Alexandria, VA – Greg Parks has done it! The 52-year-old attorney received the Democratic nomination for Alexandria clerk of court in Tuesday’s primary. Parks won the election 3,839 votes to 3,087 votes, or 55 percent to 45 percent against Ben Ortiz, the 41-year-old Deputy Circuit Court Clerk who has worked for retiring Clerk Ed Semonian for the last 15 years.
“I am very, very excited,” Parks told The Zebra. “I’m humbled and honored that the citizens of Alexandria have chosen me to be the next Clerk of the Circuit Court. I think it’s a very important office, and I’m very much looking forward to serving in the office.”
Data From the Election: The Percentages and the Precincts
It was a low turnout election. As of noon, the Mount Vernon precinct saw just 180 votes out of 4,500 registered voters in the district with 55 absentee votes, which equates to about 4 percent. At 4 p.m., turnout was 4.58 percent,
“That is very high,” said Precinct Captain James Bender. “We were expecting that number all day. The city’s election officials expect us to get to 8 percent by the end of the day.”
2019 turnout numbers are still lower than for recent Democratic Party Primaries in the City, however they look comparable to the 2013 Democratic Primary for Lt. Governor and Attorney General.
At the end of his term, Semonian will have been the clerk for 40 years.
Parks said he wants to work with Ortiz in the clerk’s office.
“Of course I want to work with him,” Parks said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Parks, who is also married to Commonwealth’s Attorney David Lord, received endorsements from a number of high-profile Alexandria Democrats, including Del. Mark Levine (D-45), Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker and the entire city council, Sheriff Dana Lawhorne, and Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter.
There is not a Republican candidate in the clerk’s race, and the primary win is tantamount to a general election victory in November.
Parks has his work cut out for him, and will have to oversee the transition of 20 years of records to the Supreme Court of Virginia, following the lead of more than 100 other clerk offices from around the Commonwealth.
For the last eight years, Parks was chief counsel for the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals, and he worked with a team of judges to settle disputes between the federal government and private contractors. He was previously an attorney with the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the General Services Administration. He is a former Congressional fellow at the Brooking Institution and was selected by the White House in 2003 to help plan the creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after the 9/11 attacks. Parks received his law degree from American University in 1993 and a Master of Law degree last year from the George Washington University. Since moving to Alexandria in 2013, he has been an active member of the Alexandria Democratic Committee, the Economic Opportunities Commission, the Human Rights Commission and City Council’s Budget and Fiscal Affairs Advisory Committee.