The arrival of Labor Day brings with it the unofficial end of summer and the equally unofficial start of election season.
In Fairfax County, the 2022 campaign season is likely to be a snoozer. All that’s really being contested in the vicinity are the three U.S. House of Representatives’ districts, and while it appears as if Republicans have found themselves candidates of a higher caliber than in recent years, the end result is preordained: Democrats Don Beyer, Jennifer Wexton and Gerald Connolly will be headed back to Congress. Whether they’re in the majority or minority remains to be seen, as both political parties at the national level are doing their darndest to alienate voters by failing to offer them competent, responsive government.
But forget 2022 and turn attention to 2023, which, from a Fairfax County perspective, will be a big, big deal. All the Board of Supervisors seats, School Board seats, constitutional offices and General Assembly seats will be up for grabs. And if the race for commonwealth’s attorney in 2019 taught us anything, it’s to get engaged early in the process – or pay the price later.
We who toil typing out these editorials are old and gray enough to remember when Fairfax County was a true two-party community, and spent our formative years covering elections where local power passed from Democrats to Republicans with a lather-rinse-repeat regularity.
In recent times and for numerous reasons, Fairfax has morphed into a largely Democratic oligarchy, with few bastions of GOP strength remaining. But that doesn’t mean Republicans can’t field solid candidates in 2023 who can raise the money and get their message out. There’s no way to predict the mood of the electorate in 2023; heck, some of those Republicans might well stand a chance.
The coming months will be make-or-break time for Fairfax Republicans (who will become known as “Fairfax Republican’ts” if they can’t regain a footing in local political discourse). The time for planning is now; the clock is already ticking.
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