Amy Ashworth is the apparent winner of Tuesday’s primary election for the Democratic nomination in the Prince William County commonwealth’s attorney’s race.
With all precincts reporting as of 9 p.m. Tuesday, Ashworth, a private attorney with Farrell & Croft in Manassas, defeated her opponent, Tracey Lenox, with 62.38 percent of the vote.
Ashworth was the only candidate in today’s race who worked as a prosecutor for Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert, who is not seeking re-election after 50 years in office. Ashworth worked in Ebert’s office for 11 years, nine of which she spent in the “special victims’ unit,” prosecuting child and adult sexual assault and cases.
As the voters trickled in at Henderson Elementary School, Ashworth said she believed her experience was “a huge factor” for the voters.
“We are too large a jurisdiction and too complex an office to have somebody without prosecutor’s experience in this office, and I think the voters understand that,” Ashworth said.
Ashworth said the race was a challenging one because she has known Lenox professionally for 23 years.
Lenox said the same, noting she has “a great deal of respect” for Ashworth.
“She’s a fantastic trial lawyer,” Lenox said. “I’ve been on the other side of cases with her many times.”
Lenox, a resident of the City of Manassas, manages the criminal division for Nichols Zauzig, a law firm also based in Manassas.
Lenox also worked as a substitute judge and is a member of a local task force that works to reduce the jail population and to address rising opioid addiction in Prince William County.
Lenox said it was also difficult to get the word out about the commonwealth’s attorney’s race and the importance of the post, which serves as the top prosecutor for Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park.
Perhaps because Ebert has been a fixture of the office for so long – and there’s been no turnover in five decades – many voters seemed unfamiliar with the role of the commonwealth’s attorney’s role, Lenox said.
She said that served as a reminder that the commonwealth’s attorney needs to make it a point to be better known in the community.
“The commonwealth’s attorney has got to be a visible member of the community,” Lenox said. “You need to be able to interact with the people and hear what their issues are.”