by Timothy Dwyer, The Washington Post

31 January 2007, p B5

“Republican Michael C. May, a former Prince William County planning commissioner with strong ties to U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), was elected yesterday to the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

“May, a lawyer who was once a staff member for Davis, beat Democrat Jeff Dion in a special election by a vote of 1,726 to 1,289 in complete but unofficial results. The balloting drew 12 percent of registered voters in the district.

“May takes the Occoquan supervisor seat left vacant in the fall when Corey A. Stewart (R) was elected chairman of the board to succeed Sean T. Connaughton, who resigned.

“When May, 30, joins the board next week, he will give Republicans a 6 to 2 majority. He will have to run again for the seat in November, when all board members will be up for reelection.

“May probably will give Stewart another strong ally on the board. Stewart has at times been overshadowed in meetings by Supervisor W.S. Covington III (R-Brentsville), who proposed a year-long freeze on residential rezonings at Stewart’s first meeting as chairman.

“The run for the Occoquan seat was May’s second attempt to get elected to the board. He ran for the same seat in 2003 but lost the Republican nomination to Stewart.

“May takes office as the board faces many critical decisions. The state’s second-largest county — and the region’s second-fastest-growing county — has an $18 million shortfall in revenue for this fiscal year and will soon begin looking for ways to cut $22 million from next year’s budget. A slowdown in the housing market caused the sharp drop in revenue.

“In addition, the board has placed itself squarely in the middle of the transportation debate by adopting the freeze on approving residential rezonings. The freeze, proposed last year by Covington and adopted unanimously by the board, was designed not only to put the brakes on development but to send a message to Richmond to pass legislation funding transportation projects and road improvements.

“Last week, the board voted unanimously against the state Republicans’ transportation plan, saying it would raise local taxes and fees to fund projects without giving the board any control over how the money would be spent.

“May said during the campaign that he favored slow growth, a position Stewart took in his campaign to become chairman.

” ‘We have to control growth,’ May said. ‘I have done that as the at-large planning commissioner by voting against 70 percent of all new residential units, and I will continue to fight to control growth on the board.’ “