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UPSET OVER DATA CENTERS: Deshundra Jefferson unseats Board Chair Ann Wheeler in Democratic primary

Political  strategist and former news reporter Deshundra Jefferson won a major upset Tuesday, defeating incumbent Ann Wheeler in the Democratic primary for county board chair, an election energized by residents' angst over the proliferation of data centers in western Prince William County.

Jefferson, 47, of Montclair, won about 52% percent of the more than 25,000 votes cast in the countywide contest, according to still unofficial results from the Virginia Department of Elections.

Jefferson will go on to compete in the Nov. 7 general election against Supervisor Jeanine Lawson, R-Brentsville, who won the GOP nomination with 81% of the vote.  

“I am in shock. I am surprised,” Jefferson said in an interview from her Montclair home, where she hosted just a few supporters to watch the results come in Tuesday night. “I knew this would be a hard race. I was up against a well-funded candidate with deep ties to the community,” she said.

Wheeler raised more than $200,000 during her 2023 re-election campaign, while Jefferson pulled in just over $66,000. Wheeler also started out the year with more than $70,000 in her campaign coffers. Jefferson had not raised any money prior to campaigning this year.

Jefferson attributed her win to her focus on what she said were the main issues in the Democratic race for the county’s top elected post: “overdevelopment” and taxes...


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