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Beyer, Chatman Lead Fundraising in Congressional Race

by Ethan Rothstein | April 17, 2014 at 12:15 pm | 508 views | No Comments

Don Beyer (photo via Friends of Don Beyer)  Lavern Chatman (photo via Facebook

Don Beyer and Lavern Chatman are the early leaders in fundraising in the June 10 Democratic primary to replace retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D).

Beyer, the former Virginia lieutenant governor, has a sizable lead over the rest of the field. Beyer has raised $668,497 in contributions so far, spending $218,617 and holding onto $449,636 cash on hand, according to Federal Election Commission filing records. Separately, Beyer said he plans to follow fellow Democratic candidate Del. Patrick Hope’s lead in releasing his most recent tax return, on May 15.

Chatman, the former director of the Northern Virginia Urban League, has raised $278,197 in contributions — thanks in part to a fundraiser with talk show mogul Oprah Winfrey — and spent $84,729, leaving her with $213,467 cash on hand. Another Alexandria-based candidate, Mayor Bill Euille, is in third place in fundraising, with $214,571 in contributions, $41,062 spent and $173,509 cash on hand.

The Arlington-based candidates are led by Sen. Adam Ebbin, whose district includes parts of Arlington and Alexandria, with $178,591 in donations and $62,943 in expenditures. He has $114,878 on hand.

“The funds we have raised will enable us to wage the kind of grassroots, neighbor-to-neighbor campaign that has won Adam multi-candidate Democratic primaries before,” said Michael Beckendorf, Ebbin’s campaign manager, in a statement.

Hope is fifth in fundraising, having raised $176,534, spent $47,800, and has $138,733 on hand.

Among the other five candidates — Charniele Herring, Mark Levine, Derek Hyra, Bruce Shuttleworth and Satish Korpe — only Levine and Shuttleworth have more than $100,000 cash on hand, thanks to loans of $250,000 and $275,000 respectively.

“This is a people powered campaign,” Levine, a liberal talk radio host, said in a press release. “People from across the district and across the country are excited about my candidacy. Voters want an aggressive progressive voice that will stand up for progressive principles in the House.”

Korpe, the last Democrat to enter the race, has not filed any campaign finance reports with the FEC.

Photos via Friends of Don Beyer and Facebook

Howard Dean to Campaign for Don Beyer in Arlington

by ARLnow.com | April 14, 2014 at 6:00 pm | 955 views | No Comments

Howard Dean (photo by Matt Wright via Wikipedia)Former Vermont governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean will be coming to Arlington tomorrow (Tuesday) to campaign for congressional candidate Don Beyer.

Dean is scheduled to attend a “spring picnic” for Beyer at the Overlee Community Association clubhouse (6020 Lee Highway) from 6:30-8:00 p.m. The event is free but RSVPs are requested.

Dean is one of two nationally-known Democrats who have endorsed Beyer, a former lieutenant governor of Virginia and U.S. ambassador. Over the weekend Beyer’s campaign announced that he had received the endorsement of former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.

Beyer is among a field of 10 Democrats seeking the party’s nomination in the race to replace the retiring Rep. Jim Moran.

Photo by Matt Wright via Wikipedia

Hope Calls for Higher Taxes on the Wealthy

by Ethan Rothstein | April 14, 2014 at 4:35 pm | 1,813 views | No Comments

Del. Patrick Hope (D) calls for higher taxes on the wealthy in front of the D.C. IRS headquarters(Updated at 10:35 a.m.) One would expect that most demonstrations outside IRS headquarters in D.C. involve calls for lower taxes. This afternoon, however, congressional candidate Del. Patrick Hope (D) held a press conference outside the IRS to call for higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

Hope, who’s one of 10 Democratic candidates running for the congressional seat of the retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), said he supports the budget put forth by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which raises taxes on Americans making more than $250,000 per year and creates a new, higher tax bracket for those making more than $1 million. It would also close corporate tax loopholes and tax individuals making more than $100 million annually at 48 percent.

The budget also would eliminate the tax difference between long-term capital gains income and regular income from salaries and wages. It also would reverse the effects of the sequester, which would mean more jobs for federal workers. Hope circulated a petition trying to draw support for what he calls the “Millionaire’s Tax,” and said he gathered 33,000 signatures.

A tax hike on the wealthy “solves our revenue problem very simply, by bringing in more revenue,” Hope said. “Our future is at stake in the upcoming Congress. Will we pass a grand bargain that cuts our social safety net? Or will we close the loopholes and demand the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans pay their fair share? That’s what the 2014 election will be about all over the United States — and that is where we have our biggest differences in our primary in the 8th District.”

The higher tax rate could hit residents of the district Hope seeks to represent particularly hard. Arlington has consistently ranked among the five richest counties in America in recent years, even landing at No. 1 by some metrics. Hope’s campaign, however, argues that a relatively small number of Arlington residents are in the very high income bracket that would be impacted by the Millionaire’s Tax.

Hope, a resident of Arlington’s Buckingham neighborhood, also released his tax returns and called upon his opponents in the June 10 congressional primary to do the same. Hope, who works as a healthcare attorney in addition to his part-time duties as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, earned $231,197 last year — $197,621 from work as a lobbyist for a nonprofit healthcare association, $28,176 from the Commonwealth of Virginia and $5,400 from Johns Hopkins University. He paid $38,645 in federal taxes, or 16.7 percent.

“Transparency is something that is very important in politics,” Hope said. “The people we seek to represent deserve to know everything about us.”

Arlington Reacts to Vihstadt’s Victory

by Ethan Rothstein | April 9, 2014 at 1:30 pm | 3,811 views | No Comments

New County Board member John Vihstadt at his election party 4/8/14As the dust settles from Republican-backed independent John Vihstadt’s victory in the Arlington County Board special election last night, those in and around Arlington politics are surveying what could be a new political landscape.

Vihstadt won by a significant margin — 57 percent to Democrat Alan Howze’s 41 percent — in a special election that saw an unofficial tally of 22,209 votes. Democrats saw the result partly as a result of not enough voter turnout, while Vihstadt’s supporters — Republicans, Democrats, Greens and independents among them — viewed the election as a referendum of County Board policy.

“John’s overwhelming victory tonight is a testament to the growing number of Arlingtonians who are tired of a County Board that dictates its own priorities instead of listening to the voices and concerns of the community,” the Arlington County Republican Committee, said in a press release.

“Despite attempts to nationalize the issues in this race, the principles of fiscal responsibility and local project prioritization won out — and with a 15-point lead,” Arlington-Falls Church Young Republicans President Matt Hurtt said in a press release. “John is perfect for the job, and will bring balance to an overwhelmingly Democrat-controlled county government.”

Board member Mary Hynes focused on the work the Board has to do — including pass a budget later this month — with its newest member, who’s expected to be sworn in as soon as the election results are certified.

“The Board has a lot on its plate this month — budget being the first among many right now,” Hynes told ARLnow.com in an email. “It’s hard to come in at the end of a multi-month process like the budget. I know Board members and staff will do their best to answer any questions John may have as we move to adopt the budget on April 22.”

Many observers viewed this special election as centered primarily around the planned streetcar from Fairfax County on Columbia Pike to Pentagon City and Crystal City. Arlington Streetcar Now congratulated Vihstadt on his victory, but reiterated its beliefs that the streetcar would be better for Arlington than the enhanced bus service Vihstadt supports.

“Mr. Vihstadt’s election does not change any of the facts that have led the Arlington County Board to conclude on numerous occasions that the streetcar system is needed in Arlington and will provide tremendous benefits both for the neighborhoods directly served and for Arlington as a whole,” the group said in a release.

One local political observer, who preferred to remain anonymous, said Vihstadt’s victory was attributable to strong fundraising efforts, his experience and his liberal position on social issues, among other factors. The observer also said Democrats may have been distracted by the June primary in the 8th District congressional race.

“I think the thing to watch will be the CIP, due out soon,” the observer said. “Will there be a financing plan finally put forth for the Pike streetcar? What will be proposed to do for the Aquatics Center? Garvey and Vihstadt have common ground here — what will the other three do?”

Howze will again run against Vihstadt in November, when the general election for the retiring Rep. Jim Moran’s House of Representative seat and Sen. Mark Warner’s (D) Senate seat will take place.

UPDATED: Vihstadt Wins County Board Special Election

by ARLnow.com | April 8, 2014 at 7:40 pm | 10,983 views | No Comments

(Updated at 11:35 p.m.) For the first time in 15 years, a non-Democrat will sit on the Arlington County Board.

John Vihstadt, a Republican who ran as an independent with the endorsement of the local Republican and Green parties, has won the special election to replace Chris Zimmerman (D) on the Arlington County Board.

Vihstadt captured 57 percent of the vote to Democrat Alan Howze’s 41 percent. Independent Green candidate Janet Murphy and independent Stephen Holbrook each captured about 1 percent of the vote.

“We won the race by a higher margin than my most aggressive expectations,” Vihstadt told supporters at his victory party tonight. “The most exciting and gratifying measure of our victory was that it was north to south and east to west. There really is one Arlington, not two Arlingtons.”

Given that the race hinged largely on the hot-button issues of the planned Columbia Pike streetcar and Long Bridge Park aquatics center, the result is likely to be viewed by many as a voter rebuke of the County Board’s major capital spending projects.

“People want cost-effective, results-oriented solutions on the local level,” Vihstadt said.

Vihstadt touted his “true rainbow coalition” of supporters. Those supporters included all three candidates for County Board in 2012: current Democratic County Board member and fellow streetcar critic Libby Garvey, Republican ARLnow.com columnist Mark Kelly, and frequent Green Party candidate Audrey Clement. Also supporting Vihstadt was Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos, a close friend of Vihstadt and his wife, Mary.

“It was an easy call for me,” said Stamos, a lifelong Democrat. “He’s a good man and we need to sometimes think outside the box.”

“This is a victory for good government,” Garvey said. “I’m going to get choked up, this is Democracy at its best. This is the way it’s supposed to be.”

“The people have spoken and the County Board needs to listen,” Garvey added.

Vihstadt, whose yard signs were purple to represent a blend of red and blue politics, said he plans to “work in a collaborative fashion to get things done for the county.”

“This was a victory not for one person or one party, but for Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Libertarians and people with no party,” Vihstadt said. “I’m not going to be a captive of any political party, any person, any ideology — I’m going to call issues as I see them.”

Voter turnout today was relatively light, which benefited Vihstadt. With no state or national-level races energizing the Democratic base, its appears that many party-line Democrats stayed home. Total unofficial turnout was 22,209, or about 16 percent of registered voters.

Vihstadt will be the first non-Democrat on the Board since Republican Mike Lane served briefly after winning a special election in 1999. Lane lost in the general election several months later. Similarly, Vihstadt is expected to face Howze again in the November general election, when a U.S Senate and a House of Representatives race will be on the local ballot.

Howze told dozens of his supporters at the Democrats’ election party at Whitlow’s in Clarendon that he continues to believe infrastructure and education investments are the core values of Arlington voters.

“The special election is behind us now, and I look forward to continuing this conversation into November and moving Arlington forward,” he said. “There’s a lot at stake.”

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Early Voting Turnout Slow for Special Election

by Ethan Rothstein | April 8, 2014 at 11:00 am | 2,168 views | No Comments

As of this morning, the polls around the county for the Arlington County Board special election are reporting very light turnout.

“I don’t know if it’s the dreary weather, but it’s been quiet,” Arlington County General Registrar Linda Lindberg told ARLnow.com. “There’s no waiting at the polls in Arlington.”

Lindberg said the final returns for absentee balloting aren’t in yet — the registrar’s office hadn’t received its mail yet — but expects about 2,000 absentee ballots to be counted tonight, which is “definitely high for a special election, but I’m not sure how that’s translating to turnout.”

At Barrett Elementary School in Buckingham, election officer Nels Running said there were about 40 total voters in the first three hours of voting.

“Some people will wait for the sun to start shining,” he told ARLnow.com. “Most elections there’s a rush at midday until about 1:00 p.m. and then another from 4:30 to 7:00.”

Many of the voters who have turned out so far are voting die hards. One voter at Barrett, who only wanted to give his first name, Mick, to a reporter, said he’d voted in every election since he was 21, even one year when he broke his back and “my brother had to carry me.”

“It’s not really an election in Arlington since you know who’s going to win,” Mick said. “I’m a conservative, so my guy never wins.”

County Board Candidates Ready for Special Election

by Ethan Rothstein | April 7, 2014 at 5:10 pm | 1,527 views | No Comments

The Aurora Highlands polling station during a 2010 electionIt’s the eve of the Arlington County Board special election and the four candidates are gearing up for a final push for votes.

Arlington polls open at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow and will remain open until 7:00 p.m. Voters who are unsure about where they can vote can go to the Virginia State Board of Elections polling place search function. Other questions about voting tomorrow can be answered on Arlington County’s election website.

Arlington Treasurer Frank O’Leary, who doubles as an election turnout prognosticator projects the total voter turnout to be between 30,000 and 33,000 after the latest absentee ballot count came in at 1,910.

Campaign contributions and candidate efforts have ramped up in the final week and the leading contenders, Howze and Republican- and Green-endorsed independent John Vihstadt, say they’re looking forward to tomorrow.

“Voters are really responding to our message of progressive values, community investments, and high quality local government services,” Howze told ARLnow.com in an email this afternoon. “We are working hard to make sure voters know that there is an election and what is at stake. We have knocked on thousands of doors and made thousands more phone calls and will continue right through Election Day to get the word out.”

Vihstadt acknowledged the difficulties he faced running against a Democrat in Arlington, but said he’s “encouraged” heading into tomorrow.

“I am the underdog, but am very encouraged and up-beat going into the election,” Vihstadt also wrote in an email. “This has been an uphill battle against the status quo from the start, but our grassroots campaign of volunteers from multiple parties has tapped a groundswell across the County that we need to elect a new independent voice and restore some balance to our County Board in a constructive, bridge-building manner.”

Howze and Vihstadt both said the voters they’ve spoken to appreciate candidates knocking on their doors. However, Vihstadt says voters want a candidate who “speaks to local issues that the County Board has power to address and will provide a new, independent voice and someone who will ask questions and not just nod his head.”

Howze said voters told him “they want leaders who share their values on equality, economic opportunity, and expanding access to healthcare. I also learned that voters, especially those with school-age children, recognize the value in having a Member of the County Board who actually has children currently in APS.”

Regarding his electoral odds on Tuesday, independent Stephen Holbrook wrote “it isn’t important as to how I feel about my chances for victory… If I am not elected the only losers will be the people of Arlington County who will be hurt by more higher unjustified taxes and more poor leadership type people on our board.”

At publication time, Independent Green candidate Janet Murphy had not responded to a request for comment sent earlier this afternoon.

Oprah Attends Political Fundraiser in Crystal City

by ARLnow.com | April 7, 2014 at 1:35 pm | 1,151 views | No Comments

Ophrah Winfrey and congressional candidate Lavern Chatman (photo credit: Allison O'Brien/aobphoto)Entertainment icon Oprah Winfrey spoke at a fundraiser for congressional candidate Lavern Chatman (D) Saturday evening.

The event was held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott at 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway in Crystal City. Tickets for the fundraiser started at $150. At the high end, a $2,600 donation to the campaign came with reserved seating, admission to a VIP reception and a photo with Winfrey.

The fundraiser was closed to the press. The Chatman campaign issued a photo (above) and the following press release following the event.

Democratic congressional candidate (VA-CD8) Lavern Chatman hosted a campaign event Saturday night in Arlington, Virginia.

Chatman has run effective nonprofit programs and organizations. She is the former CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League, she founded the Grandfathers Group mentoring program for at-risk young boys, and co-founded the Nova Coalition an organization focused on increasing voter participation, voter restoration, and civic engagement. Personally, Chatman has a group of 15 young women she mentors called the “Fab 15,” and all 15 women attended.

“I will continue to be a champion for Virginia women,” Chatman said. “I am pro pay equity, pro-choice and pro women’s health. I have been in the trenches working with and mentoring young women and girls and I want to keep making a difference for my community in Congress.”

Chatman serves as a “host parent” for one of the graduates of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls – South Africa while the student is studying in the United States. Philanthropist and global media leader Oprah Winfrey appeared at a campaign in support of her friend.

“Stedman and I came here tonight to support Lavern Chatman,” said Oprah Winfrey. “I’ve seen how Lavern embraced with her whole heart being a host mom to one of my girls, who recently graduated from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa. Lavern makes people feel like they matter, and I see that Lavern is happiest when she is serving others.”

“This was a great event for our campaign and to advance the conversation about what we can do to champion issues that impact women and girls in Virginia,” Chatman said. “Oprah and I share a strong commitment to making a difference for future generations.”

Lopez Drops Out of Congressional Race

by ARLnow.com | April 4, 2014 at 3:00 pm | 1,152 views | No Comments

Alfonso Lopez speaks at the Democratic victory party on Columbia Pike

Del. Alfonso Lopez (D) announced this afternoon that he’s ending his campaign for Congress.

Lopez was one of nearly a dozen candidates in the race to replace the retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) His campaign issued the following press release today.

Thanking supporters and pledging to continue his work to expand opportunity, Delegate Alfonso Lopez announced today the end of his campaign for Congress:

“I got into this race because even though on paper the economy is doing well, too many people are still struggling to make ends meet. Everyone deserves the opportunity to build a better future.

I am proud of how my campaign resonated with many voters in the Eighth District, especially new Americans, and that we assembled a coalition of many generous supporters. However, after we closed the fundraising quarter, I took the time to evaluate, with my team, the position of my campaign. It is clear to me that I do not have the resources necessary to run the campaign we wanted and that the people of the Eighth District deserved. With that in mind, I do not want to ask my supporters to continue to make the sacrifices of time, treasure and talent that they have so generously made thus far.

Although my campaign for Congress comes to an end today, my work to expand opportunity for all Virginians continues. In the coming weeks, I will lay out a new plan for my work to expand opportunity here in Virginia. We must do more in Richmond to ensure that everyone has a chance at the American Dream.

The voters of the Eighth District have many qualified and talented candidates to choose from on June 10 — many of whom I know well. I am confident that our next representative will fight for the progressive values of Northern Virginia.”

Lopez’s fellow local Democratic member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Del. Patrick Hope, is also running for Moran’s seat. Hope issued the following statement this afternoon regarding Lopez’s decision.

Alfonso Lopez has been a leader for environmentalists, gun safety advocates, and for new Americans in Richmond and during this campaign for the 8th Congressional District. I want to publicly congratulate him for running a strong campaign. I’ve seen Alfonso’s tenacity when we served together in Richmond, and we are lucky to have him as part of the Arlington County delegation. Alfonso has a bright future in politics, and I look forward to continuing to work with him in the future.

Vihstadt, Howze Neck-and-Neck in Fundraising

by Ethan Rothstein | April 2, 2014 at 3:30 pm | 815 views | No Comments

Democratic County Board candidate Alan Howze John Vihstadt at the County Board candidates debate 3/4/14

The two leading candidates for the vacant seat on the Arlington County Board are essentially even in fundraising with less than a week before the April 8 special election.

Democrat Alan Howze raised $84,984 in the first quarter of 2014, which ended March 28, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks campaign financing in the state. Republican- and Green-endorsed independent candidate John Vihstadt raised $84,154. However, if the candidates want to go on a spending spree in the final week, Vihstadt has $20,379 in cash on hand, compared to Howze’s $5,170.

Howze’s top donor since his campaign began — shortly after Election Day 2013 when longtime Board Member Chris Zimmerman announced his plans to retire – has been real estate broker Bob Adamson, who has given $2,944, more than the $2,000 Howze’s campaign has gotten from Jay Fisette’s 2012 campaign fund, attorney Christopher Shiplett, and the Baltimore Washington Construction & Public Employees Laborers PAC, which gave its $2,000 yesterday.

Vihstadt’s biggest contribution has been from his wife, Mary, for $5,666. He has also received $5,360 from attorney Stephen Huntoon and, on Monday, Arlington Firefighters donated $2,500 to Vihstadt’s campaign. Vihstadt has also received $1,000 from Democrat Board member Libby Garvey’s campaign funds.

Independent candidate Stephen Holbrook — who suggested that those who vote for Howze and Vihstadt will “go to hell” — has not filed any campaign finance records, while Independent Green candidate Janet Murphy has not disclosed any donations.

Alexandria Republican Joins Race for Moran’s Seat

by Ethan Rothstein | April 1, 2014 at 11:45 am | 991 views | No Comments

Republican Congressional candidate Dennis BartowA second Republican has entered the race to replace Rep. Jim Moran in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District.

Dennis Bartow, 39, announced yesterday that he will be vying for the retiring Moran’s seat, facing Micah Edmond in a Republican convention, set for April 26 at Bishop O’Connell High School. Bartow, a U.S. Army veteran and founder of two companies, lives in Alexandria with his wife and son.

Bartow announced his candidacy in a press release, in which he says he served in the military in Iraq, Kuwait and Kosovo. He also founded Bartow Imports, which distributes wine to 10 states, and a federal government contractor. He is running on a platform of economic development and “smaller, smarter government.”

“The neighborhoods and communities that make up Virginia’s 8th District stand at a crossroads today in how we are governed,” Bartow said in the release. “I’m running for Congress because Americans are tired of the gridlock and pessimism. I believe we can work together to create policies that will spur job growth and prosperity again – so that every American has the opportunity to share in our great nation’s promise. I will reinvigorate the district and our nation with the business experience and entrepreneurship that helped me launch two successful businesses and create jobs.”

The filing deadline for the election was March 27. The field for the primary includes 11 Democrats — Adam Ebbin, Alfonso Lopez, Patrick Hope, Bill Euille, Charniele Herring, Bruce Shuttleworth, Lavern Chatman, Don Beyer, Mark Levine, Satish Korpe and Derek Hyra. Nancy Najarian, who had announced she was running in March, only secured 549 signatures of the required 1,000 to qualify for election, according to the 8th Congressional District Democrats’ website.

The Democratic Primary will be held June 10. The 8th District has been a Democratic stronghold for decades, with local and national Democratic candidates consistently winning more than 60 percent of votes.

Courtesy photo

County Board Candidate: Opponents Will ‘Burn in Hell’

by ARLnow.com | March 31, 2014 at 11:00 am | 6,035 views | No Comments

Stephen Holbrook at the County Board candidates debate 3/4/14Independent Arlington County Board candidate Stephen W.C. Holbrook doesn’t like a plan to use public land for affordable housing, and made his opinions known in a strongly-worded email to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York.

Holbrook wrote the email, a copy of which was also sent to ARLnow.com, following his participation last week in a forum for County Board candidates organized by the faith-based social justice group Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE).

The forum, held Thursday at St. John’s Baptist Church on Columbia Pike, was intended “to call on the four candidates in the April 8 special election for County Board to commit to a bold a bold new plan for using public land to develop 1,000-1,500 units of affordable housing on a 3-5-year timetable for families earning $30,000-$50,000 a year,” according to VOICE, which collected more than 10,000 petition signatures for the plan.

In his letter to Dolan, Holbrook, a retired FBI agent, let it be known that he thought the plan was not in keeping with church teachings.

“GOD’S house is a place to talk to your GOD and not a place to gather people to form a plan to lay out how you will steal from other people,” Holbrook wrote. “I am a Catholic and that meeting in that church was the first time I ever went into a church and came out feeling dirty and that there was evil in that church. I thought that God was going to send down a lighting bolt unto those church leaders and their people and I didn’t want to be around them.”

“It took me two days and several baths to get the smell of greed and sin off of me but the other people there will go to hell for what they do and their church leaders are to blame,” Holbrook continued.

Asked by ARLnow.com to clarify his remarks, Holbrook suggested that those who vote for his three opponents – who support the creation of additional affordable housing — will be guity of theft by association.

“The voters that will go to HELL are the ones that trade their vote for stolen assets and those assets did belong to a person and or group of people that collectively did not want those assets given away,” he said via email. “GOD gave us all the TEN COMMANDMENTS. One of those Commandments was ‘Thou shall not steal.’ When you take assets for example from a group of people that did not want to give those assets away… [those] who gave their votes for them are just as guilty for receiving those stolen assets as the person that stole those assets.”

In his letter to Dolan, Holbrook requests that Catholic churches in Arlington read to its congregants and employees a speech he had prepared for the VOICE event but was not given the opportunity to read. That speech also took aim at the Arlington Education Association — Holbrook blames the teachers group for the county’s increased spending on public schools, which he opposes.

“The teachers’ union has already bitten the forbidden apple by showing their willingness to take unearned taxpayers’ assets for their vote for the Democratic candidate here and they will burn in Hell for their sinful deeds,” he writes.

The full prepared speech, after the jump.

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Special Election Predicted to See Record Turnout

by Ethan Rothstein | March 28, 2014 at 11:15 am | 1,501 views | No Comments

Barrett Elementary School polling place 11/5/13This year’s special election on April 8 could see record voter turnout, and not just for a special election.

Arlington’s unofficial election prognosticator, Treasurer Frank O’Leary, expects the special election to draw between 35,000 and 37,000 votes, dwarfing the previous record for a special election –  21,624 votes, set in 2003 — and rivaling the odd-year election records of 2011 and the constitutional amendment year of 1999.

“The natives are clearly restless,” O’Leary said in an email. “This fervor may reflect disgruntled voters responding to [John] Vihstadt’s energetic efforts to torpedo the aquatic center and derail the streetcar. Similarly, it may arise from the equally energetic efforts of the newly-minted ACDC Chairman — Kip Malinosky (who cannot afford to lose his maiden effort) and a determined Democratic candidate — Alan Howze — who has rapped his knuckles on thousands of voters’ doors.”

O’Leary is projecting about 2,750 absentee votes will be cast, compared with the 2011 general election that saw 2,248. Along with Democrat Howze and Republican- and Green-endorsed independent John Vihstadt, independent Stephen Holbrook and Independent Green candidate Janet Murphy are also running.

“Turnout resulting from this tempestuous mix,” O’Leary wrote, “will be further enhanced by the later-than-usual voting date of April 8, coupled with an extra hour of sunlight at day’s end.”

Oprah to Attend Chatman Fundraiser in Arlington

by ARLnow.com | March 18, 2014 at 11:30 am | 2,491 views | No Comments

Oprah Winfrey (Photo courtesy Alan Light via Wikipedia)Entertainment icon Oprah Winfrey will attend a fundraiser in Arlington for congressional candidate Lavern Chatman (D) next month, Chatman’s campaign announced this morning.

Winfrey will headline Chatman’s fundraiser, which will be held somewhere in Arlington on Saturday, April 5, according to the campaign. The event will also “feature several prominent leaders speaking on women’s issues, globally, nationally, and in the 8th District of Virginia.”

“Oprah is a good friend and we both share a passion for empowering women and girls for leadership,” Chatman said in a statement. “I’m delighted she is coming to town to help with my congressional campaign.”

Chatman is the former President and CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League. She held her campaign kickoff event at Arlington’s Army Navy Country Club on Feb. 12.

So far, the Chatman campaign says it has raised $200,000 in the race to replace Rep. Jim Moran in Congress. The race includes nearly a dozen candidates vying for the Democratic nomination.

Photo courtesy Alan Light via Wikipedia

Video: Don Beyer’s ‘Cups’ Campaign Song

by ARLnow.com | February 27, 2014 at 12:30 pm | 1,192 views | No Comments

Former Virginia Lt. Gov. Don Beyer, one of the nearly dozen Democrats running for the congressional seat of Rep. Jim Moran (D), will be holding a campaign kickoff event this weekend.

In advance of the event, Beyer’s campaign released a music video — a campaign song based on the Anna Kendrick hit “Cups.” Performed in the video by middle schoolers Mae and John Keating, the children of friends of the Beyer family, the “Blue Cup Song” will also be performed live at Beyer’s kickoff event.

The event is being held at Evening Star Cafe in Alexandria from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. It will launch a procession of 100 campaign events Beyer is scheduled to hold between now and the June 10 Democratic primary.

Beyer served as Lieutenant Governor from 1990-1998, served as U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein from 2009-2013, and is the co-owner of the eponymous Beyer car dealership chain.

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