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BREAKING: Wilson wins mayoral reelection, Amy Jackson poised to win vice mayor

(Updated 4:15 p.m. on Nov. 3) With 31 of 33 precincts reporting, Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson won a victory over Republican opponent Annetta Catchings on Tuesday.

The general election win came months after Wilson defeated his political rival, former Mayor Allison Silberberg, in the June primary.

Wilson is married with two children and was elected in a special election to Council in 2007 after the resignation of then-Vice Mayor Andrew Macdonald. He lost reelection in 2009, was reelected in 2012 and was elected vice mayor in 2015. For his day job, he is a senior manager at Amtrak.

“It’s a thrill to win reelection,” Wilson said. “It’s been a long couple of years, and divisive. We went straight from the pandemic to the election and didn’t really get out of the pandemic. Now we can turn the page. I’m really excited about this new Council. It’s full of people who want to move the city forward, and by all accounts, we’re anticipating difficult results at the state level.”

Catchings, who moved to the city last year, clashed with Wilson over issues like the city’s guaranteed basic income program and the community policing review board.

Catchings congratulated Wilson for his victory in a letter to her supporters Wednesday morning.

“In a heavy Democrat city with its own built-in machine, at least 31% of voters were asking for new leadership, a balanced government, and liked the message that I brought to the table,” Catchings wrote. “I began this race as a concerned parent and I will continue to be a voice, and an advocate for the people.”

City Council member Amy Jackson, leading the City Council race with 14.59% of the votes, is poised to become vice mayor. Jackson, a former teacher and school administrator who won election in 2018, push increased government transparency and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic as centerpieces of her reelection bid.

“I listened to the community and I did my job,” Jackson said. “As long as the future Council listens to the community, we’ll be in good shape.”

The Next City Council

The other five slots on City Council were filled by Democrats Aalyia Gaskins, John Taylor Chapman, Kirk McPike, Sarah Bagley and Canek Aguirre.

Gaskins, McPike and Bagley are newcomers to the City Council. Councilwoman Del Pepper retired, Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker was elected to represent the 45th District in the Virginia House of Delegates and Councilman Mo Seifeldein left politics altogether.

“I am feeling proud of the campaign that we ran,” Bagley said. “I worked until the last minute. I am thrilled that I get this opportunity, to be quite honest. I live in a special place with a lot of talented people. And I’m honored and excited that I get to work for them.”

Turnout in the election was bolstered by the gubernatorial race between former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe and Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin. McAuliffe carried Alexandria but will likely lose the statewide election.

“We had a long campaign, and we were hoping for different results at the statewide level,” McPike said. “We have so many issues, like affordable housing and flooding that we have federal dollars for, but will affect the statewide dollars we get. Alexandria is a bastion of democracy, and we need to show that there is a way forward in a progressive manner, even if we didn’t show that in the statewide level today.”

The Republican victory in the governor’s race puts some of the city’s goals in jeopardy.

“On a lot of progressive issues that this community thinks is important, as evidenced by our election result, residents are going to look at local government to lead, because we’re not going to have a partner in the state in a lot of cases,” Wilson said. “The region is going to have to speak much more clearly about its progressive values.”

The candidates will be sworn into office in January.

James Cullum and Vernon Miles contributed to this story.

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