Del. Lee Carter

Del. Lee Carter, D-50th.

UPDATED: Del. Lee Carter, the Virginia General Assembly’s only self-described socialist, has apparently fended off a challenge on his right from Manassas City Councilman Mark Wolfe.

With 88.24 percent of the vote reported, Carter was leading Wolfe with more than 57 percent of the vote in the 50th District race, which includes the City of Manassas and parts of western Prince William County.

On Tuesday night, Carter called his win "a tremendous victory for working people."

"Once again, we ran a campaign that didn't take a dime from corporate interests and in the end, that's what resonated with people and they showed up," Carter said.

Carter is just finishing his first two-year term in the office, which was held by Republican Jackson Miller until 2018. Carter was one of 15 new Democrats swept into office in the 2017 “blue wave” election, which also saw the election of Gov. Ralph Northam, also a Democrat.

Wolfe is serving in his third term on the Manassas City Council. He is a former Republican who switched parties in 2015 ahead of the 2016 election.

Wolfe has said he decided to challenge Carter after Carter voted against state incentives for the $3 billion Micron expansion in Manassas. The state offered Micron a $70 million state grant for site preparation and facility costs the expansion now under construction at its Manassas plant.

The deal is slated to add about 1,000 new jobs by 2030.

Carter was one of five delegates to vote against the Micron deal, citing the negative affect it would have on housing prices and traffic.

Carter campaigned mostly on issues of addressing the region’s affordable housing crisis and traffic congestion.

Carter also argued that economic development deals like the state awarded to Micron and Amazon will only make the Manassas area less affordable for existing residents.

“What my opponent is suggesting is continuing to cram more and more positions into an area with an employment rate that is already below 2 percent, which means that those positions will have to be filled by people that are hired from out of state,” Carter said in a candidates’ forum in May. “There will be a parade of u-hauls coming down the highway.” 

Wolfe countered by saying that the best way to help Manassas and Prince William families is to boost economic development.

“We have to work in an equitable fashion to provide the opportunities for people to be lifted up to have better opportunities for themselves and their children,” Wolf said.

Carter will face Manassas City Councilman Ian Lovejoy, a Republican, in November.

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