(Updated at 6:50 p.m.) The local candidates for Congress and Arlington County Board are making their final pushes to woo voters in the six days left until Election Day (Nov. 6). The common theme: hitting the streets this weekend.
“A lot of people wait until the last week to tune in to make their decision. People in Arlington have busy lives and we want to give them an opportunity to check in if they haven’t checked in yet,” said Matt Wavro, Republican candidate for Arlington County Board. “We’re making a last minute push to get the message out as far as we can. We will be at Metro stations handing out literature and continue talking with voters in every form we can get to to make sure the message gets out. It’s a sprint to the finish line.”
One of Wavro’s opponents, Green Party candidate Audrey Clement, agreed that last minute campaigning could sway voters.
“I think there are a lot of disinterested voters out there who ordinarily wouldn’t vote but will this year, because the race between Obama and Romney is so close,” she said. “I’m counting on these voters to split their ticket and will be canvassing the county through the weekend.”
Libby Garvey, the Democratic candidate for County Board, continues to encourage voters to take advantage of early voting.
“We’re especially emphasizing in-person absentee voting this year — you never know if there will be a work crisis or family emergency on election day!” said Garvey.
Jason Howell, Independent candidate for Congress, said he and some volunteers will get out into the community throughout the weekend to meet voters.
“We are excited about our campaign heading into election day,” said Howell. “We have worked hard all year, campaigned the right way and we’re not done yet.”
Rep. Jim Moran (D) is confident in his ability to win re-election and is spending his final days assisting other Democrats.
“Our campaign is running strong down the final stretch. We feel very comfortable with our race, but it’s going down to the wire for the President and Governor Kaine. Our focus is on helping to again, turn Virginia blue,” said a spokesperson for the Moran campaign.
Rep. Moran has made efforts in recent days to move beyond a controversy involving his son. A video surfaced last week showing what appears to be Patrick Moran discussing how to cast fraudulent ballots; the video prompted Patrick Moran’s resignation and an investigation by the Arlington County Police Department. The Virginia State Board of Elections has since voted to involve Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Patrick Murray, Republican candidate for Congress, believes Moran’s handling of the controversy is pertinent to the election.
“He [Moran] has missed votes at double the rate of all other members of Congress despite having the District nearest to Washington, D.C.,” said Murray. “He has been AWOL on sequestration solutions, and he has not even held a town hall meeting in almost 600 days. Now in the wake of this massive voter fraud scandal where there are two separate criminal investigations into his campaign, Moran has vanished.”
(A Moran spokesperson responds: “Rep. Moran has over a 97% voting record in the current Congress and held 8 open community forums this year.”)
Howell prefers to keep the focus off of the video controversy and instead on who is a more desirable candidate.
“The Patrick Moran I’ve met on the campaign trail is a good guy and as his father said, will learn from his mistakes. We all do,” said Howell. “What I expect your readers to do is evaluate me against a future with Jim Moran and decide whether in 2013, we can do better.”
Murphy agreed that the video is merely a distraction.
“It brought attention to the campaign, and to some extent that’s good. But I don’t feel the timing of the release of the video was fair. They had the video earlier and waited,” Murphy said. “I think we should stick to the main important matters for the voters.”
In a county typically viewed as dominated by Democrats, candidates from the other parties remain confident in their abilities to win.
“I’m running for County Board, because I believe it has lost touch with the voters and has embarked on a reckless and irresponsible capital spending program that the taxpayers cannot afford,” said Clement. “Because of my emphasis on conservation in general and fiscal responsibility in particular, I’m in an excellent position to challenge Libby Garvey as the candidate most likely to curb the County Board’s profligate spending and attendant tax rate increases.”
Wavro asserted that representation from only one party in local government indicates a significant problem.
“People understand that the one party echo chamber brings with it deficiencies in the public policy process,” he said. “We’re very confident we’ve made a strong case and will see it reflected in the election results.”
Garvey, however, emphasized her confidence in retaining her seat on the County Board.
“We’re of course optimistic about our chances, but we never take any election for granted, especially after March’s special election that saw record-low turnout,” Garvey said. “I will say that this election, and the spirited campaigns of Clement and Wavro, have done all Arlingtonians a favor by forcing a discussion of important issues like streetcar alternatives. It’s the Arlington Way, and it’s good for the citizens of the County!”
“I am running to put people over partisanship, and that is very powerful with Independent-minded voters,” said Patrick Murray, Republican candidate for Congress. “Voters here, regardless of Party, know it is time for a change, and we are riding that wave of momentum.”
Howell stuck to the message he’s asserted throughout the campaign — that voters have options outside of the two major parties when choosing a candidate.
“We can win this election because we are giving Democrats and Republicans what they want — someone to vote for rather than just against,” Howell said.