Democrat Scores Upset in Prince William County

Apr 19, 2017

Democrat Jackie Smith, center, faced difficult odds, but pulled off an upset to take the Prince William County Clerk of Court seat.

Although many people were focused on the special election in Georgia this week, Virginia also had a special election. And it’s one that is energizing Democrats.

Races for clerk of court don’t usually gather a lot of attention. And the race in Prince William County seemed like Republicans had it in the bag. Their candidate was Jackson Miller, a sitting member of the House of Delegates -- plus he raised seven times as much money as Democrat Jackie Smith. But, in aa shocking upset, Smith won. Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly endorsed Smith in a last-minute direct mail campaign, and he says her victory is a bellwether for things to come.

“It is another data point in terms of how mobilized and energized the Democratic base is. There was a lot of energy so I was glad to help tap into that energy and maybe add to it.”

Republican strategist Dan Scandling says people shouldn’t read too much into Smith’s victory, because Prince William has been trending Democratic for the last few election cycles.  

“When I worked for Congressman Wolf, the firewalls were Prince William and Loudoun. Well now that’s been broken and Democrats have been making inroads in Prince William and Loudoun.”

Now that Miller has lost this race, he’s expected to return to the House of Delegates campaign — a seat that will no longer be open, although he may have to get through a primary and a general election first.