Manassas Journal Messenger | Connaughton decisively wins renomination as chairman

Incumbent Supervisors Chairman Sean T. Connaughton took 83 percent of the vote to easily defeat Larry Williams in the Republican primary Tuesday.

Williams, an ally of the sheriff, was the countermove to the police-friendly John Collier entering the sheriff’s race to challenge Democrat E. Lee Stoffregen.

Connaughton took 7,180 votes in unofficial results compared with 1,419 votes for Williams.

“This massive vote in my favor is affirmation of the issues I pushed for over the last three and a half years,” Connaughton, 41, said. “Today this was a vote of confidence in bringing change and ending the old ways of doing things.”

Connaughton narrowly beat Democrat Kathleen Seefeldt in 1999 in the Board of County Supervisors chairmanship race with 48.5 percent to her 46.5 percent. He has endured a contentious first term of battling a majority of five on the eight-person board on sheriff funding and large land-use cases such as Southbridge at Cherry Hill 2001 and the Gainesville Sector plan in 2002.

Williams campaign manager Jerry Osgood said Williams was not available for comment because he was home with his family, not out playing the role of politician.

“It was David against Goliath, and we did our best,” Osgood said. “Larry said he was, is not, and never will be a politician. He was concerned about the welfare of the county.”

Connaughton and Williams, 56, did not speak to each other Tuesday night and never spoke to each other during the campaign.

Connaughton was at Maddigan’s Grill in Lake Ridge as votes were called in. It was apparent from early precinct returns that he would win. Part of Connaughton’s strong showing was he had unanimous support from Republicans and did not have to face the united front of police that Stoffregen endured Tuesday.

“It shows there’s a very low tolerance in interfering in intraparty affairs,” Connaughton said.

Osgood said it was not interference but a choice.

Williams is a lifelong Republican, but he supports Stoffregen for public safety.

Connaughton faces Democrat Rick Coplen in the Nov. 4 General Election, where voters will be able to vote in all races.

Staff writer Chris Newman can be reached at (703) 878-8062.

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