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Democrats Talk Unity After Bruising Primary

by ARLnow.com August 25, 2011 at 3:29 pm 2,352 11 Comments

Local Democrats are putting the unprecedented mud-slinging leading up to Tuesday’s primary behind them as they press forward to November’s general election with a slate of four candidates and two Republican challengers.

“For months, our Democratic candidates have waged energetic and spirited primary campaigns, and we look forward to all campaigns being able to turn this energy into supporting our united Democratic ticket in November,” said Arlington County Democratic Committee Chair Mike Lieberman, following a 31st District state Senate race that the Washington Post called “one of the most heated, unpleasant races in recent memory.”

Candidates Barbara Favola and Jaime Areizaga-Soto, who were trading accusations of making racist statements and destroying the environment less than two weeks ago, are now making nice via prepared statements.

“We ran an energetic, grassroots, progressive campaign throughout the 31st District in Northern Virginia and I am very proud of the work we did,” Areizaga-Soto said in a statement. “I call on all my supporters throughout Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun to work for a Barbara Favola victory in November.

“This campaign… demonstrated that Mr. Areizaga-Soto and I share the same strong commitment to Democratic values,” Favola said in a statement. “I applaud Mr. Areizaga-Soto’s service to the Democratic Party and to the Country. His talents will be a significant asset in the upcoming battle to retain the 31st Senate seat”

In an interview, Favola said she hopes the race between herself and Republican Caren Merrick will stay focused on the issues.

“I’m hopeful that the general will be a civil conversation on issues like education, transportation, the environment and creating jobs,” she said. “I think voters really don’t like the negative campaigning. They really want to be given a reason to vote for you.”

Favola says she’s ready to face the well-funded Merrick, adding that Democratic unity will help her prevail.

“We’re geared up to move into the general,” she said. “We have a great message, we’re positive, we’re talking about issues people care about… I absolutely think Democrats are going to be able to unite. We know that the stakes are high. It’s not just winning the 31st, it’s keeping control of the state Senate. I have every indication they’ll rally around.”

In the Sun Gazette today, Merrick called the mud-slinging between Favola and Areizaga-Soto an example of “what’s wrong with politics today.” Should the general election turn negative, however, Favola says she isn’t sure how her issue-focused campaign will react.

“I guess one thing about politics is that it’s always unpredictable,” she said. “I’m not going to presuppose how we’re going to respond.”

  • In the absence of any serious Repellican opposition in Arlington, the Ruling Caste must necessarily kick its own butt.

  • Novanglus

    Partisan politics astound me.

    If Soto really believed the ads he ran, does he really think we’re best served in Richmond by someone he thinks is a racist bribe-taker?

    Were the ads all lies, or is this endorsement just about serving his future political aspirations?

  • Aaron

    Babs and Jaime just spent a half million dollars to fight over 10,000 votes, and somehow Scott keeps referring to Caren Merrick’s campaign as “well-funded.” I don’t think we’ve seen an article on this yet, so is it possible he’s just in need of a thesaurus or something?

  • MC

    The PARTY is more important than individuals and the positions they claim to represent, obviously. Yet more evidence that machine politics rules Arlington.

    • BrownFlipFlops


  • smoke_jaguar4

    As a District 31 voter, I’ve reviewed Ms Merrick’s website and so far like what I see. Notably absent were the extremist Republican positions on social and science issues; she’s focused on economic and local issues like transportation. Time will tell if she’s a true moderate or simply a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    Ms Favola will need to work hard to regain my trust and my vote. If she chooses to run another heavily negative campaign then she will lock in a loss, just like Mr Areizaga did in this round.

  • Bluemontsince1961

    I gave up on the Democrats and the Republicans some time ago and became Independent. But right now, there is no way I’ll vote for Favola.

  • Garden City

    As much as I dislike Barbara Favola, there is no way I’m voting for anyone endorsed by Ken Cuccinelli. Even if you can support Ms. Merrick’s positions, putting her into office gives more power to the state GOP leadership – as big a bunch of
    reactionaries as I’ve ever seen.

  • BrownFlipFlops

    HEY – Arlington Democrats – Organize a work party NOW, and get your campaign signs up. You’ll find plenty on George Mason, Patrick Henry, Ohio, Yorktown, Williamsburg, and Walter Reed.

    If you don’t get them up today, they’ll be projectiles, with their own sail and two spikes, tomorrow and Sunday.

    Get with it.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      You said it, BrownFlipFlops. The last thing anyone needs is a Favola or Samos sign becoming a missile through a car or house window.

  • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

    If there was a way to vote “no confidence” I would instead of voting for one of the proposed candidates. The run a campaign to capture power for themselves and their party, not to do good for the people of this county or region.


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