After more than a month of suspense in the lead-up to a recount, Jennifer Carroll Foy is officially the Democratic nominee in the race for the Second District seat in the House of Delegates.
Though a group of Prince William County judges still needs to officially certify the results, election officials say the July 20 recount confirmed Foy’s narrow victory over Josh King in the June 13 primary.
On election night, officials gave her a 10-vote lead over King, but that grew to a 12-vote margin after a re-canvass of ballots the next day. King requested a formal recount, and officials found an additional two votes in Foy’s favor following an all-day effort tallying ballots at the Old Manassas Courthouse.
“It feels great that there’s some finality to it,” Foy said in an interview. “We’re able to tell people concretely that we’re the official nominee going forward, and we can focus on the general.”
Foy now advances to face Republican Laquan Austion this November, as the two square off to fill a seat left open by retiring GOP Del. Mark Dudenhefer. The district covers parts of both Prince William and Stafford counties.
Foy says she has some ground to make up now that the uncertainty surrounding the recount is over, but she believes she was able to use the time off “effectively” by building a “dynamic team” to staff her campaign.
“We couldn’t do too much else, so we took the time to be as efficient and effective as possible,” Foy said.
The recount certainly hurt Foy when it came time to raise money — she pulled in just $3,000 in the month of June, while Austion managed about $8,600. The Republican also has a hefty advantage in cash on hand, banking about $26,300 to Foy’s $8,400.
But Foy was also a massive financial underdog to King — he spent about $131,300 on the race compared to Foy’s roughly $35,000 — and she expects that she’ll be able to attract plenty of small-dollar donations to help make up for Austion’s early advantage.
“In the primary, the majority of our donations came from less than $100 contributions, which is something I’m really proud of,” Foy said. “It was difficult when we were waiting for the recount, because people want to make sure their dollars are going to the candidate for the general, and I understand that. But this has always been a people-powered, grassroots campaign.”
In the run-up to November Foy plans to focus on four major issues she frequently talked about in the primary: “transportation, education, criminal justice reform and protecting women’s rights.” But she says she also gained a new appreciation for the importance of fighting to pass the expansion of Medicaid in the General Assembly the more she spoke with voters over the last few months, and she’s hoping to champion the issue this fall.
“With all that’s happening at the federal level around healthcare, we’re really seeing the ramifications of not having Medicaid expansion here in Virginia,” Foy said. “It’s on everyone’s tongue right now.”
Overall, Foy believes that Democrats in the district are “energized” and will quickly get behind her campaign. She’s running in one of the most narrowly divided districts in the state — and one of a handful that picked Hillary Clinton over President Donald Trump this fall, despite having a Republican delegate — so Foy will certainly have the attention of the state party as well, now that she’s made things official.
“As a delegate, she will fight to expand access to affordable health care and protect women’s reproductive freedom. We are excited as she now officially kicks off her general election campaign,” House Democratic Leader Del. David Toscano and Democratic Caucus Chair Del. Charniele Herring wrote in a joint statement. “We would also like to congratulate Josh King on a fair and well-fought campaign. Josh is a veteran with two tours of duty and has protected his community as a deputy sheriff here at home. We look forward to working with him as he continues to serve the people of Virginia.”