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Puller Pulls One Over Frederick


Jeff Frederick lost his bid to return to the General Assembly in Richmond to longtime incumbent Linda “Toddy” Puller. It was a race that for much of Tuesday night was too close to call. (KJ Mushung/

By KJ Mushung

Dumfries, Va. —It was a long night for the Jeff Frederick campaign. For hours after the polls closed, Frederick and his political opponent Linda “Toddy” Puller were neck-in-neck in the race for a seat in the Virginia Senate that Puller has held since 1999.

Early results put Frederick ahead of Puller by about 10 percentage points, give or take a few. And he won Stafford County early on and kept a slight lead in Prince William County. But as Fairfax County results poured in via the state board of elections’ website, the two candidates switched places, with Puller being the one in the lead by a few percentage points.

For much of the night, the race was too close to call. After 10 p.m., Frederick gave a short speech that he said was neither a concession speech, nor a victory speech, but a thank-you speech to his supporters. After that, a number of people who had been waiting for hours at the Dumfries campaign office, hoping to celebrate, went home while others remained.

By midnight, the supporters and volunteers who had stayed were cleaning up.  The majority of the votes were counted, and Puller was still in the lead.

It was Fairfax that did us in,” remarked one supporter.

By 1 a.m. the next morning, with 97 percent of the votes counted, Puller had 55 percent of the vote, while Frederick had 44 percent. Puller kept her seat in the Virginia Senate’s 36th district.

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