Vote here sign election day alexandria

A sign outside the Beatley Library in Alexandria on Election Day 2020.

Republicans are hoping to wrest back another seat on the Manassas City Council this year, after Democrats took a majority for the first time in 2018 and elected their first mayor, Michelle Davis-Younger, in 2020. 

Three of the council’s six seats are up for election Tuesday. Republican council members Theresa Coates Ellis and Lynn Forkell Greene, along with Democrat Ralph Smith, are all looking for another term on the body. Both parties are looking to add seats, with Democrats currently holding a 4-2 majority. 

Voters can make up to three selections for the council, and the top three vote-getters will join the council for its next term. 

Joining Smith on the Democratic ticket are two new faces that the party hopes will knock off Coates Ellis and Forkell Greene. 

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Sonia Vasquez Luna


Labor organizer Sonia Vasquez Luna won the most votes in the party’s primary this summer. A native of El Salvador, she serves on the board of NoVa Labor, the region’s AFL-CIO chapter, and the board for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. On the campaign trail, Vasquez Luna has called for expanding transportation alternatives within the city and increasing investment in the city’s infrastructure, including its parks, roads and sidewalks. 

Democrat Dheeraj Jagadev – a teacher at Osbourn High School and member of the city’s Planning Commission – isn’t completely new to local politics. He was a finalist to be appointed to the vacated council seat that Smith took in 2019. Back in June, he finished third in the primary, behind Vasquez Luna and Smith, and has advocated for expanding the city’s Spanish-language communications and services, as well as improving student access to mental health resources. 

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Dheeraj Jagadev

Smith, meanwhile, was appointed to the council in 2019 and re-elected in 2020. Formerly the president of the Prince William Branch of the NAACP, Smith has also served on the board of directors for the American Red Cross. In his time on the council, Smith has, at times, been something of a centrist. In 2021, he joined Coates Ellis in calling for reduced tax rates, and he also opposed a special use permit for Wawa to build a new store on Sudley Road. 

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Ralph Smith

On the other side of the ballot, Republicans will look to hold their two seats and oust Smith. 

The newest face on the GOP ticket is Rick Bookwalter, a commercial airline pilot and veteran of the U.S. Navy. A member of the city’s Advisory Board to Social Services, Bookwalter has criticized what he calls “faddish ideologies” in Manassas City Public Schools and called for prioritizing the city’s police and fire departments. 

Coates Ellis, the founder of public relations company Tackle Management, was first elected to the city council in 2018. Serving in the minority on the council, Coates Ellis has called for lowering real estate and personal property taxes. Earlier this year, she pushed to keep effective tax levels the same by reducing the tax rate as property values rose. She has also advocated for a number of bee-friendly city initiatives to help stem the loss of pollinators, including starting the Manassas Bee Festival and getting the city designated as a part of Bee City USA. 

Theresa Coates Ellis

Theresa Coates Ellis

Coates Ellis lost her bid for mayor after Mayor Hal Parrish II declined to run for re-election in 2020 and was beaten out in a crowded Republican primary earlier this year to be the GOP nominee in the 10th congressional district. 

Forkell Greene is hoping to win a competitive election to the council for the first time. She won a special election for her seat last year, but Democrat David Farajollahi had dropped out of the race without enough time to be replaced on the ballot. 

Lynn Forkell Greene.jpg

Lynn Forkell Greene

Seeking her first full term, Forkell Greene has called for the city to slow down on new development and city infrastructure projects that reduce car travel lanes, while calling for a reduced tax burden on the city’s residents. Before joining the council, she was also a prominent advocate for the Greater Manassas Baseball League as the city gave Micron purchase rights to the league’s city-owned complex. 

Jared Foretek covers the Manassas area and regional news across Northern Virginia. Reach him at

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Jared Foretek covers Prince William County Public Schools, the city of Manassas and transportation news across Northern Virginia. Reach him at

(5) comments

Mike Hunt

Unfortunately not enough Honkeys in Manassas anymore. Manassas will fall in line with all the other crime ridden democrat cesspools, as minorities will always vote for their own kind regardless of the results.

Allen Muchnick

Ralph Smith, Sonia Vasquez Luna, and Dheerag Jagadev are all well-qualified candidates who will move Manassas forward and invest in our community's future, whereas Theresa Coates Ellis, Lynn Forkell Green, and Rick Bookwalter are poor choices and often-negative influences would move Manassas backwards.

Watch Theresa Coates Ellis make the tough governing decisions during a 2021 City Council work session on the City Budget:

George Lawton IV

Allen, I give you credit at least you're consistent with the lunacy. It appears Manassas Dems are doing well, they have an open latin American communist, a dud whose name has no English pronunciation, and the icing on the cake, a professional race hustler from the NAACP. Extra Extra diversity points this time around. Here you are, the self loathing white guy who has mass Stockholm syndrome.

Allen Muchnick

Only a White supremacist with an inferiority complex would post such a hateful comment. America's strength lies in its diversity; Whites are not "hostages" in this nation of immigrants.

Brad London

We've seen the results of democrat policies in the two years that Biden has had the presidency as well as the house and the senate. Poor economic results, high crime in democrat "led" cities, declining schools, etc. At the local level we need people who are fiscally responsible and support our police. We also need to ensure our schools are improved and not controlled by the teachers association.

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