No election cycle is complete without checking out the action over in the City of Manassas.  Their elections are often more interesting than those in Prince William County.  Let’s do a little snooping across city lines!

In the spring of 2012, a small group of Manassas City citizens started a petition drive to place on the Nov. ballot a referendum to move all city elections from May to Nov.  By July, over 2200 signatures had been secured and the referendum was on the Nov. ballot.  Despite strong opposition from city Republicans, it passed by a margin in the neighborhood of 20% and all elections now are held in conjunction with State and national elections.  The group responsible for this change is Manassas Votes, a non-partisan citizens advocacy group.


The first election under the new guidelines was held in 2014 where Mark Aveni, Sheryll Bass and Ken Elston were elected to the city council.  This year, not only is there an election for president, but also House of Representative(10th CD), Manassas City council, school board and city treasurer.  Voters will have to wade through a lot of info about candidates in order to make informed choices.  Everyone should know who is running for president(Clinton/Trump) and HR(Bennett/Comstock) so let’s look at the local race.


For City Council:
Teresa Coates Ellis(R)
Ian Lovejoy(R) incumbent
Jonathan Way (R) incumbent
Rex Parr(D)
Pam Sabesky(D)
Mark Wolfe(D) incumbent
Michael Youlen(I)


For School Board


Scott Albrecht incumbent
Kristen Kiefer incumbent
Suzanne Seaberg incumbent
Peter O’Hanlon
Robyn Williams
Kim M. Jenkins Bailey


For City Treasurer
Patricia Richie Folks(D)
Russell Harrison(R)


Every election cycle, candidates lay out their platforms for voters to consider. If you look closely, you will notice that their issues are quite similar. There is no difference in the Manassas City elections this year. You will hear all candidates talking about what is basically the same issues which are:

-Fiscal responsibility
-supporting great schools
-improving transportation
-transparency in government
-supporting police, fire and rescue personnel thus creating safer neighborhoods
-Encouraging economic development and creating new jobs

Up and down the election board from President to Congress to local government, you will hear the same talking points on these issues. Sure, some will try new issues to try to appeal to certain voters or pander to their base supporters, but the basic issues are pretty much the same for everyone. So how does a voter determine who is best suited to hold the office they are seeking? One important thing is that incumbents have a voting record. Does this person say they support schools but vote against funding to repair or replace obsolete school buildings? Does an incumbent say they support fire and rescue but vote against funding to replace old equipment? Is an incumbent more concerned with budget and tax rate issues than putting an adequate number of police officers on the street to protect the community?
Newcomers have a more difficult time convincing voters because they have no track record. They must rely on rhetoric and personal appeal. Perhaps party affiliations can make a difference but many voters don’t take time to examine the issues and the candidates and make an uninformed decision. Manassas City faces this problem this year with three incumbents running against 4 newcomers. However, the dynamics are a little different this year because three candidates are running as a slate.Parr, Sebesky and Wolfe running together them the option to link up with Wolfe’s work as a two term council member.. The other four seem to be running their own campaigns with an occasional linking together for certain events. The issue seems to be “what have you done for me up to now and will this work going forward.”
Stay tuned as these events are discussed between now and the election.

7 Thoughts to “What’s up in the City of Manassas?”

  1. IVAN

    With the R’s seeming to be running an “every man for himself” campaign, should we expect the revival of the old “Bullet Voting” process that came about at the 2012 R convention?

    1. Issac Hayes


      Word on the street is that Ellis and Way are being tossed over. The order is to bullet vote for Ian.

  2. City Girl

    This election seems to be simply this: the Trump Party(R) candidates like the way things are now(status quo), and the D’s want to move forward with new ideas for the future.

    1. Do you think the recent Trump behavior will hurt these down-ticket candidates?

  3. IVAN

    Just like national candidates running in this cycle, locals are trying to avoid talking about the presidential race (i.e. Trump). They are focusing on local issues. In fact, that was the main argument for not moving the elections from May to November. Republicans felt that local issues would get tangled up with national ones and confuse voters. However, just like most elections, voter turnout will be the key. If Trump turns off voters, that’s good for the D’s. If Hillary turns off voters more, good for R’s.

  4. IVAN

    @ Issac Hayes
    If the D’s sweep this election, they have a 4 to 2 advantage on the council. I’m sure that the Trump Party(R) brain trust figures that if they can save Ian, they can twist Bass’s arm enough to maintain gridlock(3 to 3) on major issues. Looks like Ellis was recruited to give primary voters an alternate to Wolfe, but when he switched parties, they were stuck with two candidates they are not wild about. Way is too much of a “middle of the road” candidate, willing to meet half way on issues. The Tea Party folks in the City want him gone.

    1. Issac Hayes


      Right now you have three moderate D’s running against three Tea Party R’s.
      The strategy to get Wolfe seems to have backfired, again.

      You’re right, Bass will be in a very difficult position going forward.

Comments are closed.