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Cristol, Dorsey Capture County Board Primary

(Updated at 11:20 p.m.) Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey have captured the Democratic nomination for Arlington County Board.

Cristol and Dorsey finished first and second, respectively, over fellow Democratic hopefuls Peter Fallon, Andrew Schneider, James Lander and Bruce Wiljanen.

Thanks to a spirited campaign and strong debate performances, Cristol, age 30, managed to propel herself from relative obscurity to a first place finish and a coveted spot on the Democratic ticket during a competitive primary. Her campaign highlighted issues like affordable housing, citizen engagement and diversity, government innovation, transit and economic development.

Dorsey, who lost to former in the 2002 County Board primary, was seen by many Democrats as a more moderate choice among a liberal field of candidates who often touted their progressive bonafides. During the campaign he spoke in favor of responsive government, affordable housing, adding school capacity and helping small businesses.

Both Cristol and Dorsey are South Arlington residents, while runners up Fallon and Schneider are North Arlington residents with a considerable base of supporters in their neighborhoods. Currently, the only South Arlington resident on the County Board is Libby Garvey.

“This started with the people in this room and ended with the people of Arlington,” Cristol told supporters at her election watch party at William Jeffrey’s Tavern on Columbia Pike. “I cannot wait to work with the people in this room to move my home of Columbia Pike forward. I cannot wait to work with all of you to run one heck of a general election campaign.”

Dorsey, whose campaign gathered at Busboys and Poets in Shirlington earlier in the night, joined Cristol at the bar after the final results came in.

“I feel great,” he said. “It’s always nice when something that you believe in so strongly and you find out that the people in your community are committed to you as well. It’s a tremendous feeling.”

Dorsey said he wants to “knock on five times as many doors” for the general election. If elected in November, he promised to work to provide more affordable housing and to bring down Arlington’s high office vacancy rate.

“We absolutely have to get our commercial sector energized again,” he said.

With all precincts reporting, final unofficial results are:

  • Katie Cristol: 4,498
  • Christian Dorsey: 4,420
  • Peter Fallon: 4,008
  • Andrew Schneider: 3,556
  • James Lander: 2,806
  • Bruce Wiljanen: 687

Election officials say there were no problems at Arlington’s 52 polling stations during voting hours. Light turnout was reported — but the total turnout of 10,857 voters, or 7.9 percent of the registered voters, bested the 7.2 percent turnout of a similar County Board primary in 1995.

This was the first election in which Arlington utilized its new paper ballot and optical scanning system. Some delays in vote reporting occurred as election officials worked through new processes.

Cristol and Dorsey will face two independent candidates in the November general election, for the seats being vacated by the retiring Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada.

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