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Republicans, Greens Buoyant Despite Losses

by Katie Pyzyk November 9, 2011 at 2:05 am 2,948 37 Comments

Although Democrats swept the races in Arlington County, that didn’t dampen the spirits of those who cast votes for Republicans and Green Party candidates.

A few dozen die-hard Republicans turned out at Hard Times Cafe in Clarendon for an Arlington County Republican Committee victory party that, in the end, had few victories to celebrate. State Senate candidate Patrick Forrest briefly mingled with the crowd early in the night. He was full of optimism, even as returns showed him steadily behind incumbent Democrat Janet Howell.

“It has been a hard, uphill slog,” Forrest said. “But keep your fingers crossed.”

Forrest said this election made him realize how important it is to employ a good campaign staff. He touted their tireless efforts, particularly in an area where getting people to vote Republican can be challenging.

“I now understand that the candidate is really just a small part of the campaign,” he said.

ACRC Communications Director Jeff Miller said Forrest was great for a first time candidate. Miller believes Forrest and the other Republicans would have received higher numbers if more voters had gone to the polls.

“Turnout figures today are a reminder of how many voters in Arlington don’t pay close attention to state and local politics,” Miller said. “No matter how hard you try, there are just some people you can’t lure in.”

Miller said that Forrest had some great ideas for improving transportation in Northern Virginia, but it didn’t seem to resonate with voters.

Early optimism over the candidacy of Caren Merrick ended with a disappointing defeat. The McLean businesswoman came up short in her state Senate bid, falling to Democratic Arlington County Board member Barbara Favola.

Merrick’s campaign lacked the excitement that some expected, but the mother of two told the Sun Gazette that she fought the good fight.

“I really wanted to run the kind of campaign my children would be proud of,” Merrick said, according to the paper.

Green Party County Board candidate Audrey Clement came in third behind incumbent Democrats Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada. It took her a while to learn of the final numbers, having been more focused on meeting with supporters at Northside Social in Clarendon. Clement said although she’s obviously disappointed with the results, she’s not surprised. She attributes the outcome to voter apathy. Clement believes the average voter is frustrated with the system and blocks out everything related to politics or elections.

“We’re just not going to see success until people stop ignoring the elections and start voting,” Clement said. “Voters are turned off to both Republicans and Democrats, so they punish anyone who might be an alternative.”

Although disappointed, Clement is not discouraged.

“I think eventually people are going to realize the importance of the ballot box,” she said.

The main issue Clement hoped voters would support her on was opposition to the Columbia Pike streetcar. The $140 million project demonstrates a problem with the County Board and its willingness to throw money, Clement said, at high-priced projects Arlington doesn’t need. She believes such projects will lead to tax hikes.

“If I had been elected, the county budget would have been scrutinized more carefully so no tax hikes are involved,” Clement said. “Money for wasteful projects would have been redirected to schools.”

On the upside, Clement said she had wonderful weather to make a last push at meeting voters on election day.

“I like dealing with average voters better than those on the fringe. The truth always lies more in the center,” Clement said. “But I can’t seem to get the average voter to see that I’ve got a platform that will appeal to him or her.”

Clement said she will definitely run again, in the upcoming County Board special election, if she gets the endorsement of her local party.

  • Jack P

    Wait. Why would Republicans choose Hard Times Cafe? As long as HTC supports Republicans, I’ll just find a different restaurant.

    • OX4

      I’m thinking the same thing. I’ve always loved Hard Times, but now that the ACRC has met there, the thought of going in and having a bowl of chili makes me a little sick to my stomach.

      • Matt Wavro

        It always surprises me to see comments like the ones from Jack P and OX4 above. Apparently fostering an inclusive community doesn’t apply to Arlington Democrats.

        • AllenB

          Not everyone is that way. I have no problem with a local business hosting events like that. I’m sure it wasn’t a giveaway to them. Business is business.

          • OX4

            Business is not business and money does not trump all. Refer to “Andy Shallal, Montgomery County, Lockheed Martin” for a perfect example.

          • AllenB

            Sorry, I hate to argue this with another democrat, but I think your opinion is way too severe. Just because HTC let a republican group throw a party at their restaurant doesn’t mean I should pull my business from them. If it was a known hate group, like KKK or Focus on The Family, maybe. But where does the polarization stop? Do you have no friends who are republicans? If a restaurant serves dinner to a political foe, do you stop going there?

            I never said money and business trumps all. Re-read.

          • curiousgeorge

            Or known hate groups like PETA and NAACP.

          • AllenB

            @CuriousGeorge – total fail equating PETA and NAACP to hate groups. But thanks for the laugh this morning.

        • KalashniKEV

          I’m pretty sure they were just kidding. I’m still going to Lib Tav after 0 tainted it with his presence… even though I made similar comments to that story.

          • novasteve

            How can you patronize that place? The owner is a zealot who imposed his crap on the rest of the state.

          • drax

            Well, I’m not going to Lib Tav now that you’ve tainted it.

          • KalashniKEV

            Well that’s good, because now I don’t have to feel bad about going there since I offset my patronage by creating a boycotter! WINNING.

          • drax

            I doubt your beer consumption can replace mine.

          • KalashniKEV

            It only takes one Dragon’s Milk to offest several of your Bud Lights.

          • KalashniKEV

            *offset

      • CW

        I am not a Republican but I don’t see why any small business, especially a restaurant, would turn down customers. That would just be silly. They would get more bad press from saying no to hosting the Republican event.

    • Swag

      I agree. While walking past Hard Times this morning I sensed something was different. As I looked closer, I noticed a faint red aura surrounding the building and I knew that to approach was to invite certain doom.

      • drax

        That was novasteve’s smoke coming from the upstairs sports bar area.

    • Alert! Extremist!

    • DarkHeart

      Better to boycott places that claim to be a Sports Bar but have stupid rules banning baseball caps.

    • JamesE

      hahahaha come on !!

    • Really, you would not eat at a place where members of another party go? Are you still in high school?

  • CW2

    It unfortunately doesn’t surprise me. An alarming number of posts on this blog are incredibly slanted and disheartening.

  • SuiteDee

    Hard Times is not a Republican hangout, it’s a restaurant… with tasty wings and cute waitresses!!

    • Is that you, Herman?

      Mr. Cain?

  • Carl

    This article is crossposted on wtop.com. Is that something new?

    • novasteve

      Yeah, I noticed that from wtop’s website this AM. I clicked the link at wtop and it took me here.

    • Yes, we have a new content-sharing partnership with WTOP.

  • I’d like to find a restaurant where I could get away from extreme Democrats and extreme Republicans. That would be wonderful.

    • JamesE

      Arbys

  • Thes

    It does not look like there are very many women in the ACRC.

  • Smoke_Jaguar4

    After carefully considering voting for Merrick, I reluctantly voted for Faviola. It wasn’t a question of politics, but of competence.

    How her campaign mishandled releasing her NRA statement made me question the strength of her team. If the boss says she’s going to do something, then someone on the staff needs to make sure it gets done. If they bungled something this simple, then how can I trust her with bigger issues, like the state budget? Combined with her stonewalling on social issues, this defined a candidate who avoids difficult issues rather than tackles them directly.

  • South Arlington

    Contrary to Ms. Clement’s assertations, maybe, just maybe, the majority of Arlington voters support the streetcar. Or maybe the voters are turned off by ranting diatribes on the fringey Arlington Yuppette supporting her. I love when candidates blame the voters for their loss instead of looking inward at their own platform.

    • Grow Up

      On Clement … I am a Green Party supporter but I could not vote for her. Talked with her in person and asked about views on growth, transportation, county employees pension plan etc. all she could talk about was recycling.. I asked don’t you have positions on key issues. “I’ll need to think about them more.” Lost my vote…

      • Zoning Victim

        Haha, that’s sooooo bad. I can’t believe anyone in her position would say that.

    • drax

      Yeah, lame excuse, Audrey. If you lost due to voter apathy, it means your supporters are more apathetic than those of the winners, because they did vote. A loser is a loser no matter how you spin it.

      • Zoning Victim

        Yeah, I find her comments and the comments of Jeff Miller offensive to Arlington County voters. Does he really think that the candidates did poorly because of a lack of voter turnout? I think he has that backwards. Arlington County voters always pay attention, and we all knew that this crop of non-incumbent candidates didn’t excite the people enough for them to go to the polls.

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