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Virginia Democrats Re-Nominate Reform Prosecutors

Three incumbent prosecutors in northern Virginia who faced tough challenges after being elected four years ago on a progressive reform agenda won Democratic primaries Tuesday. In Fairfax County, the state’s most populous jurisdiction, incumbent Steve Descano defeated Ed Nuttall, a former prosecutor and trial attorney who is best known for representing police officers accused of misconduct, the Associated Press reports. Descano said the results in his race and in the other two counties show that “voters have seen that criminal justice reform can work, and quite frankly they want more of it.” He said that while reform opponents have tried to raise fears about rising crime, Tuesday’s results show that “voters feel safe, they know they’re safe, and they know they can have safety, fairness, justice and equality.”

Buta Biberaj, the commonwealth’s attorney in Loudoun County, won over challenger Elizabeth Lancaster after raising significantly more money. Biberaj faced criticism, including some within her own party, over her day-to-day management of the office as Loudoun found itself in the national spotlight over issues like school safety. She also faced criticism in her handling of two sex assaults at two high schools in 2021. In November, Biberaj will face Republican Bob Anderson, who held the commonwealth attorney’s post in Loudoun more than 20 years ago. Biberaj said the general election race “will be about Loudoun County going forward or going backward 20 or 30 years.” In their campaigns, challengers have questioned the incumbents’ management of their offices and to varying degrees endorsed the need for criminal justice reform.


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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