Local Commentary

Our Man In Arlington

Last Monday evening, Arlington Democrats joined together once again for their annual Golden Gala at the home of Tom Sawner and Bettina Callaway near Washington-Lee High School.

It was a lovely, cool fall evening. The crowd was upbeat, as Virginia Democratic crowds tend to be nowadays, the food was excellent, and the entertainment first rate.

The entertainment consisted of Arlington’s own Commissioner of Revenue, Ingrid Morroy, and her sister playing their guitars and singing a great mix of songs. The featured song for this occasion was “Hey Paul” to the tune of — guess what! Sue Gruskiewicz joined Morroy in writing the song, with Paul McCartney contributing the music.

The immortal lyrics included:

“Hey Paul, Arlington’s voting for you

Hey, hey, hey Paul, we will be voting for you too

‘Cause you have the best technology planned

Each marriage license will be scanned

Paul Ferguson for Clerk”
How could you lose with a powerful campaign song like that? Reminds you of “Happy Days Are Here Again!”

The amazing thing about Arlington is that of 14 races, only seven are contested at all. Democrats are the sole candidates on the ballot for the remaining 10. And, to put it politely, the contests in the other seven are really “no contest.” The Democratic candidates in all of them are expected to win handily, in spite of the earnestness of their opponents.

Arlington is sometimes referred to by those substantially to the right as “The People’s Republic” or “The Democratic Republic” of Arlington. It is both of those things, without the communist overtones. But how did that happen.

Back in the old days (the 1960s and 1970s) Democrats actually did not win all of the time. As an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for County Board in 1975, I can certainly attest to that. Solid moderate to conservative Republicans, many of them friends, were important elected officials.

So what happened? First, by the early 80s, the Arlington Republican Party shifted very, very far to the right, causing many of the moderate Republicans who had been winning elections to move away from the party, some coming into the Democratic Party, at least in spirit and with their votes.

Since that time, there is some evidence that the electorate has become more liberal, hence more Democratic, with the great influx of young highly educated professionals. But that’s not how it all started.

The second factor is simply that the Arlington Democratic Party is remarkably well organized all the way down to the block level. It is generally considered the best organized local party operation (either party) in Virginia and one of the better local organizations in the country. And it is all done by volunteers.

To help you out, here is a list of the offices on the ballot this year and the Democratic candidates for them. They all deserve your support, even if they are unopposed. They are all excellent.

House of Delegates (* = Incumbent): 45th District, David Englin*; 47th, Albert C. Eisenberg*; 48th, Robert H. Brink*; 49th, Adam P. Ebbin*. Virginia Senate: 30th, Patricia S. “Patsy” Ticer*; 31st, Mary Margaret Whipple*. Clerk of Court, Paul F. Ferguson. Commonwealth’s Attorney, Richard E. Trodden*. Sheriff, Elizabeth F. “Beth” Arthur*. Commissioner of Revenue, Ingrid H. Morroy*. Treasurer, Francis X. O’Leary*.  County Board (two seats), J. Walter Tejada* and Mary H. Hines.

And Vote! It is important!