2024-05-29 2:42 PM

Amid all else going on, it bears reminding Falls Church residents that this is an election year in  the Little City. There are two major dates to keep in mind, the date of the Democratic primary in late June, and the general election in early November when three (out of seven total) City Council and three School Board seats will be on the ballot.

The June 20 primary is not as far off as it may now seem, including due to the fact that early voting will begin May 6. Three contested races will be of importance to Falls Church voters, one for State Senate, one for the General Assembly and one for the Arlington Circuit Court’s Commonwealth Attorney.

While voters will not know for sure who their choices will be until the candidate filing period is over on April 5 (it runs from March 20 to April 5), it appears now that this year’s choices will be sufficiently novel as to require responsible voters to pay attention. By and large, you will not be simply rubber stamping yet another well known incumbent. It’s going to take some effort on voters’ parts in Falls Church to pick the right person.

For the state senate, for example, we have a newly configured district that three people will be contesting, none of whom Falls Church voters have seen on the ballot here before. There is an entrenched incumbent, State Sen. Chap Petersen, but he’s never represented Falls Church, only areas to the west. He’s generally seen as more conservative than most Falls Church voters would prefer but the fact that he’s attracted not one but two challengers seems to most people to enhance the chances he will get elected, nonetheless. His stated opponents as of now are Salim Saddam and Erika Yalowitz, both of whom identify themselves as more progressive than Petersen but neither of whom has won a public office before. If they both stay in the race and qualify for the ballot, in our view it will make it more difficult for either to beat Petersen.

For commonwealth attorneys, it is another challenging choice, this one between the incumbent, first-term prosecutor Parisa Denghanti-Tafti and her former deputy, Josh Katcher. Both claim to stand for reform in the office, the basis by which Denghanti-Tafti won four years ago against Theo Stamos. A recall effort against Denghanti-Tafti was unsuccessful in 2021. Katcher left his position as a deputy in her office and now has announced his bid to unseat her.

In the third race this spring, incumbent State Del. Marcus Simon, in what is now the 13th delegate district, may be facing off against another Democratic delegate, Del. Kaye Kory. While Simon is definitely running, Kory seems a bit less certain. Unfriendly redistricting resulted in the two having to compete in the same district, although Simon has represented Falls Church proper and Kaye the Sleepy Hollow area to its immediate south.

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