place to evaluate the Superintendent's performance, no evidence ANY turf fields passed financial scrutiny, buses with no minimum usage level, no minimum nor maximum class sizes. Neither partisan driven voting group should be happy that the BOS (nor the school board) has even scheduled meetings with Fairfax County to combine bidding strengths to lower costs on commodities etc. or improve lobbying strengths to better manage the state relationship with revenue generating counties like Fairfax and Loudoun.
The Chair of the BOS has to work with both parties but should be savvy enough to protect Loudoun from being overly harvested by the state, analytical enough to control LCPS spending without proper management and smart enough to fully support all the Loudoun based charities that help the poorest citizens in Loudoun because no community can claim success while some people are homeless living in tents, students who want to learn technical skills are blocked from classes or home owners burdened by a property tax rate nearly three times higher than the state average!

David Dickinson

This paper has been a left wing rag for years. Sad, but true.

amerigirl

Chris, Okay I agree there was a slant when saying of Dick Black “he still had a shot at defeating whomever the Democrats put up”. It is an editorial, not a news piece, or maybe you have become too defensive with the area turning so blue.

romano

it is a given that the LTM, like 95% of media outlets out there, are heavily biased. It is becoming increasingly clear to curious consumers of this news, and was a major reason why so many were suprised when Mr. Trump won the election. They believed that the biased reporting and misinformation were fair and fact, when they were neither. And while this is indeed an editorial, as Mr. McHale says, it totally and completely bleeds into the supposedly unbiased reporting. Anyone who needs this explained to them hasn't been paying attention over the past 10 years.

amerigirl

If you don’t like it why do you read it? try the Washington Examiner.

Chris McHale

I wonder why people no longer have faith in the press. Perhaps when it was when they started becoming part of politics rather than reporting on politics. How about LTM sticks to he news and not tries create it?

WonderWoman1280

It's called an "Editorial" for a reason.

Chris McHale

Yes it is the Editor's opinion. But when he/she makes his/her political leanings so clear it is hard to believe it fair reporting when it comes to the actual local political news. For example, he/she touts Briskman whose only accomplishment is to give the finger to the President, but he/she cast a negative light on Volpe simply because she supports members of her party. Since he/she fails to mention any positive results Volpe has accomplished in her two terms you have to wonder how much fair reporting Volpe will received during election season.

Again, it is fully understood it is just the editor's opinion but lets be honest about how far those opinions bleed into actual reporting.

amerigirl

Looks like that is exactly what they are doing, reporting all the facts. Care to explain?

Chris McHale

Facts or just some facts? I'm not surprise you don't see any slant to this piece. Once again, when the news reports only those facts that they wish you to know are they really reporting the news. This is similar to when Fox only reports news that is positive to the President while CNN only reports news that is negative to the President. I avoid both of those organizations. I would hope for more out of our local news.

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