Inside a Fairfax Precinct Tonight
Reporter Chris L. Jenkins just returned from a precinct in the crucial 34th Senate District of Fairfax County. Here's what he filed:
In the early evening, voters began showing up in bunches at Fairfax City Hall to cast their votes for a Senate race that many political observers have said is too close to call: Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R) is trying to withstand a well-funded attack from J. Chapman Petersen (D), a former state delegate and Fairfax City council member.
Interviews with nearly a dozen voters seemed to indicate partisan loyalty was a driving factor for some voters. The race has been unlikely in some ways, as Petersen has offered some views on issues that are considered Republican while Devolites Davis has run on some issues usually championed by Democrats.
"I kinda wish Davis had the opinions of Petersen on guns," said Ernest Frank, 52, a retired District police officer. But nonetheless party loyalty trumped small quibbles he had with the candidate. "But I don't want to see the Democrats take over. I don't want to be a tax and spend state."
He mused that he also thought that Republicans were better suited to fight illegal immigration, which he said has become too much of a problem in Northern Virginia.
"I think we should have stronger rules in the state, for as much as the law allows," he said. "I trust the Republicans more on that issue."
Democratic supporters of Petersen said they had long hoped that a candidate could come along that would be able to match Devolites Davis on issues and fundraising prowess. They felt good about the candidate's chances.
"Chap's a good Democrat," said John C. Wasley IV, a librarian who's lived in the area most of his life. "Transportation and the environment were the big issues for me and Chap's on the right side of both of them."
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