Par­rish holds off Kon­ick, Smith un­seats Biniek in county su­per­vi­sor con­tests

Rappahannock News - - FRONT PAGE - By John Mc­caslin Rap­pa­han­nock News staff

In­cum­bent Rap­pa­han­nock County Su­per­vi­sor Chris Par­rish, who rep­re­sents the Stonewall-Hawthorne district, man­aged to snuff out a heated last-minute write-in cam­paign by chal­lenger David Kon­ick, in do­ing so cap­tur­ing his third term in of­fice.

Mean­while, af­ter a well­run cam­paign, po­lit­i­cal new­comer Chris­tine Smith of Sper­ryville will be­come Rap­pa­han­nock County’s first-ever fe­male su­per­vi­sor, un­seat­ing in­cum­bent Pied­mont district Su­per­vi­sor Mike Biniek who, like Par­rish, was seek­ing a third term in of­fice.

Un­of­fi­cial re­sults from Tues­day’s vot­ing, in­clud­ing ab­sen­tee bal­lots, gave Smith 360 votes (53.49 per­cent) to Biniek’s 307 (45.62 per­cent). Par­rish, at the same time, took home an iden­ti­cal 360 votes (61.02 per­cent) com­pared to Kon­ick’s 230 (38.98 per­cent).

De­spite heavy rain­fall for much of Elec­tion Day, plus the fact that it wasn’t a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year, voter turnout was im­pres­sive in both dis­tricts. Of the 1,045 ac­tive vot­ers in the Pied­mont District, 667 cast bal­lots (63.82 per­cent); while in Stonewall-Hawthorne, 590

of the district’s 1,048 vot­ers (56.29 per­cent) went to the polls.

For his part, Kon­ick gave his short lived race all of his might, con­sid­er­ing he an­nounced his write-in can­di­dacy just last month. He told the Rap­pa­han­nock News on the morn­ing of Elec­tion Day that he be­lieved he had knocked on ev­ery door in the Stonewall-Hawthorne district — “and if I missed any it was be­cause I couldn’t find them.”

Feel­ing the heat of his op­po­nent, Par­rish, who un­til a few weeks ago had no cause to cam­paign for re­elec­tion, sim­i­larly set out, al­beit in the race’s fi­nal days, to visit as many con­stituents’ homes as pos­si­ble, al­though not knock­ing on nearly as many doors as Kon­ick did.

Par­rish con­firmed as much when asked Tues­day night about his win, telling this news­pa­per: “I ap­pre­ci­ate the com­pe­ti­tion and it keeps me on my toes.”

Reached at his Rock Mills home on Wed­nes­day morn­ing, Kon­ick con­ceded: “We live in a democ­racy and the peo­ple have spo­ken. And I think it’s also up to Chris Par­rish and the board of su­per­vi­sors to in­ter­pret the re­sults.

“I think that there’s ob­vi­ously a sig­nif­i­cant part of the pop­u­la­tion that feels un­rep­re­sented and ig­nored by the board of su­per­vi­sors — the cur­rent board of su­per­vi­sors — and I’m sorry that I was not suc­cess­ful be­cause I feel that I have a lot to con­trib­ute to­ward some pos­i­tive so­lu­tions to the prob­lems the county is fac­ing. I hope that they take note of the fact that there’s quite a bit of dis­sat­is­fac­tion out there.”

Kon­ick also wished to thank “all the peo­ple that con­trib­uted time and money . . . and en­cour­age­ment to my cam­paign. I did the best I could in three and a half weeks. Or what was it three weeks?”

While the Par­rish-Kon­ick con­test was brief, it wasn’t with­out con­tro­versy. The lat­ter, an out­spo­ken lawyer and no stranger to county govern­ment, claimed the district res­i­dents he spoke to were “a lit­tle ag­i­tated” by Par­rish’s lack of lead­er­ship, and for his op­po­nent to sug­gest oth­er­wise was “sun­shine and lol­lipop talk.”

In a re­cent county fo­rum, Kon­ick ac­cused Par­rish and his fel­low su­per­vi­sors of “flail­ing about,” es­pe­cially since 2016 when for­mer Rap­pa­han­nock County Ad­min­is­tra­tor John McCarthy re­tired.

Par­rish, vis­i­bly ag­i­tated by Kon­ick’s cam­paign barbs, es­pe­cially sur­round­ing taxes and the county’s bud­get, charged that his op­po­nent was ped­dling “twisted fig­ures.”

Smith, a mar­ried mother of two who made it known from the be­gin­ning of her first-ever po­lit­i­cal cam­paign that she had much re­spect for Biniek, pledged in the can­di­dates’ fo­rum that were she to be elected to the BOS she would be “com­pe­tent” and “well-pre­pared” for county meet­ings, some­thing she said was lack­ing in her op­po­nent.

“I am hum­bled and grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity to rep­re­sent Pied­mont district on the Rap­pa­han­nock Board of Su­per­vi­sors,” Smith told the News the day af­ter her vic­tory.

Biniek, mean­while, had no hard feel­ings for his op­po­nent when con­tacted at his F.T. Val­ley home Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

“I just have to say I’m sorry how it [Elec­tion Day] went, but Chris­tine ran a good cam­paign,” said the out­go­ing su­per­vi­sor. “She’s a hard worker and I wish her all the luck.”

In the Rap­pa­han­nock County School Board races, both can­di­dates ran un­op­posed but ap­pre­ci­ated all of the votes cast.

In­cum­bent Larry Grove, who was first elected to the board in 2013 rep­re­sent­ing the Stonewall-Hawthorne district, re­ceived 473 votes, while Rachel Bynum, a Sper­ryville farmer and par­ent of two Rap­pa­han­nock County El­e­men­tary School stu­dents, cap­tured 554 votes.

Bynum will now as­sume the Pied­mont district seat of vice chair Aline John­son, who de­cided this sum­mer that her 18th year on the board would be her last.

At a Demo­cratic elec­tion watch party at Headmaster’s Pub on Tues­day night, a ju­bi­lant Bynum told this news­pa­per that she’d just dis­cov­ered her desk name­plate from the early 1990’s when as a high school ju­nior and se­nior in East Hamp­ton, Conn., she was the stu­dent rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the school board.

“I sat on the board and they would ask me ques­tions” from a stu­dent’s per­spec­tive, she ex­plained. Bynum hopes to bring the wooden name­plate to her first of­fi­cial school board meet­ing early next year.

In Vir­ginia’s House of Del­e­gates race for the 18 District, which in­cludes all of Rap­pa­han­nock County, in­cum­bent Repub­li­can Del­e­gate Michael We­bert eas­ily won re­elec­tion.

With all 31 precincts re­port­ing, We­bert had gar­nered 16,678 votes (60.45 per­cent) to Demo­crat Tris­tan Shields’ 9,473 votes (34.34 per­cent). De­spite an en­thu­si­as­tic cam­paign, Green Party can­di­date Will King cap­tured only 1,403 votes (5.08 per­cent).

Rap­pa­han­nock County vot­ers handed We­bert 1,802 votes (55.29 per­cent), Shields 1,277 (39.18 per­cent) votes, and King 177 (5.43 per­cent) votes.

We­bert, among other is­sues, has pledged to fur­ther ad­dress the grow­ing opi­oid epi­demic in the state, in­clud­ing here in Rap­pa­han­nock County. He pointed out that three peo­ple die ev­ery day in Vir­ginia from opi­oid over­doses.

A farmer by pro­fes­sion, We­bert said he will also con­tinue to lead ef­forts to pre­serve the land and the en­vi­ron­ment, sup­ply more money to un­der­funded schools, and vote against tax in­creases.

Chris Par­rish votes Tues­day at the Castle­ton Com­mu­nity Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany.

PHO­TOS BY JOHN MC­CASLIN

Write-in can­di­date David Kon­ick and sup­porter Lisa Glen­nie greet vot­ers out­side the Castle­ton polling sta­tion on a raw Tues­day morn­ing.

Ju­bil­lant Rap­pa­han­nock Democrats gather at Headmaster’s Pub in Sper­ryville for a Tues­day night elec­tion watch party.

Demo­cratic poll watcher Fran­cie Schroeder hud­dled be­neath her big um­brella in Wash­ing­ton. De­spite the rain, vot­ing coun­ty­wide was de­scribed as steady through­out the day.

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