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John Cook Wins Second Term as Braddock Supervisor in Tight Race

Cook, who faced strong competition from challenger Janet Oleszek, narrowly won on Tuesday evening

Updated 3 p.m. Wednesday

Republican incumbent John Cook was re-elected to his second term as on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday evening in what was largely considered one of the most contended races in the county.

"There are independent voices in the Braddock District, and our voices are going to be heard on the Board of Supervisors,” said Cook in his victory speech at the Fairfax County Republication Committee party at the Fairview Marriott in Falls Church.

"This race became a referendum on if a non-Bulova person could hold office in the Braddock District.  The answer is yes,” said Cook.

Cook, who is focused on community empowerment and engagement and on transportation, particularly Fairfax County’s secondary roads, faced a strong challenge from Democrat Janet Oleszek, who he narrowly beat, and Independent candidate Carey Campbell. Back in August, Oleszek finished narrowly ahead of opponent Chris Wade (just 42 votes) in the primary election.

Ben Tribbett, Oleszek's campaign manager, told Patch she called Cook on Tuesday evening to congratulate him, but does not plan to release a statement about the results.

The Braddock race remained extremely close throughout the evening with Cook and Oleszek each taking the lead as precinct results came in. The two candidates were even split by as little as 100 votes at one point,. Independent candidate Carey Campbell carried only 2.8 percent, or just under 650 votes, of the total votes by the end of Tuesday evening.

That wasn’t Oleszek’s first close race: Oleszek, who served on the school board for one term from 2003 to 2007, also ran in a State Senate race in 2007 for the 37th district against then-Sen. Ken Cuccinelli. The margin of victory in that race came down to less than 100 votes out of more than 30,000 votes cast. 

Challenger Carey Campbell also had some political experience, having run for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors chair and the Braddock District seat in the past.

The Braddock District race featured 10 debates—more than any other supervisory district in Fairfax County. On Tuesday morning, the precincts in the Braddock District also had some of the strongest turnout of voters.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include a response from Janet Oleszek's campaign since Patch was unable to reach them on Tuesday evening following the election results.

Tim November 09, 2011 at 09:32 AM
I agree. The answer, I think, is because many people are not as independent as you give them credit for, and because John may have been hurt by being "bundled" with Nell Hurley
Chris Miller November 09, 2011 at 11:35 AM
Nell Hurley was super qualified for the school board. Even her opponent acknowledged that Nell was an encyclopedia of information on all the relevant issues, had a dozen years of service across the district on many school issues, and always put the interests of the children ahead of everything else. The Cook-Hurley team was a natural in bringing logic and openness to schools spending. The three at-large school board candidates were no slouches either. The Republicans need to figure out why that did not translate into votes on election day.
BGT November 09, 2011 at 10:56 PM
I resented Oleszek's robocall on Tuesday claiming that the TeaParty was trying to take over the county and it was important to vote. I was at the polls and both parties were represented fairly. Cook has served his district before there was anything called a teaparty so why the scare tactics?
Michael November 10, 2011 at 03:35 AM
I believe that the Washington Post endorsement of Cook made the difference in this race. Many people do not have the time to follow their local races and often look to editorial pages to tell them who to vote for. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why the Post endorsed Cook for the 2nd time. Cook's positions on education, transportation, taxes, the environment, and guns are all the opposite of the Post's positions on their editorial page. They praised Cook for his dedicated service to neighborhoods. If Cook wants to serve neighborhoods he should have remained as head of his neighborhood association in Kings Park. That clearly seems to be where his interest and talents lie. He has never demonstrated that he has a real grasp for the County-wide issues that a supervisor is supposed to have to adequately represent his district. As for the Post, they need to stop meddling in local politics unless they are better informed about the candidates.
Will Radle November 10, 2011 at 02:15 PM
Thanks for letting us know about robocall. John has been a family man serving our community way before the opportunity to serve as Supervisor opened up. A. Will Radle, Jr. Creating a Culture of Listening

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