Ex-Marine Convicted in Murder Case — Former Marine Jorge Torrez has been convicted of first degree murder in the killing of fellow Navy petty officer Amanda Jean Snell at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. The trial will now enter the sentencing phase, with federal prosecutors seeking the death penalty. In a separate case, Torrez was previously convicted of rape in Arlington County and sentenced to life in prison. [Washington Post]
Dems Now Regretting Special Election Schedule? — Arlington Democrats may now be regretting the timing of yesterday’s County Board special election. Because departed County Board member Chris Zimmerman pushed back his last day in office, the special election was held after the filing deadline for nominations in the general election. That leaves Alan Howze as the sole Democrat on the ticket, despite the large margin of his loss Tuesday. [InsideNoVa]
Wardian Wins North Pole Marathon — Prolific Arlington marathon runner Michael Wardian has won the 2014 North Pole Marathon. Wardian finished the marathon, held in sub-zero temperatures, with a time of 4:07:40. He “described it as the toughest race he’s ever run.” [Facebook]
Major Delays on Orange Line This AM — Orange Line riders faced significant delays this morning due to a signal problem outside Stadium-Armory. One rider told ARLnow.com via email that the line was “seriously f–ked,” with “delays and overflowing platforms.” [Twitter]
East Arlington Remembered — East Arlington, a long-standing African-American community that was razed to make way for construction of the Pentagon and its road network in the 1940s, were remembered in a program hosted by the Arlington Historical Society. [Falls Church News-Press, YouTube]
False Alarm at Arlington National Cemetery — The Arlington County Fire Department responded to Arlington National Cemetery yesterday afternoon for a fire alarm. Once on scene, firefighters determined that the alarm was set off by the tomb guards steam pressing their uniforms. [Twitter]
Arlington Real Estate Market Profiled — CNBC’s “Power Lunch” program profiled the real estate market in Arlington last week. The program took a look at three properties in the county, from a $364,900 condo in Ballston to a $1,275,000 luxury townhouse in Rosslyn. [CNBC]
Arlington Dems Have Plenty of Beads — Arlington Democrats are trying to figure out what to do with more than 200 pounds of Mardi Gras beads. The party purchased the beads for the annual Clarendon Mardi Gras parade, which was rescheduled and then canceled due to snow this year. [InsideNoVa]
Doorways Fundraiser Planned — Rocklands Barbeque (3471 Washington Blvd) will open its patio for the season on Thursday, April 17, with its annual “Shed Your Coat” fundraiser. The event, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., will benefit Doorways for Women and Families. [Doorways]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber
Streetcar Support Remains High in Fairfax County — The McLean edition of the Sun Gazette newspaper reports that Fairfax County officials are not nearly as divided over the Columbia Pike streetcar project as their Arlington counterparts. “While some Republicans on [the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors] have expressed concerns, support among Fairfax officials remains high,” the paper reported. “And with good reason: Fairfax will be responsible for only about 20 percent of the local cost of the project, but plans to use the streetcar’s arrival to spur the redevelopment of Baileys Crossroads.” [Sun Gazette]
Dominion Reports Record Power Demand — Dominion Virginia Power met record demand for electricity during Tuesday’s frigid temperatures. Use of heaters during this week’s “polar vortex” helped push energy demand to 19,730 megawatts during the day on Tuesday. That’s well above the previous peak winter demand record of 18,079 megawatts, set in February 2007, but below the company’s summertime record of 20,061 megawatts, set in July 2011. [Dominion]
Malinosky Elected ACDC Chair — Kip Malinosky, a middle school civics teacher and well-respected Democratic organizer, was elected chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee last night. Malinosky, who succeeds outgoing chair Mike Lieberman, told the Democratic faithful that the local party will remain united despite contested primaries for County Board and School Board. “We’re all in this together,” he said. “When the caucus is over, we will rally behind our candidates.”
Bill Would Outlaw Sex Acts Among Minors — A new bill proposed in the Virginia General Assembly would make oral sex and other “consensual sodomy” legal for adults but illegal for minors. The bills was proposed several months after courts struck down Virginia’s “crimes against nature” law. [Think Progress]
Delegate Wants More I-66 Lanes Inside the Beltway — Del. Jim LeMunyon, a Republican representing part of Fairfax County, has introduced legislation requiring the state to plan a project that would “increase the lane capacity on Interstate 66 inside the Capital Beltway to include at least two-non-high-occupancy vehicle lanes in each direction.” That idea, suggests reporter Michael Neibauer, will likely not sit well here in Arlington. “Arlington officials would probably chain themselves to highway signs before letting it happen,” he wrote. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by J. Sonder
Democratic incumbents have cruised to reelection in all local races. Meanwhile, Democratic voters in Arlington and Northern Virginia have helped push two statewide candidates to victory.
Democrat Terry McAuliffe has been elected the next governor of Virginia, defeating Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Libertarian Robert Sarvis. Democrat Ralph Northam, meanwhile, has defeated Republican E.W. Jackson in the race for lieutenant governor.
Voting in Virginia ended at 7:00 p.m., on an election day when the gubernatorial race was garnering the lion’s share of headlines and voter interest. In Arlington, without a Republican candidate in any local race, third party candidates like Audrey Clement, Green Party candidate for Arlington County Board, were left to provide the opposition to the Democrats on the ballot.
With all votes counted, here are the final numbers:
- County Board – Jay Fisette (D): 66%; Audrey Clement (G): 31%
- House of Delegates, 45th District – Rob Krupicka (D): 74%; Jeffrey Engle (I): 25%
- House of Delegates, 47th District – Patrick Hope (D): 77%; Laura Delhomme (L): 22%
- House of Delegates, 49th District — Alfonso Lopez (D): 78%; Terrence Modglin (IG): 21%
The races for Arlington School Board and the 48th House of Delegates District, featuring incumbents James Lander and Del. Bob Brink, were uncontested.
On the referendum question of whether Arlington should establish a redevelopment and housing authority, the “no” position — endorsed by both the local Republican and Democratic parties — is well ahead.
- Housing Authority Referendum – Yes: 31%; No: 69%
“It’s a great night in Arlington,” said Arlington County Democratic Committee Chairman Mike Lieberman. “Our goal in Arlington is to do our part to turn out every Democrat in a Democratic area, to try to run up the score to make sure we can offset some of the more conservative areas in the state. Based on the numbers we saw here today, we did that.”
“I think Arlingtonians reacted really well to McAuliffe’s centrist message, his good government message, his jobs message, and I think quite frankly Cuccinelli and his ticket didn’t offer much for Arlington,” Lieberman continued. “The strength of Democrats is a validation of the community we have here.”
Reelected Delegate Alfonso Lopez said night’s Democratic victories were a rejection of Tea Party politics.
“Tea Party hypocrisy and Tea Party policies are not the way to govern the Commonwealth,” he said.
County Board member Jay Fisette, who will take over the chairmanship of the Board in January 2014, called his reelection “gratifying” and thanked Democratic volunteers for their get-out-the-vote efforts.
“This is a great county and I really appreciate the support you’ve given me,” he said. Fisette also thanked his husband, Bob Rosen, though he had to correct himself when he initially called Rosen his “partner.” The two were wed in the District in September.
“I’m not used to saying that word [husband],” Fisette said.
As chairman, Fisette will likely preside over the hot-button vote on whether to allow urban hen-raising in Arlington. But he said he’s particularly focused on three major challenges facing the county: economic development and the high commercial office vacancy rate; affordable housing; and burgeoning school enrollments.
“I’m looking forward to the challenges… I’m really ready to hit the ground and continue working on them,” he said.
Daylight Saving Time Ends Sunday — Be sure to set your clocks back an hour before you go to bed on Saturday. Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 a.m. Sunday, meaning an extra hour of sleep but one fewer hour of daylight at night. The changing of the clocks is also a good time to replace smoke alarm batteries.
Dems Worry About Libertarian’s Impact on Gov. Race — Historically, polls overestimate the potential votes for third party candidates because voters who might have expressed support for a third party in a poll end up choosing one of the major party candidates in the voting booth. Arlington Democrats worry that Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli is thin enough that supporters of Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis may tip the election on Nov. 5 if they break for Cuccinelli. [Sun Gazette]
Blue, Orange Line Work This Weekend — Trains on the Blue and Orange Line will run every 15 minutes this weekend due to scheduled track work. [WMATA]
Arlington Education Company Cutting Jobs — Arlington-based Strayer Education is cutting its workforce by 20 percent and closing some of its Strayer University campuses. Students enrollment is down 17 percent. [Washington Business Journal]
Moran’s New Beard Called ‘Santa Chic’ — Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) has been sporting a white beard since August. While the 68 year old’s new look has its supporters and detractors, the congressman’s own staff has taken to calling it “Santa chic.” [The Hill]
Letter: Arlington Dems Use African-Americans as ‘Window Dressing’ — In a letter to the editor, Bobbie Fisher, an African-American resident of Arlington, says that Arlington Democrats are taking African-American voters for granted and not paying sufficient attention to their concerns. “Walk into any [Arlington County Democratic Committee] meeting, you will never find more than a few African-Americans present,” she writes. “We are viewed as window-dressing or bobble-heads, to sit quietly while others raise questions of interest to their community.” [Sun Gazette]
GGW to Host Arlington Happy Hour — The blog Greater Greater Washington will be hosting a happy hour at Fire Works Pizza in Courthouse next Tuesday. The happy hour is an opportunity for the blog’s contributors, editors and readers to get together “for some drinks and lively conversation.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Central Library Renovations in ‘Home Stretch’ — The second floor reference desk and the old first floor circulation desk at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) are gone, among other ongoing renovations. The library’s renovation project as now entered the “home stretch,” officials write. [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by Christaki
Arlington County Democrats were joined by Sen. Mark Warner at their annual Labor Day Chili Cook-off in Lyon Park on Monday.
Between chatting with local Democratic elected officials and activists, Virginia’s senior U.S. senator cheered on contestants during the event’s popular no-hands-allowed pie eating contest. Finishing first in the contest was Ben Tribbett, of the Not Larry Sabato blog.
The main attraction, of course, was the chili contest. A dozen and a half entries competed for the votes of a panel of judges — the “electoral college” — and for the votes of all attendees — the “popular vote.”
Del. Patrick Hope captured top honors from the popular vote, with attorney Betsey Wildhack and School Board member Noah Simon in second and third respectively. Rep. Jim Moran’s “Animal Lovers Chili,” meanwhile, won the electoral college vote.
Among other attendees at the cookout were all five Arlington County Board members, Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos, state Sen. Adam Ebbin, Del. Bob Brink and Del. Alfonso Lopez, whose son won the cupcake decorating contest.
(Updated at 1:45 p.m.)
Arlington Democrats hosted the entire statewide Democratic ticket at their annual Jefferson-Jackson fundraising dinner Saturday night.
The party’s nominees for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general give passionate campaign speeches. Terry McAuliffe, the Democrats’ gubernatorial candidate, arrived late but closed the event with the keynote address, touching on the effects sequestration will continue to have on Virginia’s economy, noting Arlington’s place as a hub for defense jobs, in particular.
“The stakes have never been higher,” McAuliffe told the crowd of several hundred local political leaders and donors. “You want a governor who knows the ups and downs of business.”
Arlington County Democratic Committee Chairman Mike Lieberman delivered the first speech of the event, held annually at the Westin in Ballston, chronicling the past 12 months in Arlington politics.
“We have had an amazing last year,” said Lieberman, who is in his final year as chair of the local party. “We went eight-for-eight in general elections on three different election days.”
The dinner — which cost $125 a plate for the general public and $250 for VIPs — is the organization’s biggest fundraising event. The Dems also raised money with a silent auction during the dinner.
Through June 30, McAuliffe has raised almost $12.7 million, compared to almost $7.7 million for his Republican opponent, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, according to the Federal Election Commission. Lieutenant governor candidate, state Sen. Ralph Northam, has raised more than $2 million compared to $390,683 raised by his GOP opponent, E.W. Jackson, and Attorney General candidate Sen. Mark Herring has raised $1.6 million to Republican Sen. Mark Obenshain’s $1.2 million.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) gave a fiery speech after Lieberman, lambasting the Republicans in the House of Representatives who he said have been obstructionists, hurting the country by blocking meaningful legislation.
“There’s always going to be people who want plunder villages for their own benefit,” Moran said.
Herring and Northam spoke in more tempered tones than Moran and McAuliffe, emphasizing their strongest issues — Herring on the social issues that have come to the fore in Cuccinelli’s tenure as Attorney General, Northam on the Chesapeake Bay and healthcare.
“I will be a bulwark against the radicalization of Mark Obenshain, E.W. Jackson and Ken Cuccinelli,” Herring said.
Monday afternoon, the Republican Party of Virginia issued a response to the Democrats’ speeches.
“It’s only fitting Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam, and Mark Herring all landed on the ticket together, because they support higher taxes, more spending and burdensome regulations,” said Jahan Wilcox, spokesman for the Republican Party of Virginia. “With liberals like McAuliffe, Northam and Herring wanting to usher in a new era of job-killing tax hikes, Ken Cuccinelli and the Republican Party are advocating pro-growth economic policies that will lower taxes and create jobs for Virginians.”
McAuliffe also spent time talking about the state’s transportation issues, commending Gov. Bob McDonnell on his work to pass the state’s new transportation bill. He railed against Virginia’s low pay of teachers, and promised to opt into the Medicaid expansion clause of the Affordable Care Act.
Concluding his remarks, McAuliffe said he plans to be the one to break the Virginia’s habit, since 1977, of electing a governor from the opposite party of the President of the United States.
“I have to stop a 40-year jinx,” he said. ”Whoever wins the White House, the other party has won the governor’s race, but I’m going to break it.”
Local History Being Digitized at Library — The Center for Local History, the new name for the Virginia Room at Arlington Central Library, is making a push to digitize historic photos and documents submitted by residents. The library’s own collection of historic documents is also being digitized. [Washington Post]
Arlington Dems Decamp for Competitive Races — Arlington Democrats, secure in the near-certainty that local races will go their way, are planning to help out in other, more competitive races around Northern Virginia. Among the help being offered by local Democrats is on-the-ground support and phone banking. [Sun Gazette]
Tour de France Viewing for a Good Cause — Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) will host a viewing party for the critical Stage 15 of the Tour de France on Sunday. The cyclists’ mountainous climb will be projected on the big screen starting at 7:00 p.m. Tickets to the event is free, but attendees are encouraged to donate to Companions for Heroes, which provides companion dogs that were rescued from shelters to military veterans. [Rouleurville]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Aneesh Chopra and Ralph Northam will debate each other on Wednesday, June 5, at George Mason University’s Founders Hall (3351 Fairfax Drive). The debate is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m., during the monthly ACDC monthly meeting.
“The debate will give Arlingtonians a chance to learn about both candidates just six days before they go to the polls to cast their primary vote,” the organization said in a press release. “The event is free and open to the public.”
Chopra, an Arlington resident, was the country’s first Chief Technology Officer. Northam is a former Army doctor and a current state Senator. The winner of the June 11 primary will face the Republican candidate, minister and attorney E.W. Jackson, on Nov. 5.
(Updated at 9:15 p.m.) Incumbent School Board member James Lander has narrowly defeated challenger Barbara Kanninen in the Democratic endorsement caucus, which was held on May 9 and 11.
Lander won the Democratic endorsement by a caucus vote of 1,144 to 1,097. He will now run for reelection on Nov. 5. So far, no other candidates have announced for the race.
Via Facebook, Kanninen thanked her supporters.
“Congratulations to my opponent James Lander on winning a hard fought, positive election,” she wrote. “Thank you so much to all of my volunteers and supporters for your help, ideas and kind words of support. I hope you all stay active in our schools, community, and the political process.”
In a statement, Lander said he was “humbled” by the outcome of the caucus.
“This campaign has been a tremendous opportunity to re-connect with Arlington voters,” he said. “I appreciate Barbara Kanninen’s spirited and well run campaign, and I thank her for her work to engage the voters of Arlington on the important issues facing our schools. I am humbled to have another opportunity to be the Democratic endorsee for the School Board, and I hope to continue my service to the students and families of Arlington.”
Mike Lieberman, chairman of the Arlington County Democratic Committee, said the party will be “working hard” to fend off challengers to Lander, if there are any, in November.
“James Lander has been a strong voice for Arlington’s students in his four years on the board, and today’s vote is an affirmation of his record,” Lieberman said. “We are proud to again have James representing us as our Democratic endorsee in November, and we will be working hard to ensure he has four more years on the School Board. I also want to thank Barbara Kanninen for running a thoughtful and energetic campaign, and giving Arlington voters a choice of two superb leaders.”
Building new schools may not be the only answer to overcrowding in Arlington Public Schools, School Board hopeful Barbara Kanninen said last night at the Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting.
Flexible scheduling, night classes in high school, and a school year that extends through the summer might ease crowding in middle and high schools without the expense and loss of open space associated building new facilities.
“We know right now that we have lots of kids coming… we’re building elementary schools right now but in five years they’re going to be heading to middle school and high school,” Kanninen said. “We need to think about where we’re going to educate them given that we might not have the money to build and we might not have the green space to build.”
Kanninen’s stance on building was one point of contrast between her and incumbent School Board member James Lander, who she’s trying to unseat. Kanninen and Lander debated at the ACDC meeting in advance of next week’s Democratic School Board endorsement caucus.
On school capacity, Lander emphasized the School Board’s existing construction plan and his “county-wide vision” — an apparent contrast to Kanninen’s north Arlington campaign focus.
“We’re growing by almost an elementary school per year,” he said. “We have a strategy in place, we’re building new facilities and we’re adding additions to existing facilities. We’re looking at and evaluating both middle school boundaries. This is something that takes experience and a county-wide vision.”
During the debate Kanninen spoke of her priorities: expanding STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — programs, individualized education and adult mentorships, and using analytics and her PhD in economics to help make “smarter, more efficient choices with taxpayer money.”
On many of those key campaign points, Lander echoed his own stances. He said students need STEM skills so they can grow up not to be workers, but “employers and entrepreneurs.” He touted a mentorship program he created for minority students. And he also emphasized the importance of a learning environment that adapts to the strengths of individual students.
“My approach to student achievement and student success is responsive education… and that mean meeting the needs of all groups,” he said. By way of an anecdote, he joked about how his sister was a bookworm while we was more likely to fall asleep while trying to read school books.
Both Kanninen and Lander said they support arts education and the use of school buildings by members of the community. Both also said that standardized tests have become too pervasive in schools and are detracting from the overall education of students.
Answering a question about bullying, Lander said APS has a “zero tolerance” policy toward bullies. Kanninen said adult support of “students’ social and emotional health” is paramount, and that students should always have an adult mentor to approach with issues like bullying.
Arlington School Board member James Lander is facing a primary challenge this year.
Lander is being challenged in the upcoming Democratic Caucus by Barbara Kanninen, a Yorktown High School mom, children’s book author, environmental economist and Democratic National Convention delegate. The endorsement caucus is scheduled for May 9 and 11.
Lander is the only African American elected official in Arlington, where about 8 percent of the population is Black or African American. This has led some political observers to predict a racially-charged primary.
Kanninen plans to officially announce her candidacy at Wednesday’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting. Asked why she’s running, Kanninen released the following statement to ARLnow.com.
We have great schools in Arlington, from preschool all the way to high school. We prepare thinkers, entrepreneurs, and artists, and we prepare them well. But, the world is changing fast and we need to stay ahead of the curve. We need a School Board that is experienced, forward thinking, and, above all, passionate about educating kids.
Kevin and I have lived in Arlington for 20 years. We have been elementary school parents for 9 years, middle school parents for 6 years, and high school parents for 3.
I have spent years volunteering in classrooms, doing everything from one-on-one reading, to hands-on science, to gifted math. I’ve worked with kids of all ages and backgrounds and skill-levels.
I’m a math geek, a children’s book author, a Ph.D. economist with a business motto of “Good, Clean Data Crunching.”
I’ve worked on School Board committees. I’ve been on the ACI — the Advisory Council on Instruction. I’ve co-chaired the Early Childhood Advisory Committee, and I’ve served on the Math Advisory Committee.
I coached Odyssey of the Mind for seven years.
I am also, occasionally, a political activist.
All these experiences — but especially that of being a parent — have fed into and nurtured my core belief that all children are awesome human beings, they all deserve every opportunity to excel, and we owe it to them to pay attention, to push our own thinking in new and fresh ways, and to never, ever shrug our shoulders.
Here are three things I think we should focus on, going forward:
- Strengthening our STEM programs — science, technology, engineering, and math. More hands-on science programs in elementary school, Mentoring programs for middle and high school science fair projects. Better utilization of the crown jewel of STEM education here in Arlington: the Arlington Career Center. We need to make it more accessible to more kids, including making summer programs more affordable.
- The Arts. Young people are coming into a world where new ways to express yourself are cropping up every day — video, graphics, even music is changing. We not only have the opportunity to help kids take their talents to the cutting edge, but, if needed, we can help them use their talents and interests to buttress up their academics.
- Finally, at the end of the day, kids are kids, and kids needs personal support. I believe every child in Arlington should be able to walk into their school building every morning and know that there is at least one adult who knows them on a personal level, who believes in them — exactly as they are.
Photo via barbarakanninen.com
Dems Planning for the Next Campaign — “The campaign for 2013 begins tomorrow,” the chairman of the Arlington County Democratic Committee told local Democrats at the committee’s meeting Wednesday night. Next year there will be a gubernatorial election in Virginia and House of Delegates races in Arlington, among other races. Arlington Democrats ran the table on Tuesday, winning every race, with the exception of a state constitutional amendment question. [Sun Gazette]
Bergmann’s Discussion Deferred — The Arlington Planning Commission was forced to defer consideration of a proposed 10-story redevelopment of the Bergmann’s Dry Cleaning site after Hurricane Sandy delayed the mailing of notices to local residents. The Waverly Hills Civic Association, located about a mile from the development, has expressed opposition to it. [Arlington Mercury]
Tech Tutoring at Library — From iPads to social networks to computer software, the Aurora Hills Branch Library is offering 45-minute one-on-one tech tutoring sessions for residents. Appointments are now being taken for Monday, Dec. 3. [Arlington Public Library]
(Updated at 1:25 a.m.) Exuberant local Democrats are celebrating the reelection of President Barack Obama and yet another electoral sweep in Arlington. All local Democratic candidates and ballot questions have emerged victorious in the county.
“It’s a great night to be a Democrat!” reelected County Board member Libby Garvey told an enthusiastic, capacity crowd at the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse on Columbia Pike. Shortly thereafter, the room exploded with jubilation as CNN called the presidential race for Obama.
“Four more years! Four more years!” the crowd chanted and people hugged and jumped in the air.
Garvey, an incumbent, defeated Republican Matt Wavro and Green Party candidate Audrey Clement. With all but absentee ballots counted, Garvey has 58 percent of the vote, while Wavro has 28 percent and Clement has 12 percent.
Garvey will now serve a four-year term on the County Board. She first joined the Board following a special election in March. Garvey said her message of independence from the four other Democrats on the County Board — including opposition to the Columbia Pike streetcar – resonated with voters.
“We’re strongly Democratic… [but] I think people want an independent voice,” she said. “I think we can have an independent voice within the Democratic party. We don’t all have to agree all the time.”
Despite losing the race, Wavro said he was encouraged by the response he received while meeting Arlington voters. He said he hopes his campaign helps to encourage more earnest participation in and official consideration of the county’s civic processes.
“I think we’ll see more of an eye towards individuals expecting their public input to be public input and not just a part of a process toward a foregone conclusion,” Wavro said.
Despite a criminal investigation involving his son and former campaign field director, Democratic Rep. Jim Moran has defeated repeat Republican challenger Patrick Murray. Moran has 64 percent of the vote in Virginia’s eighth congressional district, to Murray’s 31 percent. This will be Moran’s 12th term in office.
“I just hope that with this 12th election for Jim, that he finally sees it as not a mandate to act and say anything with impunity, but to finally put people over partisanship and do something that is helpful for the country and helpful for the district and not just himself,” Murray told ARLnow.com.
Murray said he was happy with his campaign’s effort but disappointed with the outcome. He conceded that it was an uphill battle from the start.
“We’re in a difficult district that is gerrymandered specifically for Jim Moran. We worked so hard, almost from the end of the last election in 2010, but it is a tough, tough district,” Murray said. The retired Army colonel hinted that he might pursue job opportunities in the private sector instead of preparing for another rematch with Moran.
Independent Jason Howell is in third place in the congressional race, with 3 percent of the vote, while Independent Green hopeful Janet Murphy has 2 percent. Howell did better in Arlington, capturing nearly 5 percent of the vote.
Voters have said yes to all four Democrat-supported bond referenda. Three — the Metro, schools and community infrastructure bonds — are blowouts, with 73 to more 81 percent of voters saying yes. The results are a bit tighter — about 61 percent in favor to 39 percent against — for a parks bond that contains funding for a proposed $70+ million Long Bridge Park aquatics and fitness center. The center has drawn criticism for its high price tag.
Statewide and national races also came up roses for Arlington Democrats.
President Obama won 69 percent of the vote in Arlington to Mitt Romney’s 29 percent. The president is winning Virginia by 51 percent of the vote to 48 percent for Romney.
U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine (D) defeated Republican George Allen in Arlington by a margin of 68 percent to 31 percent. Statewide, Kaine won 52 percent of the vote to Allen’s 48 percent. The projection for Kaine’s victory was announced earlier to wild applause at the Democratic victory party at the Drafthouse, which spilled over to P. Brennan’s Irish Pub across the street due to capacity issues. Democratic officials estimated a crowd of nearly 650.
Mike Lieberman, chairman of the Arlington County Democratic Committee, told ARLnow.com that Arlington residents trust Democrats to lead the county through good times and through “new challenges” like an upcoming budget crunch and ongoing school capacity issues.
“I think what this says is that Arlington values and appreciates good government,” said Lieberman. “I think Arlington is everything you aspire a community to be: low unemployment, good schools, low crime, good management of the budget. People continue to elect Democrats who deliver that good government as a validation of the job that they’re doing.”
Congressman Moran, in a statement, said this election was a “vindication” for Democrats.
“Tonight was a vindication of the President’s efforts to get our country back on track after the worst recession in our nation’s history,” he said. “Tim Kaine will be our next Senator, a good, decent man who will serve the commonwealth with great distinction. Our nation faces major challenges that demand solutions. We owe it to the American people to come together and work towards reaching the kind of compromise necessary to get the country again moving forward.”
The closest electoral contest in Arlington is one of the two proposed amendments to the Virginia constitution. By a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent, Arlington residents voted in favor of amending the constitution to make it more difficult for local governments to seize private land through the use of eminent domain. The amendment is passing by a margin of 75 percent to 25 percent statewide.
Democrat-affiliated School Board candidates Noah Simon and incumbent Emma Violand-Sanchez, who ran unopposed for two board seats, have both been elected.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, a total of 117,474 votes were recorded in Arlington in the presidential race. That makes for an 84 percent turnout among the 139,740 active registered voters in the county. Local election officials say they did their best to keep up with the massive turnout at polling stations.
“A large number of Arlingtonians exercised their right to vote today,” said Charlene Bickford, chairman of the Arlington County Electoral Board. “There were some places where the turnout was big enough to cause long lines… In my experience, it was the largest crunch we’ve had in a while.”
Bickford said officials will likely be discussing ways to reduce lines during the next presidential election.
“We’re definitely going to have to look at the number of [voting] machines we have,” she said.