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Yalowitz Exits F.C. State Senate Race, Endorses Salim

Early this afternoon, Erika Yalowitz announced her decision to withdraw her name from contention in the June 20 Democratic primary to represent the newly-drawn VA Senate District 37. This comes just hours before tonight’s debate (6:30 p.m., American Legion Post #180, 330 Center St. N, Vienna, VA), and in time for Yalowitz to remove her name from the ballot before early voting begins on May 5.

Erika Yalowitz, pictured here with Husband Neil and Daughter Antonia, exited the race to represent the new VA Senate District 37, which includes Falls Church, on Thursday. (Photo: Erika Yalowitz)

In her email announcing the decision to supporters, Yalowitz endorsed former opponent Saddam Salim, now one of two candidates in the race. “I have gotten to know Saddam Salim during this hard-fought campaign. He is a committed Democrat who cares deeply about the people of this district. He and I are aligned on most of the important issues our community faces.” Yalowitz said in her announcement, outlining specifically the issues she aligns with Salim with, but for which Sen. Petersen has crossed party lines in the past.

“We agree that we should have common-sense gun reform. We agree that our public tax dollars belong in public schools. We agree that we must defend reproductive rights and fight for our LGBTQ+ neighbors against Glenn Youngkin and the Republicans in the legislature, and very importantly, we agree in not taking any money from corporations, to keep our mission tied to our community‚Äôs best interest.”

“I want to thank Erika Yalowitz for bringing a progressive voice into this campaign and advocating for important issues like reproductive rights, the fentanyl crisis, gun violence prevention and public education. I also want to thank her for her endorsement,” said Salim, who is now the sole candidate challenging “incumbent” Sen. Chap Petersen of Fairfax in the Democratic Primary. “I appreciate it deeply and I look forward to working with her on the campaign trail to give the people of the 37th District a new choice for the first time in sixteen years. Erika will have a great future in the Democratic Party and I look forward to supporting her wholeheartedly in her next endeavors.

Petersen, historically the most conservative Democrat in the Virginia Legislature, has seen 60% of his constituency shifted east to deep-blue Falls Church through redistricting, where many within the party, proud of their reputation as a liberal anchor for the Commonwealth, are well-aware of the Senator’s political brand, and concerned about being associated with it should he prevail. Many activists within the new territory have been concerned that having two challengers to Sen. Petersen might actually serve his interests, and several voiced concerns about unity on the “anti-Chap” side of the race, for which most saw themselves as, regardless of which alternative candidate they initially supported.

The News-Press will continue to update its readers as developments unfold, and encourage those interested to attend tonight’s debate.