With 14 candidates running for six spots, Alexandria's crowded Democratic City Council primary had been painted as a sign that residents were fed up with the current council and ready for sweeping change.
But in the end, change lost out. Voters instead chose mostly familiar faces: two incumbents, two former City Council members and just two newcomers (one of whom is a family friend of Alexandria Mayor William Euille).
Former City Council members Tim Lovain and Justin Wilson were the top two vote-getters in Tuesday's race. Incumbent council members Del Pepper and Paul Smedberg finished behind them. Newcomer Allison Silberberg came in third, and John Chapman won the sixth and final spot in the November general election.
Candidates argued during the primary that the council wasn't listening to residents anymore and that some neighborhoods, like Beauregard, were all but ignored as the council pressed ahead with development plans that residents opposed.
But incumbents, including Pepper, who vowed not to take the victory for granted, won out in Tuesday's election.
"I'm going to work as hard as I can, and hope to win in November. I like to think that the whole Democratic ticket is really a solid one, and we're hoping for a sweep. It's a solid, good, strong ticket," she said.
Boyd Walker, who finished 13th out of 14, said voters went with a "safe" choice by picking several incumbents. But he said he's confident the issues he championed, including opposition to the council's waterfront redevelopment plan, would remain relevant in the general election. Walker helped lead a group that opposed the council development plan.
"People are afraid of change and afraid of putting people in charge who don't have the experience in elected office," he said. "Considering there were eight candidates who didn't make it and five who opposed some of the major things the city has supported in the last year, there's still an undercurrent of people who want improvement."