August 25, 2023 Commonwealth's Attorney Forum

August 25, 2023 Candidates' Forum

For Prince William County and Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park 

Commonwealth's Attorney Candidates 

at Metz Middle School

7:00 to 8:30 PM (Doors Open to public at 6:30 PM)



The forum was streamed on C100 FB Live.  Check it out at 

See article in the Prince William Times about the forum below

Incumbent Commonwealth's Attorney Amy Ashworth (D) speaks during a debate with her opponent Matt Lowery (L) during an Aug. 25 candidate forum in Manassas.

Photo by Mike Beaty

News coverage by the Prince William Times, 8/26/2023, by Cher Mucyk, Staff writer

Commonwealth's attorney candidates spar over rising crime, partnering with police, criminal justice reform

     By Cher Muzyk      Times Staff Writer   Aug 26, 2023 

Incumbent Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Amy Ashworth [D- right on stage] and her Republican opponent, Matt Lowery, sparred Friday night over the rising crime rate, partnering with law enforcement and criminal justice reform during a sometimes heated hour-long debate in Manassas. 


Article from InsideNOVA by Ben Peters, August 29, 2023

Violent crime takes center stage at Prince William commonwealth’s attorney forum

 by Ben Peters    August 29, 2023

Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Amy Ashworth sparred with Republican challenger Matt Lowery during an election forum Friday, where the incumbent defended her record against criticisms of rising violent crime in the county. 

Read More

Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Amy Ashworth participated in a candidate’s forum with defense attorney and Republican challenger Matt Lowery.       Photo by Sarah Horne

With Candidates

 Matthew B. "Matt" Lowery - R and *Amy K. Ashworth – D

Moderated by Dr. Stephen Farnsworth, 

Director, Center for Leadership and Media Studies, 

University of Mary Washington

Biographies below


Candidates are listed as they will appear on the Nov. 7, 2023 Ballot, as determined by VA Department of Elections 

Home of the Mustangs


Metz Middle School

(Manassas Public Schools)

9950 Wellington Rd

Manassas, VA 20110

Click on underlined text for Google Map 

We are soliciting questions for the candidates now!


Deadline for submitting questions for the Commonwealth's Attorney Forum on August 25th 

is Noon, Wednesday, August 23.


Read about our questions process HERE


Prince William area candidates listed on the November 7, 2023 General 

Election Ballot- See resources below 

Click below to see local candidates list on the Prince William Ballot.

Here are some other useful links with information to help you VOTE on November 7th:

Biographies of Candidates and Moderator

Matthew B. "Matt" Lowery- R

Matthew B. "Matt" Lowery is a lifetime resident of Northern Virginia and has called Prince William County home since 1984. Matt graduated from Woodbridge High School in 1988, Virginia Commonwealth University in 1994 with a degree in Political Science, and then went on to attend the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond. After graduating from law school in 1997, Matt worked for almost seven years as a criminal defense attorney, Guardian Ad Litem, and family law practitioner in private practice in Stafford County.


In 2004, Matt embarked on a nearly twenty-year career as a prosecutor, working in Spotsylvania, Prince William, and Fairfax Counties. At various times during his tenure as a prosecutor; Matt was assigned to prosecute crimes involving, but not limited to: child victims, domestic violence, computer crimes, vice/narcotics, and robbery/homicide.


Matt rose to the rank of Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney in two different jurisdictions, where he:

·   Served as an attorney supervisor, managing teams of attorneys and staff responsible for handling misdemeanor and felony cases initiated in Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, and for trials in Circuit Court;

·   Worked on the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys (VACA) legislative affairs committee and provided advice to members of the Virginia General Assembly on impacting criminal law and practice;

·   Was a member of the VACA curriculum committee, helping select the classes and instructors used to train Virginia’s entire prosecution force;

·   Guest lecturer for large-scale trainings held by VACA, on topics including: use of technology in prosecutions, Constitutional law, and narcotics interdiction;

·   Was a previous instructor for the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy, teaching Constitutional law principles to law enforcement officer trainees;

·   Served as a faculty member for Virginia’s homicide prosecution school (Murder One/Murder Two);

·   Served as a faculty member for Virginia’s elite narcotics intervention school (TOPGUN).


In 2020, Matt’s achievements in legal education were recognized when he was awarded the “Michael R. Doucette Lecturer of Merit Award” by the Virginia Commonwealth Attorney’s Service Council.


During his time as an attorney, Matt has handled criminal trials ranging from petit larcenies to capital murders. Matt has argued cases before every level of Virginia’s courts, including the Supreme Court of Virginia.


In choosing to run for office, Matt brings a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of criminal law, trial practice, public policy, and office management. His goal is to bring his expertise and skill set back into the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, restoring competent and even-handed criminal justice administration to our communities.


Matt Lowery 

The Honorable Amy Ashworth - D

Amy Ashworth grew up in West Chester, Pennsylvania and moved to Virginia to attend James Madison University, graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelors of Business Administration degree in 1992. After college, she attended George Mason University School of Law and received her Juris Doctorate degree in 1995. Ms. Ashworth began her legal career as an Associate Attorney at the law firm of Farrell & Croft handling cases in the field of domestic relations, criminal defense, and juvenile law.  

In 1997, Ms. Ashworth opened her own law firm and was hired as a part-time prosecutor for the City of Manassas Park and the Town of Haymarket. During her time as a solo practitioner, Ms. Ashworth was named Guardian ad litem of the year for her work on behalf of abused and neglected children. In 2005, she became a full-time prosecutor for the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney in Prince William County as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney. During her tenure, Ms. Ashworth prosecuted violent offenders who preyed upon the most vulnerable and innocent victims. Ms. Ashworth prosecuted hundreds of cases including homicide, domestic violence, child abuse, rape and sexual assault cases.

Ms. Ashworth left prosecution in 2016 and rejoined Farrell & Croft as a partner and focused her practice on criminal defense and family law. She holds an AV rating in both Legal Ability and Ethical Standards from Martindale Hubbell and was awarded the Justicia Award by the VWAA – Prince William Chapter in 2017 for her work with victims of sexual assault and domestic violence  

In November of 2019, Amy Ashworth became the first woman to be elected as Commonwealth’s Attorney for the County of Prince William and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. She began her first term on January 1, 2020. In February 2020, Ms. Ashworth became a founding member of Virginia Progressive Prosecutors for Justice, a workgroup comprised of prosecutors from across the Commonwealth who are focused on smart and effective criminal justice reform. In 2022, Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly named Ms. Ashworth one of the most influential women attorneys in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  

During her tenure as Commonwealth’s Attorney, Ms. Ashworth has made many changes to the office that not only improved efficiency and effectiveness of the office, but that improved the administration of justice for our community at every level.

Dr. Stephen Farnsworth, Moderator

Director, Center for Leadership and Media Studies, University of Mary Washington

Stephen J. Farnsworth, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science and International Affairs and Director of the University Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington, is the author or co-author of eight books on the presidency, the mass media, public opinion and journalism. He also has received the Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. and lectures widely on the presidency, the mass media, U.S. public opinion and Virginia politics.


His eight books include: Producing News in a Time of Disinformation: Information Evaluation Strategies for Journalists and News Consumers [forthcoming in 2023]; Late Night With Trump: Political Humor and the American Presidency; Presidential Communication and Character: White House News Management from Clinton and Cable to Twitter and Trump; The Global President: International Media and the U.S. Government; The Nightly News Nightmare: Media Coverage of U.S. Presidential Elections, 1988-2008; Spinner in Chief: How Presidents Sell Their Policies and Themselves; The Mediated Presidency: Television News and Presidential Governance; and Political Support in a Frustrated America. He is also author or coauthor of dozens of scholarly articles on the presidency, the mass media, U.S. public opinion and Virginia politics. His political commentary has appeared in a wide range of media outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, PBS NewsHour, Politico, C-SPAN and BBC World.


Dr. Farnsworth is a former Canada-U.S. Fulbright Research Chair in Public Policy at McGill University in Montreal, a former Malaysia-US Fulbright Specialist at Methodist College in Kuala Lumpur, and a former chair of the political communication section of the American Political Science Association. He received a Ph.D. and an M.A. in government from Georgetown University, a B.A. in history from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a B.A. in government from Dartmouth College. Dr. Farnsworth, who worked for 10 years as a newspaper journalist before becoming a professor, has lectured widely on the news media, the presidency and elections before US and international audiences. In addition, he has led reporter training seminars in India, the Philippines, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Latvia, Armenia and Estonia through programs funded by the U.S. government.

 In addition to the statewide teaching award, Dr. Farnsworth has won three campus-wide teaching awards at Mary Washington: the Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award, the Mary W. Pinschmidt Teaching Award and the Richard Palmieri Outstanding Professor Award. Dr. Farnsworth, who is also Affiliate Faculty in Communication, Digital Studies and American Studies at UMW, has taught courses in political science, journalism and political communication at Georgetown University, McGill University, George Mason University and Methodist College Kuala Lumpur.


Professor Farnsworth can be reached via email: 

Also See website: