Arlington, VA

Chris Zimmerman will face a general election challenge from the GOP, after all.

South Arlington resident Mark Kelly has accepted the Arlington County Republican Committee’s nomination to run against the incumbent Democrat in the fall.

Kelly, a lawyer who works as an outreach manager at the conservative Heritage Foundation, faces daunting electoral odds. No Republican has won a seat on the board in a general election since 1983 (Republican Mike Lane won a special election in 1999 and served on the board for about six months).

But none of that is stopping Kelly, who wrote on his campaign’s newly-minted Facebook page: “Tonight the Arlington County Republican Committee unanimously nominated me to be their candidate for Arlington County Board. I am proud to accept their nomination.”

Republican civic activist Jim Pebley says Kelly’s announcement was a surprise to many in the audience at the committee meeting.

“Mark just finished up his two year term as chairman of the ACRC and is very well regarded in the committee,” Pebley said. “This was an unexpected development as I didn’t think we’d have a candidate come forward, much less such a well seasoned one.”

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