McLean's Two Virginia Senate Races Cost $1million Each

Second in a series on campaign spending in November 2011 races affecting McLean

McLean is divided into two Virginia Senate districts and both races this past November cost more than $1 million each.

The 31st District race between Democrat Barbara Favola and Republican Caren Merrick and the 32nd District race pitting incumbent Democrat Janet Howell against Republican challenger Patrick Forest were among about 15 Senate races that broke the $1 million mark, according to the nonpartisan and nonprofit Virginia Public Access Project.

The all-out partisan war between state Republicans and Democrats for control of the Senate drove up the cost of the races, VPAP said. There were 10 million-dollar Senate races in 2007, the last time all 40 seats were on the ballot, VPAP reported.

The election resulted in an evenly split Virginia Senate. Last week the Democrats lost a court challenge in the case.

31st District.

The cost of this race totaled $1.3 million.

Republican businesswoman and McLean resident Caren Merrick outspent Arlington County board member and Democrat Barbara Favola nearly 2-1 in the general election. Favola won.

Merrick loaned her campaign more than $62,000. In addition her husband Phillip Merrick donated $10,000.

The Merricks co-founded webmethods, a software company which was sold to a major German software company in 2007 for $546 million.

Other major contributors: The Virginia Republican Party, nearly $145,000. $10,000 each: McLean businessman Robert Hisaoka, Great Falls businessman Gary G Nakamoto and New York businessman Paul Singer  who heads a $17 billion hedge fund, and is a self-described Barry Goldwater conservative, according to The New York Times.

Favola's campaign received $110,000 from the state Democratic Party. Other major contributors:$30,000 Arlington developer John G Shooshan, who lives in Potomac, Md. $25,000, Michael R Bloomberg, yes the mayor of New York City. $24,000, the committee of Mary Margaret Whipple, who is retiring from the 31st District seat. $20,000, the committee of Sen. Janet Howell, who represents McLean and Reston.

The Democrats who controlled the state senate before the November elections, dramatically changed the boundaries of the 31st district making it more Republican in an attempt to hold onto their then two-seat majority in the Virginia Senate.

 General Election Results

Candidate Primary Spent General Spent Total Spent Votes Percentage Barbara Favola (Democrat) $283,806 $367,795 $651,601 24,349 (Winner) 58.1% Caren Merrick (Republican) $0 $681,736 $681,736 17,484



State Senate District 31
encompasses the following localities:

Locality Voters % of District Arlington County
82,730 57% Fairfax County
46,024 32% Loudoun County
16,607 11%

32nd Senate District

Incumbent Janet Howell outspent her Republican challenger Patrick Forrest nearly 2-1 and won 60 percent of the vote, according to the VPAP reports.

Forrest raised a little more than $300,000. Contributors included:  The Virginia Republican Party and the Republican Senate campaign contributed slightly more than $45,000. Well-known Reston developer Christopher Walker donated nearly $50,000 in office space to Forrest. (Walker died in August.)

New York businessman Paul Singer also contributed $10,000 to the campaign.

Howell, who was elected to her fourth term, received about $175,000 from the state Democratic Party and the Senate Democratic Committee. Her largest individual contributors included:$15,000 Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association of Henrico County. $10,000 Alexandria developer Myron P. Erkiletian.

The Senate Democrats also dramatically changed the boundaries of the 32nd District --- basically moving it out of much of McLean. The changes made it slightly more Democratic. Howell chairs the Senate committee that oversaw the redistricting.

General Election Results

Candidate Spent Votes Percentage Patrick Forrest (Republican) $302,053 17,122 39.6% Janet Howell* (Democrat) $747,178 26,026 (Winner) 60.3%

State Senate District 32
encompasses the following localities:

Locality Voters % of District Fairfax County 115,367 81% Arlington County 26,937 19%

Second in a series.

Monday - spending in the Barbara Comstock vs Pamela Danner race.


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