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Democrats React Jubilantly to Results

Tidbits from the Democrats' victory party at Tysons Corner:

"It's a huge win. ... It's an extraordinary sweep," said a jubilant Connolly in an interview, adding that Fairfax residents have endorsed his approach to government over that of his Republican rivals. "They are interested in leadership that gets results. They are not interested in ideology, and they are not interested in inexperience."

He said he and his board colleagues "delivered a government that has provided the finest quality of services in the U.S."

Connolly would not say whether his victory moved him toward seeking a seat in Congress, instead pointing to unfinished business in Fairfax.

"I am savoring a wonderful victory. I think it may very well be the largest victory of an incumbent chairman in a two-party competitive race in modern times," Connolly said. "I secretly had hoped we could win all 9 districts, but frankly the results tonight exceeded my expectations."

The electorate has "expressed its reaffirmation of our leadership. That's a pretty special responsibility, so tonight is a night for savoring that."

"We've got a lot of aggressive goals" for the next four years, he said, pointing to efforts to extend pre-kindergarten education, to increase parkland and improve transportation.

***

"This is one of those moments you dream about your whole life," J. Chapman Petersen told yelling supporters at the McLean Hilton, after his victory was clear.

"My hat's off to her for her service," he said of Davis.

Petersen thanked his law enforcement backers, whose support was affixed to his "Chap!" signs: "I'm putting a new sticker on my signs tomorrow. It's going to say 'Voter Endorsed,'" he joked.

"I'm an attorney. I believe in forensic evidence. And this is what I have," he said, holding up two hole-worn leather shoes to cheers from supporters, some of whom had also gone door to door in the intense campaign.

***

Connolly voters said they approved of the way local government was working.

"The county's running very well. If the status quo is going, keep it going," said Erich Steinbeck, a maintenance worker who lives in Connolly's Mantua neighborhood.

Longtime supporter Jim Amanna said Connolly deserved some of the credit for the broader gains seen in state races. "He's been a good part of the turning of the tide here in Northern Virginia," Amanna said, adding that success at providing local government services has built support for Democrats. "You do that with strong and effective local government," he said.

***

Some Democrats found national significance in some of party's successes Tuesday.

"We're trying to turn Virginia into a blue state," said Vienna real estate broker Preeda Sukachevin. "In the presidential election, Virginia is going to be another state the Republicans are going to have to fight for."


***

In an interview, Kaine said Democrats picked up four seats in the Senate, with two races still outstanding.

"It's an exciting time," Kaine said. "The state is really a competitive state."

The gains mean there is a new Democratic partner for him in Richmond. "It enables me to get even more done," Kaine said.

***

Sen. Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said the gains in the senate will be significant for Northern Virginia residents "because virtually every senator up here becomes a committee chairman. That's huge."

Saslaw becomes chairman of commerce and labor, for instance, in addition to majority leader. "There will be a heavy urban focus," he said in an interview, referring to the senate under new leadership.

But he also sought to strike a centrist note, saying: "The state senate has always governed from the center. That's what we do."

***

Del. Brian Moran, chair of Democratic caucus, said the gain of four in the house was significant win. "It's the largest increase since Watergate," he said.

"The number and location of our victories tonight is very significant. We won in Virginia Beach, and in Prince William, where it had been a long time since we had success. We appealed to suburban voters," he said.

By Liz Heron  |  November 7, 2007; 12:42 AM ET
Categories:  Election 2007  
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Next: GOP Speaker of the Va. House Reacts to Returns

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