News

1 Dem Primary Race on F.C. Ballot Tuesday, Tough Challenges Nearby

Stamos Vs. Deane Is the Only Choice For F.C. Voters

Numerous Democratic and Republican primaries are being held in the Northern Virginia region next Tuesday, Aug. 23, and lower than usual turnouts are expected.

Due to delays in Richmond in completing the once-a-decade redistricting process, the primaries were pushed back from their usual June date until August this year. That will leave many citizens unaware of the new date, and even more out of town on their summer vacations.

To further depress the turnout, the primaries are intra-party, which means that few are overly concerned if the wrong person gets they nod. For Democrats, the winners will be Democrats, and for Republicans the same.

But still, for the contestants and their devoted loyalists, it’s all about “getting out the vote” between now and Tuesday, and there’s no lack of commitment among any of them that they’re the best for the region, the state and the land.

The News-Press has weighed in with a set of endorsements in their editorial this week.

In the City of Falls Church, at its five precincts, there is only one race on the ballot, a distinctly less than enticing race for the Arlington Commonwealth Attorney slot, a post that has been uncontested since Dick Trodden assumed the job in 1993.

As Trodden’s Chief Deputy since 2002, candidate Theo Stamos has Trodden’s resounding endorsement over the other candidate in the primary, Arlington attorney with the firm of Albo and Oblon, David Deane.

Both candidates have been going door-to-door to meet prospective voters, including in the City of Falls Church. Stamos has held two high-profile fundraisers in the City, one in a private home and the other at Clare and Don’s Crab Shack.

In other contested races in the environs of Falls Church, there is a Republican primary for sheriff of Fairfax County that is being contested countywide, with H. Wes Kammerer pitted against Bill A. Cooper III. The two are vying for the chance to run against incumbent county sheriff Stan Berry, a Democrat, in November. Kammerer is a 26-year veteran of the New York Police Department and 12-year veteran of the U.S. Secret Service. Cooper has been with the Fairfax Sheriff’s office since 1988, retiring as a lieutenant last March.

Three other Republican primaries are being held further to the west in Fairfax County, in the 36th, 37th and 39th state senate districts.

On the Democratic side, there are three contested races centered mostly in Arlington and Alexandria (a fourth Democratic race, for Braddock District supervisor of Fairfax County, is also in the west end of the county).

One race here touches on the Bailey’s Crossroads section of Greater Falls Church in Fairfax County, and that is for the 49th state delegate district being vacated by Del. Adam Ebbin (who is making a run for state senate). Competing for the 49th in Tuesday’s Democratic primary are Alfonso H. Lopez and Stephanie L. Clifford.

Lopez, with over 20 years of Democratic activism under his belt, is running for public office for the first time, and has the endorsement, among others, of former Gov. Tim Kaine, now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, and retiring State Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple. Kaine is slated to appear at a fundraiser for Lopez this weekend.

Clifford, with a solid history of regional Democratic activism, is also running for the first time, and has been endorsed by retiring State Sen. Patsy Ticer, State Del. Kaye Kory and former U.S. Rep. Leslie Byrne.

Ebbin is locked in a lively three-way battle to win the Democratic nod in the 30th state senate district, following the retirement of Sen. Ticer. Ebbin is running against K. Rob Krupicka, a member of the Alexandria City Council, and Libby T. Garvey, a member of the Arlington School Board.

The other contested race is for the 31st District, which used to cover the City of Falls Church, but was shifted this spring to McLean-Langley areas of Fairfax County and a large section of North Arlington.

With the retirement of Sen. Whipple, that district is now being contested between Arlington County Board member Barbara A. Favola and Jaime Areizaga-Soto.

This has developed into one of the most contentious races in the state, with accusations charging the use of race-based remarks, disinformation and other defamation tactics.

Favola has been accused twice in the campaign of allegedly “racist comments” about her opponent. A liberal political blogger, Lowell Feld, claimed last week to have received a call from Favola who allegedly told him that Areizaga-Soto would have no base in the 31st District because “his family hails from Puerto Rico.”

Five state delegates, Mark Keam, Patrick Hope, David Englin, Scott Surovell and Kaye Kory, criticized Favola for the comment, according to a Washington Post blog. Englin, Surovell and Kory have endorsed Areizaga-Soto. Sen. Whipple has endorsed Favola, who has served on the Arlington County Board for 14 years.

Areizaga-Soto, an attorney, was a Lt. Col. In the Army National Guard’s Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG), an Obama appointed to a senior post at the U.S. Agency for International Development, and vice president of the Democratic Latino organization of Virginia.

In a surprise development last month, Areizaga-Soto won a straw poll over Favola in a well-attended fundraiser in Arlington hosted by the Virginia Democrats’ LGBT Caucus, and that group subsequently endorsed him.

Last week, Favola, Areizaga-Soto and all the other Democratic candidates appearing at a forum in Arlington hosted by the same LGBT Caucus, affirmed that they’ll all be pulling together following next Tuesday’s primary. The Democratic nominees in the races from this region are all expected to win handily in their races in November.

Currently, the Democrats hold a slim 22-18 majority in the state senate, and the Republicans hold a safe majority in the house of delegates. Both parties view this November’s elections across the state as critical, especially for control of the senate.

Absentee balloting can still be done in person through Saturday, and in Falls Church that is at the Voter Registar’s Office at City Hall. Next Tuesday, polls will be open at all locations in the state from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.