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Appointed Manassas City Councilman withdraws from Nov. 2 special election

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David Farajollahi

Manassas City Councilman David Farajollahi

Manassas City Councilman David Farajollahi is no longer a candidate in the Nov. 2 special election for the seat he currently holds, a move that will likely hand the seat to Republican Lynn Forkell Greene.

Farajollahi, 31, formally withdrew from the race on Wednesday, Oct. 6, according to City of Manassas Registrar Susan Reed.

“He didn’t have to withdraw, but he chose to withdraw,” Reed said, noting she did not know the reason for Farajollahi’s decision.

Farajollahi’s name will remain on the Nov. 2 ballot. But even if he gets more votes than Greene, he will not be declared the winner because he chose to withdraw from the race, Reed said.

Efforts to reach Farajollahi for comment were not immediately successful Wednesday. 

In a series of posts he made on Twitter Wednesday, Farajollahi alluded to his status as a federal employee being a “focus” of the race and a factor in his decision to withdraw his candidacy.

“Unfortunately, the focus the last few weeks has been on me as a federal employee instead of what is important to the citizens of the City of Manassas. I want that focus to always remain on the people's business and moving the City of Manassas forward. That is why I believe it is best for me to withdraw as a candidate in this special election,” he tweeted. 

According to his LinkedIn page, Farajollahi is employed by the U.S. Geological Survey as a congressional liaison. The USGS is the “sole science agency” for the U.S. Department of the Interior, according to its website.

According to the federal Hatch Act, federal employees cannot run for a partisan political office or engage in partisan political activities.

Farajollahi was running as an independent but had been endorsed by the local Democratic committee. 

It’s too late for the Democrats to formally nominate another candidate to appear on the ballot, Reed said. But they can try to mount a write-in campaign. Such an effort is rarely successful, however, especially so close to the election.

Already, about 900 City of Manassas voters have cast in-person, absentee ballots in the Nov. 2 election, while about 300 absentee ballots have been received by mail, Reed said.

The City of Manassas holds its city council elections during even years to coincide with federal elections. The special election was called because Farajollahi was appointed by the Manassas City Council in early 2021 to fill a seat vacated by Mayor Michelle Davis-Younger, who was elected mayor in 2020. 

The council then requested a special election on Nov. 2 to fill the last year of Davis-Younger’s term. The seat will be up for re-election in 2022.

Democrats currently have a 7-1 majority on the Manassas City Council. If Greene wins the Nov. 2 race, she will join fellow Republican City Councilwoman Teresa Coates-Ellis as the only two GOP-endorsed candidates on the city council.  

Reach Jill Palermo at jpalermo@fauquier.com

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