August 21, 2011
The night – and early morning after – of the Democratic firehouse primary was filled with excitement and disappointment for the 10 candidates vying for two city seats.
The Democratic Party reports 2,582 people voted in the primary race. Months of campaigning, shaking hands and promoting platforms ended early Sunday morning for some of the candidates.
After six hours of counting ballots, Satyendra Huja, Kathy Galvin and Dede Smith won the Democratic nominations for City Council while Llezelle Dugger won the Circuit Clerk of Court nomination.
Democratic Party co-chair Jim Nix released the results around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, more than six hours after voting ended at Burley Middle School.
“It was a rather tedious process,” Nix said.
In the race for clerk of court, incumbent Paul Garrett faced off against Llezelle Dugger and Pam Melampy. Dugger came out on top.
“Shock was first. And then the excitement hits you,” Dugger said upon learning she won. “And then [I’m] just excited to represent the party as the nominee for clerk of court.”
Dugger’s win means Garrett, who’s served in the position for more than 30 years, will have it no longer.
“He ran a classy campaign,” Dugger said. “When we heard the news, he gave me a very warm hug.”
Seven Democrats vied for three nominations for Charlottesville City Council. Voters nominated incumbent Satyendra Huja, Kathy Galvin and Dede Smith. Smith won her nomination just 31 votes ahead of the fourth-place candidate, Paul Beyer.
“It's down to 31 votes,” Beyer said. “We need to count these things again in the morning just to make sure we've got things exactly the way they should be.”
For now, the victors are beginning to look forward.
“Now it's time to be a unified democratic party candidate slate,” Galvin said.
The deadline for any Republicans or independents to get involved in the November general election is Tuesday, Aug. 23. As of now, five independent candidates have filed papers to say they’re running in the city council race, though Dugger currently has no opponent for clerk of court.
The general election will be held Nov. 8.
August 20, 2011
The polls closed for the Charlottesville Democratic Party Primary at 7:00pm Saturday with cheers from the candidates and voters.
The unofficial number of voters totals 2,524. That's 2,231 voters from Saturday, 284 absentee ballots and 9 at-home ballots. That option was for people who could not physically get to the polls because of a disability.
Counters were then left to the daunting task of counting all the votes twice. They will be tallied and recorded once, with a check of the numbers after that.
As of 11:30pm, the votes were still being counted. Officials are calling it a "close race."
August 20, 2011
The Charlottesville Democratic Party held their Firehouse Primary Saturday. Ten candidates are competing for four open seats: three on City Council and one Circuit Court Clerk.
The primary drew more than 2,500 voters to Burley Middle School on Rose Hill Drive. All candidates were there as well, trying to convince voters that they were the man or woman for the job.
"The first time we had a Firehouse Primary, we got a lot of people out and we felt really good about it," says current Democratic City Council member Kristen Szakos. "This year we've blown that number out of the water."
The voters showed up in droves, picking up their ballot, taking it to the voting room inside Burley before dropping it in the ballot box, where it's counted.
Each ballot will be assigned to a pair of counters who are appointed by the candidates but paired up so they represent a different candidate. The counters will go through all of the ballots once, then twice so no mistakes are made.
After the counting is done, the results will be announced.
"The sad reality is that a majority of the candidates will be disappointed at the end of the day and so will their supporters," says the Democratic Party co-chair Jim Nix. "There's just no way around it. In this election a majority of people will be losers."
The Democrats on the ballot for City Council are: Paul Beyer, Collete Blount, Brevy Cannon, Kathy Galvin, James Halfaday, Satyendra Huja and DeDe Smith. Only the top three will move past the primary.
There are three candidates on the ballot for Clerk of Court. They are: Llezelle Dugger, Paul Garrett and Pam Melampy.