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Chesterbrook Precinct: Vulnerable incumbent delegate visits

Del. Margaret Vanderhye (D), an incumbent facing a tough reelection battle against Republican challenger Barbara Comstock, just finished a visit that lasted more than an hour at McLean's Chesterbrook precinct, pressing the flesh and making a last-dash appeal for votes.

It was the delegate's third stop of the morning, which began shortly before 6 a.m. inside her own polling place at Langley High School. She and her campaign aides decided to spend time at this polling place because turnout is usually high here, and she recently had a reception with residents of the Vinson Hall retirement community that went well.

Vanderhye is especially perky this morning - giving hugs to her supporters and shaking as many hands as she can. Some are telling her they won't vote for her. A sign touting her endorsements is set up near the entrance to the polling place.

"At this point in the day, we're feeling pretty good," she said. "We've done everything we can do. We've made our case: there's a big difference between my opponent and me. And the voters here have a big choice."

About 20 feet away from Vanderhye were three teenagers who handed out flyers for Vanderhye's Republican rival.

Will Mannon, a 16-year-old junior at Langley High School, has been volunteering for Comstock and Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert McDonnell through the young Republican club at his school. Monday and Tuesday are teacher development days so he and his 14-year-old sister, Caroline, have been stumping for the GOP.

Mannon likes that the two candidates support offshore drilling, right-to-work laws and low taxes.

The Democratic delegate said she's already making plans for legislation she wants to introduce in the next session. To one voter, she touted that he has endorsements from both the Sierra Club and a homebuilder's association. Her background as a state appointee who worked on transportation issues seemed to appeal to a few of the voters she talked with.

Democrat Tom Van Waver, a 49-year-old attorney, is not as confident about Vanderhye's chances as she is. He's found other Democrats "lukewarm" in their support for her. He said he'd hope more rank-and-file party members would have rallied behind her because she's done a good job and is vulnerable in her first bid for reelection.

He said he saw Comstock recently at a McLean High School football game. She was nice, and he talked to her father. "I won't vote for your daughter because it will give Republicans a larger majority," he said, recalling his conversation.

By James Hohmann  |  November 3, 2009; 11:17 AM ET
Categories:  Election Day '09: Chesterbrook Precinct  | Tags: Chesterbrook Precinct  
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