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A voter participates in the Super Tuesday primary at Mount Vernon Community School, March 3, 2020 (Staff photo by James Cullum)

(Updated 3:35 p.m.) Early voting will start on Friday, Jan. 19, for the dual Presidential primaries.

The primaries are scheduled for March 5. The deadline for early voting is March 2.

“The ballots will contain a contest for either the Democratic or Republican nominee for President of the United States,” a release from the City of Alexandria said. “In Dual Primary Elections, qualified voters may vote in either Primary, but not both.”

The release said voters must indicate their choice to the polling officer.

Incumbent President Joe Biden is running against Marianne Williamson and Dean Benson Phillips in the Democratic Presidential Primary.

On the Republican ballot is:

  • Chris Christie
  • Ryan Binkley
  • Vivek Ramaswamy
  • Donald Trump
  • Ron DeSantis
  • Nikki Haley

Christie and Ramaswamy have since dropped out of the race. In the Iowa primary, Trump led the pack with 51% of the vote, with DeSantis at 21% and Haley at 19%.

The Office of Voter Registration & Elections is open for in-person voting from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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(Clockwise from top left) Alexandria City Council candidates Charlotte Scherer, City Council Member John Taylor Chapman, City Council Member Sarah Bagley, School Board Member Abdel Elnoubi, Council Member Kirk McPike and James Lewis announce their candidacies to the Alexandria Democratic Committee on Jan. 2, 2024 (staff photo by James Cullum)

(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) The field of candidates is getting crowded in Alexandria’s Democratic primary for City Council.

The list of nine candidates includes four incumbents, two School Board Members, two community leaders and a former magistrate, who, if elected would be the first transgender City Council member.

Two City Council slots (out of six) are up for grabs since Vice Mayor Amy Jackson and Council Member Alyia Gaskins are vacating their seats in their quests to replace outgoing Mayor Justin Wilson. Nine candidates have announced their intention to run, and six of them spoke last night at the Alexandria Democratic Committee’s monthly meeting.

City Council Members John Taylor Chapman, Sarah Bagley and Kirk McPike announced their intention to run last night, and Councilman Canek Aguirre will be announcing his candidacy in the coming days, he told ALXnow. Alexandria School Board Members Jacinta Greene and Abdel Elnoubi are also running, as are West End Business Association President James Lewis, Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority Resident Association President Kevin Harris and former Alexandria magistrate Charlotte Scherer.

Chapman, an Alexandria native, is seeking a fifth three-year term, making him the senior candidate running in the race.

“I’m going to be, hopefully, one of those individuals that can bring the experience of the last 11 years with the City Council to bear as we hopefully start a new tour with council members,” Chapman said. ” We’ve been through a lot, through recession, we’ve been through a pandemic, we’ve been through changes in state and federal leadership that, frankly, desire to take our city backward. And it’s this local part of the energy we have here that says to state changes and federal changes, ‘We need to have more.'”

Bagley is seeking her second term, and said that she’s been effective over the last three years.

“What I’m really proud of is in our first few years on council, we created an Office of Climate Action that cost $1.8 million,” she said. “We got a green business program now that’s being promoted.”

McPike is also seeking his second term in office and said that it wasn’t easy growing up gay in Texas, but that he found his home in Alexandria.

“We need to take the next step to our green building program and not only focus on what we’re building, but what we’ve already built, and how can we reduce the carbon emissions from our current buildings and infrastructure,” he said. “We need to take a real hard look at Alexandria’s long-term budget to make sure that we’re balancing our revenues, addressing our expenses so that we can continue to be a city that is prosperous, and most importantly, continue to fully fund the budget for Alexandria City Public Schools.”

Elnoubi was uncontested in his election to the School Board in 2021. That year, he decided against a City Council campaign and decided instead to run for the open District C slot.

“As your school board member, I’ve championed and supported several initiatives, such as pay increases for our educators, secured additional funding for additional teachers to adjust class sizes, added psychologists to address mental health,” he said. “We passed a resolution for 15 mile-an-hour school zones, and we’ve protected this community from (Republican Virginia Gov.) Glenn Youngkin, when we beat him in court during the height of the pandemic.”

Greene, who was elected to the School Board in 2018, did not announce on Tuesday night, and sent ALXnow the following statement: “As a proud Alexandrian for the past 21 years, an Alexandria School Board Member and a dedicated public servant, I am excited to announce my intent to run for the Alexandria City Council.”

Lewis said that the city needs to go beyond the Zoning for Housing initiative Council recently passed in order to continue increasing its stock of affordable housing.

“We all live in Alexandria because it’s a great city,” Lewis said. “But as with any place, we know that there are challenges, and I think front of mind for everyone is our affordable housing challenges. Council has taken some significant steps to get us there, but we all know that those are just steps… What’s really important to me personally, though, is also looking not just at affordable housing, but affordable homeownership to help families get out of the rat trap, build generational wealth and put roots down in this city.”

Scherer, a retired attorney and former Alexandria magistrate, is running her first campaign. If elected, she would be the first transgender member of Alexandria’s City Council. She said that she wants to build upon the city’s Zoning for Housing initiative, and that she’s a fast learner.

“I’m running to continue my journey of service and advocacy for the community I call home,” she said. “I’m dedicated to improving housing affordability, making substantial investments in our infrastructure and schools, extending transportation options for better accessibility, saving Metro first, and enhancing water and sewer management to protect our environment.”

Harris said that he will launch his campaign later this month.

“As a proud servant of Alexandria with a track record of working to improve the quality of life of it’s citizens and of working to help our city realize it’s potential, I’m excited about the opportunity to partner with and serve the citizens of our city at another level,” he said. “It’s definitely my intention to run for City Council. We will be making our official announcement and launch this month.”

The filing deadline for candidates is in late March and the Democratic Primary is on June 18.

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(Updated at 11:45 p.m.) The race for the next mayor of Alexandria has officially begun, sort of.

Last night, Vice Mayor Amy Jackson formally announced her candidacy to the Alexandria Democratic Committee (ADC), a rite of passage in Alexandria elected politics since the city has only ever elected a Republican mayor once, in 1872. Jackson’s opponent, City Council Member Alyia Gaskins, made her own announcement to the ADC on Dec. 2, and used the opportunity last night to announce her latest endorsements.

Jackson said that neither she nor Gaskins would likely be able to fill the shoes of outgoing Mayor Justin Wilson, but that she and her opponent would try “because we love Alexandria.”

“I made a commitment to our community a long time ago, in my youth and again, formally when I was elected to council,” Jackson said. “I promised I would continue to lead on several items of importance to our community, for our people and our programs, for our environmental, educational and economic growth, and align what’s important to our city’s welfare and our progressive values.”

Gaskins announced Tuesday that she’s been endorsed by former City Council Member Del Pepper and NOVA Labor. She said that she’s voted to make the city more equitable with her Zoning for Housing vote, as well as her vote ensuring collective bargaining rights to Alexandria firefighters and police — all measures that her opponent also voted in favor of.

Gaskins told the ADC last month that, if elected, she would be the first Black female mayor of Alexandria. The Pittsburgh native was elected to Council in 2021, and works as a public health strategist. She said she will launch her campaign at Indochen (4906 Brenman Park Drive) in Cameron Station at noon on Sunday, Jan. 28.

“We also know we’ve got some challenges that we have to fix — housing, infrastructure, safe schools, youth mental health and resilience,” Gaskins said. “This council has taken action and I have worked with each of you to take action as well.”

Jackson, a former Fairfax County Public Schools educator and administrator, was elected to the City Council in 2018 and became vice mayor in 2021. She’s an Alexandria native, having graduated from T.C. Williams High School, and has so far gotten the endorsement of fellow Titan, Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter, as well as Circuit Court Clerk Greg Parks, Virginia State Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-35), Del. Holly Seibold (D-35) and Prince William County Supervisor Andrea Bailey.

Jackson said that she supports a fully funded Alexandria City Public Schools system, and that the city “must strive to compensate our teachers and staff in a coordinated effort with ACPS collective bargaining procedures.”

“I think we can get that done for our teachers,” Jackson said.

Jackson will launch her campaign on Sunday, Jan. 21 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Doyles Outpost (4620A Kenmore Avenue).

The Democratic primary is June 18.

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Alexandria Democrats on election day (photo via Alexandria Democratic Committee/Facebook)

Today (Tuesday) is the last chance Alexandrians have to vote in the Democratic primary.

In-person voting is underway for the 8th Congressional District Democratic primary, in which incumbent Rep. Don Beyer faces political newcomer, Arlingtonian Victoria Virasingh.

Election Day turnout was at about 1.5%, with 1,534 Alexandria residents voting in person, as of 10 a.m. today, according to the Alexandria Office of Voter Registration and Elections. But about 5,000 absentee ballots have been returned, bringing total turnout to about 6.7% of registered voters.

Virasingh, a daughter of immigrants, was born and raised in Arlington and is active with the Arlington County Democratic Committee. She was previously part of Communities in Schools at Barcroft Elementary School. Her professional resume includes work for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the IRS Criminal Investigations Unit, and tech company Palantir.

Virasingh’s website lists some campaign priorities as housing for all, equity in education, securing a living wage and Medicare for all.

Beyer has held onto the 8th District, which also includes Arlington, the City of Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County, since he won a crowded primary for former Congressman Jim Moran’s seat in 2014 and the general election later that year.

Among issues Beyer lists on his campaign website are climate change, housing, immigration, gun violence prevention, the federal workforce and others.

The winner will face any non-Democratic candidates in November. The Republican Party nominated Arlington resident Karina Lipsman.

How to vote

Any voter can cast a ballot in the Democratic primary, regardless of party affiliation, because Virginia is an open primary state. The deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration, was May 31.

Polling locations are open until 7 p.m. Voters must cast their ballots at their assigned location, which can be found on the Virginia elections website. If mailing a ballot, it must be postmarked no later than today or delivered in person today.

Photo via Alexandria Democratic Committee/Facebook

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History was made this week in Alexandria.

Our top story was on Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson winning the Democratic primary on Tuesday, defeating former Mayor Allison Silberberg. Alexandria historically votes for democratic mayors, and Wilson faces off against Republican candidate Annetta Catchings in November.

Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker also unseated Del. Mark Levine for the Democratic nomination in Virginia’s 45th District seat in the House of Delegates. Levine also lost his bid for lieutenant governor.

The three incumbents running for City Council all made it through the primary, with City Councilman John Taylor Chapman receiving the most votes. The other candidates who made it, and will move on to the general election in November are Alyia Smith-Parker Gaskins, Councilwoman Amy Jackson, Councilman Canek Aguirre, Sarah Bagley and Kirk McPike.

This Saturday is will also see the final graduating class of T.C. Williams High School walk the stage before the school’s name is changed in July to Alexandria City High School.

Next Sunday is also Father’s Day, and a number of Alexandria businesses are offering unique specials.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. BREAKING: Wilson wins Democratic mayoral primary, Silberberg concedes
  2. BREAKING: Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown puts in his notice
  3. A rare glimpse inside Alexandria’s abandoned and overgrown GenOn power plant
  4. BREAKING: Bennett-Parker declares victory in 45th District race, Levine loses Delegate and Lieutenant Governor races
  5. Pride flags torn down outside City Hall and thrown into fountain at Market Square
  6. Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown isn’t just retiring, he’s leaving the city altogether
  7. BREAKING: Incumbents hold on in Alexandria City Council Democratic primary
  8. Three incumbents and lots of newcomers running for Alexandria School Board this November
  9. Here’s how much it would cost to reverse the Seminary Road Diet
  10. Democratic primary settled in Alexandria, but underlying issues linger
  11. Critical Missing Person Alert issued for 13-year-old autistic boy

Have a safe weekend!

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Last night was a rout for a vocal contingent of Alexandrians pushing for a change in city leadership, but both top dogs in the local Democratic party and their opposition say the fight isn’t over.

At Los Tios Grill in Del Ray, former Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg told enthusiastic supporters that conversations over issues like the Seminary Road Diet and Taylor Run Stream restoration project would continue, although the candidates who put those issues at the forefronts of their campaigns lost.

Silberberg said that her supporters should join boards and commissions and join their civic associations, continue speaking out and working on changing the city from within.

“This is a democracy,” Silberberg said. “All voices need to be heard. I remain dedicated to those causes and getting things done, and I encourage people to stay involved.”

On the Bring Integrity Back to Alexandria Facebook group, a page that had been a social gathering place for locals frustrated with city leadership, the reaction was dour, with members calling the results “depressing” or blaming the outcome on outside influences in local politics.

In terms of voting precincts, Silberberg won City Hall and a handful of the more residential areas in the center of the city, like around Seminary Hill, but Wilson won the more densely urban West End, Old Town, and Del Ray.

The election saw 23% of registered voters show up to the polls — a relatively high voter turnout rate for a non-Presidential election year.

Clarence Tong, chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee, said the high number of candidates — 13 candidates in the Democratic primary for six seats — was likely one of the reasons for the high turnout, and that last night’s results were an endorsement for the leadership of Wilson and the incumbent City Council.

“Yesterday we experienced high primary turnout in Alexandria. this was a reflection of the high quality of the democratic statewide and local candidates on the ballot, likely the largest number in our history,” Tong said. “The great thing about the Democratic Party is the broad range of experiences and perspective from our candidates.”

Tong said that many of the issues debated during the campaign will likely continue to be debated after the election.

“I would fully expect the policy issues that were debated during the Council primary to continue in other public forums,” he said.

Photo via Alexandria Democratic Committee/Facebook

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Morning Notes

McAuliffe, Ayala, Herring win statewide Democratic primary — “Former Virginia governor and longtime fixture as a national Democratic Party leader Terry McAuliffe won the state’s Democratic nomination for a second term as governor in Tuesday’s primary election, the Associated Press reported at 7:44 p.m. In the two other statewide races, the lieutenant governor’s contest was called by AP for Del. Hala Ayala. In the attorney general race, Del. Jay Jones conceded to incumbent Mark Herring.” [Patch]

Council candidates pose after Democratic primary — “Congratulations to our 2021 Democratic nominees for Alexandria Mayor (Justin Wilson) and City Council (John Chapman, Alyia Gaskins, Amy Jackson, Canek Aguirre, Sarah Bagley, and Kirk McPike), and the 45th House District (Elizabeth Bennett Parker)! Onward to November!” [Facebook]

Alexandria Health Department expands clinic partnerships and locations — “In recent weeks, the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) has expanded vaccine clinic partnerships and locations. In Alexandria and the region, mass vaccination events have slowed significantly over the past month. In response, AHD has focused on targeting outreach in communities where vaccination rates are lower and partnering with organizations to reach priority populations.” [City of Alexandria]

Made in ALX hosting first art show and sale — “Saturday, June 26, join a group of Alexandria artists on the patio behind ALX Community (near the gazebo between the Torpedo Factory and The Blackwall Hitch) to see new pieces and pick up something unique for your home!” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s weather — “Cloudy. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 88F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph… Overcast. Low 71F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New job: Front desk assistant — “Dogtopia, the industry leader in dog daycare, boarding, and spa services has an immediate opening for an energetic, organized, sales and solution-minded individual to join our team as our Sales Receptionist.” [Indeed]

Photo via Alexandria Democratic Committee/Facebook

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(Updated at 12 p.m.) After months of debating, campaigning and posting, the Democratic primary in Alexandria is finally here.

Polls across Alexandria are open today until 7 p.m., and anyone in line by then will be permitted to vote.

According to the city website, all voters are required to bring a form of identification at the polls or sign an ID confirmation statement. Anyone who doesn’t bring an ID or sign a confirmation statement will be offered a provisional ballot.

A full list of voting precincts is available on the city website.

In addition to the statewide Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General races, Alexandrians will be voting in a competitive Mayoral and City Council race. Residents of the 45th District will also vote between incumbent Mark Levine and current Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker.

The mayoral race is a rematch between incumbent Mayor Justin Wilson and former Mayor Allison Silberberg, whom Wilson ousted three years ago.

“I’m feeling great,” Silberberg said. “We’ve got a huge precinct operation and we’re hearing from people across the city. It’s thrilling and we’re running right through the tape. People can vote until 7 p.m. Every vote will matter.”

“This has been an exciting election season that has allowed our community to have an intense discussion about our City’s future,” Wilson said. “I hope to earn the support of our City for another term as Alexandria’s Mayor.”

So far, more than 6,100 residents have voted absentee — about three times as much as in the 2018 Democratic primary (2,007 absentee votes) and a 255% jump over the 2017 Democratic primary (1,687 absentee votes). The absentee numbers will continue to increase, and as long as they have a postmark dated June 8 will be counted along with the other ballots before their official certification by the Alexandria Electoral Board on Monday, June 14.

That means that the unofficial election results could change depending on the final absentee numbers. As of 10 a.m. there were 4,018 in-person votes cast —  totaling 10,123 with absentee votes — out of 98,728 registered voters in the city. That’s about 10%.

The registrar’s office is anticipating turnout in the 20% to 30% range, and as of 10 a.m. the top performing precincts are Mount Vernon Recreation Center with 615 total votes, George Washington Middle School with 591 votes and the George Washington National Masonic Memorial with 540 votes..

After polls close, both candidates will host their respective results parties at Del Ray restaurants within a stone’s throw of each other. Wilson said his campaign will be gathering at Pork Barrel BBQ (2312 Mount Vernon Avenue) and Silberberg will be at Los Tios Grill (2615 Mount Vernon Avenue), in another mirror to the 2018 election.

Alexandria Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, who is running against Del. Mark Levine for the 45th District seat in the House of Delegates, voted at around 6:30 a.m. at Matthew Maury Elementary School. She said that she didn’t sleep the night before out of nervous anticipation.

“I think we ran as hard a campaign as we could have,” Bennett-Parker said after voting. “We’ve knocked on almost 12,000 doors, we’ve sent mail and communicated with voters in a lot of different ways. I don’t think there’s anything at this point that I could have done differently.”

There are 13 candidates in the Democratic primary for six City Council seats. With only three incumbents running for reelection, at least half the City Council is guaranteed to be new starting next year. The top six vote-getters will face off against Independent candidate Florence King and Republican Darryl Nirenberg in November.

City Councilman John Taylor Chapman, while carrying his young son, voted shortly after polls opened at the George Washington National Masonic Memorial. It was his third Democratic primary as a candidate. Chapman said he plans to watch the results at ALX Community (201 N Union Street) in Old Town.

“There is always a little bit of nervousness,” Chapman said after voting. “Our team has worked hard to reach as many Alexandrians as possible, talk to them about the issues and our platform, and we’ve hit close to 20,000 doors and sent mailers to more than 30,000 folks… I think elections are the concrete reminder that they are the way the community gets what it wants.”

Candidates Alyia Gaskins, Councilman Canek Aguirre, Sarah Bagley and Kirk McPike also spent the morning outside the Mount Vernon Recreation Center precinct.

James Cullum contributed to this story

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What a week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.

Our top story was on President Joe Biden stopping by the Sportrock Climbing Center in Alexandria last Friday with First Lady Jill Biden and Governor Ralph Northam.

Seeing the president around town is getting to be a regular thing. The president, who also visited in April, discussed “the state’s progress against the coronavirus pandemic” and the celebration of “summer as Virginia lifts all COVID-19 distancing and capacity restrictions.”

This week, we also followed up on a New York Times report about the Virginia Theological Seminary making reparations payments to slavery descendants. The program was launched in 2019, and the school issued $2,100 in annual payments to 15 families in February.

On Wednesday, the Fire Department released its restructuring plan, which goes into effect June 12, and is intended to help emergency response times by shifting resources. AFD will conduct community conversations on the restructuring on Saturday, June 5, at 10 a.m.; Monday, June 7, at 2 p.m. and Thursday, June 10, at 7 p.m.

Closing the short workweek, on Friday Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown announced that his retirement. Brown’s last day is June 25, and the City Manager is soon expected to name an acting chief to lead the department while the city’s undergoes a national search for a permanent replacement.

Election stories

Important stories

Top stories

  1. UPDATED: President Biden and Gov. Northam visited Alexandria this morning
  2. JUST IN: Virginia State Police chase U-Haul pickup truck through Alexandria
  3. Bennett-Parker says Levine mailer on Commonwealth of Virginia letterhead is ethics breach
  4. Goodie’s Frozen Custard & Treats opens in Old Town
  5. Hank & Mitzi’s Italian Kitchen closes for the foreseeable future in Old Town North
  6. Volunteers needed this weekend to help clear dangerous stretch of Mount Vernon Trail
  7. Wilson and Silberberg mayoral debate finale opens possibility of ‘tweaking’ Seminary Road Diet
  8. Homegrown Restaurant Group gives employees raise to $15 an hour, will ease COVID restrictions at 6 restaurants
  9. ‘Rock It Grill’ eyeing karaoke expansion, bringing back Halloween party
  10. Here’s the order that City Council candidates will appear on the ballot for the June 8 democratic primary
  11. Ownership of Landmark’s streets could make a big difference down the road

Photo via White House/Twitter

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Morning Notes

Biden Wins Virginia — “Virginia voters have overwhelmingly given former Vice President Joe Biden a sizable win over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in Tuesday’s primary election. According to unofficial state election returns, Biden has been called the winner of the state with 53.3 percent of what was a record primary turnout, and will capture the largest share of its 99 delegates.” [Patch, Washington Post]

City Holding Coronavirus Info Session — “The City of Alexandria, the Alexandria Health Department, Inova Health System, and the Alexandria City Public Schools will hold an online virtual information session on Thursday, March 12, from 8 to 9 p.m., to provide information and answer questions about the COVID-19 coronavirus. The session will be accessible at alexandriava.gov/Health.” [City of Alexandria, Alexandria Living]

North Old Town Quickly Developing — “Old Town North has been witnessing metamorphic change evolving before our eyes over the last two decades. Residential and mixed-use developments, including rental apartments, townhouses, condos, and retail spaces scattered throughout. Among notable additions are the Harris Teeter at The Kingsley, the Gables Old Town North with apartments, restaurants and retail built on the old Giant/ABC Store site. Redevelopment of the abandoned Bus Barn site has just commenced.” [Zebra]

Nearby: Redevelopment Floated for Shopping Center — “One developer is proposing putting 900 apartments where the Belle View Shopping Center — recently ravaged by a fire — now stands.” [Alexandria Living, Covering the Corridor]

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