The Prince William County region as a whole also is turning more Democratic, said Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg.
But, Farnsworth said, it is rare for a candidate to switch parties and be successful. In Wolfe’s favor, he said, would have been the fact that local officeholders are in their “district” all the time rather than in a faraway capital where they serve in legislative sessions. That means constituents get to know them well.
Also, there’s an adage about there not being a Democratic or Republican way to pick up the trash — meaning local issues aren’t necessarily partisan.
“A lot of what local governments do doesn’t have the same ideological dimension as a lot of the state and national issues do,” Farnsworth said.