Ilryong Moon Concedes in the Braddock Supervisor Race

Moon's statement

March 11, 2009

For Immediate Release:
I was certainly hoping for better numbers from the voting machines at Fairview Precinct today, but the numbers show otherwise. Even though I have a right to ask for a recount under state law and also challenge the election result due to irregularities with the voting machines used at Fairview precinct, I have decided not to do so. Given the state of our economy, the taxpayers' resources should be focused on providing services to Fairfax County's residents and Braddock District's residents need someone to represent them on the Board of Supervisors to start working on important issues such as budget and transportation as soon as possible. I do not want to cause any delay.

I am humbled by and grateful for all the support that I have received from many supporters and more than 6,000 votes cast in the special election on Tuesday. I would like to congratulate Mr. John Cook for waging a strong campaign and wish him well on the Board. I look forward to working with him on education issues as a school board member.

Ilryong Moon

Cook (R) wins Fairview by 19 votes, Braddock district by 89..

3:24pm: After Fairview is fully counted, they'll do a full canvass of all the machines in the district. This is not a recount, it's just adding up the tally sheets from each machine to make sure there are no discrepancies.
According to my source, it's a mess in there and there are just too many people. But they have just opened the good machine (the one of two that didn't crash) and with that machine, Moon is ahead by 6 votes. They haven't yet opened up the bad machine, so it's not over yet!

The process of verifying that there are 707 votes has been finished. At noon the provisional ballots were brought out.
There were three, not four, provisional ballots. All of these were from people who had received absentee ballots. All three were verified, counted and included. The results of the provisional ballots were Cook 2, Moon 1. So the unofficial count is now:

Ilryong Moon (D) 5,869
John Cook (R) 5,939
Cary Campbell (I) 244

The Board has adjourned for a lunch break and will reconvene at 1pm. Unfortunately, I have to leave but I have two contacts - one Democratic and one Republican - who will hopefully give me updates.

Nothing new, but I've learned that there were two voting machines per precinct, so half of the votes in Fairview were counted but aren't included yet.
UPDATE 11:23am:
Still calling out the voter numbers.
UPDATE 11:03am:
They're going through the book a second time because there were a few numbers missing. In another room, they're looking at four provisional ballots. This is going to take at least another half hour. I'm probably not going to hang around for this but it's being covered by other people as well. A staffer for Moon is videotaping it, and Channel 9 is there.

UPDATE 10:07am:
I'm at the Fairfax County Government Center where the process began about an hour ago.
The official running it said that they spoke to the vendor of the voting machine and it is an anomaly that nobody's seen before.
First, they are checking off the 707 votes in the poll book to make sure there are 707. It's taking a long time to call out each voter number.
The exciting part will come next when the voting machine in question is brought into the room. Then they will take a look at the "ballot image log." That will be explained in detail when they get to it.
I'm sitting between two young Republicans and I've been chatting with them. One said he heard they're "in for a pleasant surprise."
The other guy said he reads BC more than he ought to, and that there's "a lot of good intel" here.


Due to an inoperative voting machine in precinct 105 Fairview, Braddock District, the unofficial election results are incomplete. In accordance with §24.2-642 of the Code of Virginia the results will be ascertained at the Electoral Board meeting, March 11, 2009 at 9:00 a.m., in Conf Room 315C of the Fairfax County Government Center.
-Fairfax County Elections Board

The race for Braddock District Supervisor is looking very close with only one precinct, the most populous one, yet to call in.

Here's the link to check the returns:

Ilryong Moon (D) 5,868
John Cook (R) 5,937
Cary Campbell (I) 244

If we lose this one, then it's our own damn faults. Fingers crossed...
According to Fairfax Co's info on their performance in the primary, Fairview voted between 29.3 and 41.3% Democratic. 55-65% of them participated in the Republican primary. This does not look good.

UPDATE 8:48pm:
53 absentee ballots have been recorded but their preference has not been listed on the unofficial returns page.
Website says:

Please note: Absentee numbers by precinct represent the number of voters who applied for absentee ballots, NOT the number of absentee ballots returned and counted. The total number of absentee ballots that WERE returned and counted is listed by candidate in the candidate columns.

So, they basically haven't reported any ballots for Fairview precinct.
Still no news.
Not looking good, but I'll have to wait 'til tomorrow to see the final numbers.
If we take the average turnout percentage of 17% and apply it to Fairview, we get 860 total votes in a Republican-leaning precinct. It's not likely that he would get over 50% there, so Cook will probably maintain his lead.
If 860 voters turn out in Fairview, and they vote the way they did on Feb. 3rd (57% for Bulova), then the result would be 496-364, giving Moon a 132 vote lead. That's enough to overcome Cook but we'll see what happened tomorrow.


Bulova won Fairview 57-42. Looks like the number of absentees will translate to about 600-800 votes total in the precinct. If that bears out, Moon would need to win the precinct by about the same margin to pull ahead. And considering he's underperformed in every other precinct in the district, I doubt he will manage it.

On the bright side, we held the Commonwealth's Attorney office in Norfolk. Democrat Greg Underwood won 55-45.

I'm not staying up for the results, so

if anyone gets the final returns tonight please post them here.

this is a a wake up call

It is scary to think that the republicans mobilized this many voters for this special election. I hate to be playing games with the whole thing but this goes to show you that virginia and fairfax county are far from blue and we need to be very careful when we pick our gubernatorial candidate.

It's not that hard to show

It's not that hard to show strength in sub-25% turnout elections. The Republican base is the base - they'll vote every time. If it's 15% of the electorate, then with low turnout, if most of that 15% turns out they'll win. The Democratic base, though with a very strong core, always relies on higher turnout and with trying to get a lot of people who don't vote that often to come out.

Frank, thanks so much

for giving us the minute-to-minute on this. Thanks to reporting like this, BC is fast becoming one of the best sources for breaking news on VA politics

Thank you, Frank!

I just wanted to agree that this is the best news source I've found to update me on what's happening with this unexpected finale to the special election. It is sad to think no other news organization apparently has the staff or resources to cover stories like this one, at least not in real time, but all the more reason to value what you are doing to fill that need. Thanks a million, Frank!


Could it be that voters might have thought he was the infamous Reverand Moon, who owns the Washington Times? Could you attribute Moon's apparent loss to that factor?

Don't think so

To answer your question: Since Ilryong Moon has already won election as an at-large member of the Fairfax County School Board (his current position), he has clearly been able to overcome any such name confusion (if it exists) in the past. Also, those who vote in a special election are particularly interested in politics, so you'd think they would be even less prone to such a confusion. And even if there was some significant issue about the name--which I seriously doubt--strong support from Korean-American voters in Braddock District would have been a counterbalancing positive. My view: It was just a close race.

P.S. Let's wait to see who wins this thing.

Well, it looks like we're

Well, it looks like we're banking on a busted machine that requires a re-vote. Unless by amazing luck, of the half that voted on the busted one, about 2/3rds are Democrats.


Even though Fairfax County's electorate is heavily engaged civically it wouldn't surprise me if there still plenty of low-information voters in the district. I wonder if enough of them thought that Moon was the Reverend Sun-yung Moon of the Reunificatoin Church. I think it could have made a difference.


Re the 1:55 post - does that mean that Moon is ahead in the count of that machine only by 6 votes, or ahead overall by 6 votes?

I think it's overall

but I'll have to check.

More important

was John Cook's good reputation in the Kings Park precinct, where he served as head of the neighborhood association, and beat Moon by a two to one margin.

Obviously we were not as successful as we should have been in mobilizing Moon's support base.

It's over

Just talked to a friend of mine who was at the government center. He says Cook took the 2nd machine by 25 votes, which with the 1st machine and provisional ballots means Cook takes it by 89 votes. It's a .7% margin though, so we're going to an automatic recount.

Ok, so first the machine is

Ok, so first the machine is broken, then magically it's not and Cook is 25 votes ahead while being 6 behind on the machine sitting right next to it? In a usually Democratic precinct?

Hate to say it but

discrepencies of this nature between machines is not all that uncommon. Why? Right wing voters attracted to left wing machines? I don't know, but I've seen it every time I've closed.


This is humiliating to lose this race. Hopefully it's not a harbinger for this year's election cycle.

Not humiliating

It's a special election. It proves once again how there is still an aching void for a long-term, permanent grassroots infrastructure that engages citizens and makes them eager to participate in politics, as opposed to the current transactional model where people get yelled at for not voting in every stinking special election. The folks in Braddock district have now had elections on November 6, 2007; February 12, 2008; June 10, 2008; November 4, 2008; February 4, 2009; and March 10, 2009 -- and Democrats will still hold a 6-3 edge on the Ffx Cty BoS, and hold the Chairmanship. That is 6 elections in 16 months -- with another one in early June. While in a perfect world every citizen would exercise her/his franchise at every available opportunity, I think folks can be forgiven for sitting out elections when they are only ever 'engaged' when their votes are needed, and otherwise ignored.

When are people going to call

Comment removed for language (Admin)


C'mon, really? This is James Martin territory here.

These election results say nothing -- nada -- about anything, except that people get tired of elections every 30 days (or fewer, in this case). Wouldn't, uh, Gerry Connolly be the one to blame here, for running for a four year term in November, 2007, and then immediately turning around and running for Congress, thus setting up this domino effect?

James Martin lauguage?

I'm a 20 year old who went to Catholic School, goes to Church ever Sunday, and moreover doesn't curse... May I ask what "James Martin language is" and more importantly what in the world you're talking about?

Not the cursing

He/she blamed Moon's loss on Brian Moran's decision to vacate his seat in the 45th back in December, leading to the domino effect of Herring nearly losing the Special in the 45th in Jan ... thus empowering and inflating Republican hopes in Ffx County ... thus causing the Republicans to nearly win the chairmanship of the Ffx Cty BoS race ... thus leading to Moon's loss. 'Twas all.

Just the opposite...

Herring's near loss was Brian's fault... and is probobly the reason Bulova won (because otherwise we wouldnt have worked our tails off to such an extent).

Everything is not Brian's fault... some things are.

That's interesting

I never saw you around the Bulova campaign once. I was in and out of the office all the time. I canvassed every weekend, put up 4 x 8 signs and yard signs, kept tabs on volunteers and who was showing up in different districts and never saw you at an event, at the campaign office, on a list or even heard your name once during the Bulova campaign.

That is absurd

Moon's staff were brought in from out of state, which was a fatal error by itself because they had no time to learn the area. The local Obama people were not engaged well at all. The Republican candidate, John Cook has been working on this for a long time. He's very sharp, engaging, friendly, down to earth and Kennedyesque. And when he eventually runs for Governor, he will make a far more difficult candidate than, Gilmore, Kilgore, Allen or McDonnell.

Other than critiquing Brian

Other than critiquing Brian Moran, was there some language in my post Admin did approve of?

I didn't edit/remove

but I do believe you dropped an f-bomb in there.


Please make your points without profanity. There were multiple complaints. Thank you.

Ok, so edit out the word you

Ok, so edit out the word you don't like and leave the rest of the post there. I don't think we need censorship on a Democratic blog do we?

you could have done that yourself...

couldn't you now?

I swear, the next person who accuses me of censorship on this blog is getting booted out of spite.

Well I'm surprised and bummed......

I moved to Virginia from D.C. less than a full year ago, and I've lived in Fairfax County only since August, but I thought I had a decent grasp already of the outlines of county politics after canvassing hard for Obama and learning everything I could since I lived here.

And I had thought Braddock was one of the safe Dem districts? I had thought holding this seat was supposed to be less difficult than Bulova winning the Chair?

I do think as a corollary to the well-made point above about Republicans being more reliable voters and thus having a natural edge in special elections, we have in addition this year a lot of election fatigue among Democratic voters. We worked harder last year as a group than at any previous time in our political lives, and we're exhausted. I know I had no stomach for more door-knocking this soon after November, especially with the cold of winter hitting and my non-political wife being relieved I'd be around more to vacuum and mop floors than out and about knocking on doors.

Oh well, onward and upward.

My only "relief" this morning is I live in Dranesville, not Braddock.

FWIW, Braddock is rated the 3rd most R district in the County &

Dranesville is 4th. Dranesville has had a R supervisor more often than Braddock. Dranesville got a D Delegate only in '07 and Margie will get a strong challenge this year. Lots of work for Dranesville Ds ahead this year.

Thanks for the information, and I would like to know...

...what I can do for Margie this fall? I followed things closely enough before moving here to know that she's a frosh who won very narrowly in '07. I know she has a wingnut in Barbara Comstock running against her, and Comstock is plugged into wingnut world pretty well and might have some money. I got a Comstock flyer leaving Langley High after voting for Bulova last month, and I got an indication of my Assembly district's Democratic lean from the fact that nowhere on her flyer did she use the words "Republican" or "conservative." That tells me too many swing voters must be wary of both. But that said, Margie's narrow win and the fact it was a Republican-held seat before her shows it's not a partisan seat.

You can help Margi

in several ways. First of all, she's having a campaign kickoff party at her home on March 22: Mar 3-5pm at 801 Ridge Dr. in McLean. Secondly, I'm working with a group called the Brigades which is focusing on the House races this year. Contact me at frankoanderson (at) hotmail (dot)com.

BTW, I believe Terry McAuliffe lives in the 34th so maybe someone here can convince him to help her out if he's not doing so yet.

Margi is one of the better

Margi is one of the better speakers I've heard over the last few years, the more groups you can get her in front of in-person, the better. I know a lot of people at the 10th CD convention last spring didn't know who she was but after she spoke, a lot of people were buzzing. I felt the same way the first time I heard her give her stump speech as well.

It was a matter of turnout and management

1: Today's results are not an indication of how Democratic or Republican the district is. It's still majority Democratic. The Republican just got 89 more people out to vote, that's all.

2. The Moon campaign brought in people from out of state who knew little about the district in a special election where there's no time for a learning curve. To make matters worse, they didn't really reach out to the Obama volunteers and supporters. That could've made all the difference. The Obama campaign had a group for each magisterial district, each of whom is still holding onto valuable contacts and resources. And don't tell me it's about the money. I can think of a few well-trained Obama volunteers who know the area, have campaign experience and would be willing to help run the operation for $1000 a month.

As someone who actually did

As someone who actually did volunteer with the Moon campaign, I must say that I have never seen a more organized field program for a local race (or most state races truth be told). They always had things for volunteers to do, and right up until the end of the election were contacting voters trying to get them out to vote.

We did not lose this race because of the lack of "local campaign staff".

Since you worked on the race...

Out of curiosity, what do you believe were the primary reasons he lost?


When the vote is this close, if a sick person coughed on the bus, it could have changed the outcome.

Here is what I can tell you, I spent several evenings making volunteer recruitment calls, and I had a number of "active Democrats" who couldn't be bothered to come in and help (perhaps a few posters on this site?)

Also, as I was making GOTV calls, I was running into a number of older identified strong democrats who couldn't be bothered to come out and vote that day (some of whom I know came out for the primary for a candidate other than Mr. Moon).

The real question everyone should ask is... what did you do to help Mr. Moon?

Many of the Obama people are long gone

And just maybe - the Candidates did not perform themselves to get the vote out. Stop putting all the plame on the campaign workers. The candidate has a large role in getting people engaged to go vote for them.

I agree

Although I wasn't talking about the paid Obama staffers; I meant the local volunteers who are still here.

From my conversations with my democratic friends and the young republicans at the Govt. Center, you're right that the candidates underperformed. Moon only won his own precinct by 3 votes, while Cook underperformed in some more reliably republican precincts.
It's true that when compared to other recent candidates, Moon didn't have the ability to get people excited about his campaign. But it's hard to get people excited about a local race when they wrongly believe it won't affect them as much as the presidential.

Success has a hundred fathers, failure is an orphan

It is amazing how many excuses people can come up with. The least convincing is that the Obama volunteers weren't engaged. The people who come out to special elections are the most engaged citizens. And those who volunteer and knock on doors in the dead of one of the coldest winters in years are political junkies. They were all Obama volunteers. It takes a special conceit to think that only those in the netroots were the "true Obama volunteers."

The simple truth is that Democrats were tired. Republicans were hungrier for victory. When we were on the losing side, I wanted to refight every battle we ever lost. If we had had a special election in a sub-zero blizzard, I probably would have walked miles to knock on doors to seek vindication. Furthermore, even in the best of times, low turnout elections don't favor Democrats. The Republican base, traditionally (and not just in Virginia) turn out more consistently for elections in good weather and atrocious weather.

The Washington Post endorsement also helped Cook enormously. In a low publicity special election many of those who come out base their vote on such endorsements. Also, John Cook was known in Kings Park because of his long and successful involvement in their civics association - he is their president and has built up their membership. It's not hard to comprehend that even normally Democratic voters will cross party lines for somebody they know personally and like.

That does not make a trend. But I believe John Cook will be a formidable politician with a real future. If he performs well in his new office, he will be hard to beat in the future. We don't need to panic that Virginia is suddenly going back to bright red, but we do need to take Mr. Cook very seriously.

I didn't say Moon's staff weren't good

They were good but in a very short special election like this, they were at a disadvantage in learning the area and key people. Several of the top Obama volunteers in the area were never engaged. I was told but don't know for sure that the Obama staffers who worked this area were also not engaged. Otherwise I agree with what you said here.

Moon is known as a great guy but he has a number of obstacles that are especially difficult to over come in a short special election. Cook will be, as you say, "a formidable politician with a real future" and that is a big advantage in such a short special election. Republicans have always had a more committed base, rallied on hot button issues like guns, gays, abortion, and taxes, which is why they have done so much better in specials.

I'll give you $100

If you can find any instance of John Cook or Pat Herrity rallying on hot button issues like guns, gays, or abortion.

They did not but don't have to

and my comment was a generalization. I'm surrounded by Republicans at work and their primary basis of discussion, particularly during the Bulova and Moon race, was not about the candidates or issues of the race but was about sticking together over these issues. "We pro-lifer's gotta stick together" "They will tax us into the grave" "We can't let them take our guns" These are pretty close to exact quotes.


There's no arguing with anecdoctal evidence!

Tired ? Tired ?? After 4 months of rest since Nov. 2008 ?

I'm 68 years old. Even after 9 months of no more than 4 hours of sleep per night for 9 months to help Jim Webb win the U.S. Senate seat I only needed 2-3 days, not 4 months, of rest to restore my energy, enthusiasm and.... high energy level needed to continue working hard for the cause. Early in the Webb campaign I, and many others my age or older, made it a point to show our hard work and dedication to the younger generation to either shame them or inspire them to work even harder than we could (and when they did they motivated us to work even harder and longer).

Virginia has always had elections every year. I don't buy the excuse that "Democrats were tired". That excuse loses even more credibility when the hard work and dedication are limited to such a short time. I can't count the number of times during my 38 years of civil service (mostly with Navy) when I and many of my colleagues worked 3 consecutive 24 hour days with 1-2 hours of rest (sleep) per night because we knew our work was important to the men and women in uniform, was necessary and most important was our duty - and because we knew we could. Will some of our party continue to allow the tired old demoralized opposition party to regain their energy while we say we are "too tired" ? I absolutely refuse to do that.

Do any of you think the GOP isn't tired after working hard (and wasting so much money) for losing candidates and failed policies ? Of course they are tired, demoralized and without leadership or common party goals. But somehow they managed to find the energy and dedication to do what we all know must and can always be done to win. We can, have and must continue to do much, much better.

Ammunition (energy, dedication, duty) not spent on the battlefield by poll closing on election day is a recipe for defeat. And I'm confident there is not one of you who is willing to accept defeat, especially just because some of us might be feeling a little tired. Get inspired, it will energize you.

Get a good night's sleep and think about this. Nothing is more motivating than knowing the cause we work for is so great. Agree or disagree, I look forward to your comments.

Thanks for your post, Anonymous. Your comments always provide much food for serious thought. And this time you have awakened me and inspired me to speak up.


Didn't Moon lose a Braddock election once before?

My impression is that he doesn't have a large loyal following within the district but is able to generate enough support County-wide with the Democratic endorsement to finish among the top three for the 3 at-large School Board seats.

His undistinguished performance on the Planning Commission and the School Board has not inspired a devoted following either.

One of the other candidates for the nomination or Liz Griffith might have beaten Cook.


Tessie Wilson defeated Moon when he was the Braddock District School Board Member.

However, rather than just finish "among the top 3", Moon won more votes County-wide than any other candidate, for any office, in 2007. Most of this is due to his fundraising, and being able to afford campaigning that his School Board opponents just can't compete with.

I do agree, though, that he has a rather undistinguished performance on the School Board.

I have to laugh

Some of the posting on here is flatly absurd. Flat out, do not post with the f-bomb. Common sense is key when posting on the internet. We have so much to work for in this election cycle and we are distracted by snares that do nothing to ensure our victory in November. Lets get to work, because I want to win, don't you?

Democratic Victory '09
Aaron Lyles