(Updated at 10:20 p.m.) There were no surprises in Tuesday’s general election in Arlington, as Parisa Dehghani-Tafti was elected Arlington’s new prosecutor and all Democratic incumbents won new terms.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney race saw an elevated level of write-in votes — 10% of the overall vote — but the result was never in doubt as Tafti received 90% of the vote. She will take office as the top prosecutor for Arlington and Falls Church starting in January.
Tafti ran a progressive campaign centered on criminal justice reform during a contentious and expensive primary. She ran unopposed in the general election after beating incumbent prosecutor Theo Stamos in a surprising upset in the primary, with 52% of the vote to Stamos’ 48%.
“It was really surreal,” Tafti told ARLnow of her win, after the final precinct results came in.
The incoming prosecutor added that she was “lucky” she had time between the June primary and the November election to start work on her transition. Tafti she’s looking forward to rolling out reforms come January — which one expert has said is the most aggressive policy transition for the office in living memory.
“I’m really excited to get a restorative justice program started,” she told ARLnow.
Elsewhere on the ballot, Arlington County Board incumbents Katie Cristol (D) and Christian Dorsey (D) defeated independent candidates Audrey Clement and Arron O’Dell with 40% and 38% of the vote, respectively. Clement’s 13% and O’Dell’s 7% compares to the 10% Clement and 19% Republican Mike McMenamin received in 2015, when Cristol and Dorsey were first elected.
In contested General Assembly races in Arlington, state Sen. Janet Howell, who ran unopposed in the primary, won out over Republican candidate Arthur Purves, 73% to 27%. Del. Alfonso Lopez defeated independent challenger Terry Modglin, 83% to 16%.
Other Democratic candidates won bids for re-election tonight after running uncontested races:
- Del. Patrick Hope
- Del. Mark Levine
- Del. Rip Sullivan
- State Sen. Barbara Favola
- Sheriff Beth Arthur
- Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy
- Treasurer Carla de la Pava
- School Board member Reid Goldstein
Acknowledging that most of its candidates were not facing strong challengers, the Arlington Democratic party has instead focused on supporting other Virginia progressives they hoped could flip the GOP-controlled state House and Senate. As of 10 p.m., the Associated Press projected that Democrats would, in fact, win control of both.
Virginia Democrats win majorities in both the state House and Senate, giving them control of the legislature and the governorship for the first time in 26 years. Follow our full U.S. election coverage. https://t.co/z2PXWC7DHk
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) November 6, 2019
“It’s a close call, but it’s looking very good that that we take the Senate, but also take the Virginia House of Delegates,” Lopez said around 8:45 p.m., before the projections, to cheers across the crowded Arlington Democrats election watch party at Celtic House on Columbia Pike.
Afterward, the room erupted in chants of “ERA! ERA! ERA!” — a reference to the Equal Rights Amendment progressives have promised to sign if they take Richmond.
Much of Tuesday night’s victory party was spent cheering wins elsewhere. The room gave a standing ovation around 9 p.m. when it became clear GOP Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin lost to Democratic challenger Andy Beshear.
“That’s outstanding, that’s democracy at work right there,” said Dorsey. “That’s beautiful.”
Tafti, meanwhile, thanked the crowd for their support.
“I know your vote is precious. I know your time is precious,” Tafti said. “Every single person in this room put their faith in me — put their time in me. I will spend the next four years earning that every single day.”
Arlington’s election office reported a total turnout of about 37% — unusually high for an off-off-year election with no hotly contested races locally and no statewide nor federal races. Turnout in the similar 2015 election was 27%.
All precincts in Arlington have reported. Unofficial Turnout: 56,250 voters for 36.9% of active voters.
— Arlington Elections (@ArlingtonVotes) November 6, 2019
Tuesday morning, Del. Rip Sullivan told ARLnow that he was “really impressed with what I see so far” in terms of turnout.
“There’s been a lot of good energy,” he said. Previously, Sullivan wrote in an opinion column that Democratic turnout in the Arlington races was important because “we simply must finish this year’s races strong and send a clear signal about our priorities before we turn to next year’s challenges and opportunities.”
Airey and Kalina Newman contributed to this report.
This past week saw 24 homes sold in Arlington. The least expensive condo, single-family home or townhouse sale over the past seven days was $264,000 while the most expensive was…
There has been a mini-spate of deaths and reported suicide attempts among Arlington Public Schools students in the last month, ARLnow has learned. A middle schooler died after Christmas and…
Arlington County is applying for regional funding to run buses every six minutes between Fairfax County and Amazon’s second headquarters in Pentagon City during peak hours. The Arlington County Board…
Next month, Arlington County will hold a community event to kick off a three-year parking pilot program that prices parking by demand in a few highly trafficked corridors. This is…
St. Charles offers a play-based curriculum in a welcoming, Christ-centered environment.Our program focuses on socio-emotional development and kindergarten readiness through hands-on and engaging activities. Our programs offer different schedules ranging from 7:30 am-5:30 pm for students, ages 2-5. We feature a full-day Jr. kindergarten class for older 4’s/5’s. Our facility includes a full-sized gymnasium, school chapel, and library. All of our students enjoy music and physical education weekly. Children have an opportunity to participate in enrichment classes such as soccer, basketball, ballet, and science. We offer Summer Camp with weekly themes and twice a week water play, including Fun Friday moon bounce. Please join us for our Open House Feb. 3 at 9:30 am and 11:00 am. Click here to sign-up. For more information or to schedule a tour, visit us at www.stcharlesarlington.org or call (703) 527-0608.
If you are a lifelong learner over 50+ who wants to make new friends, power up your brain, and enjoy a wide-variety college-level courses, Encore Learning is for you. An Arlington based nonprofit, Encore Learning offers courses in the arts, theater, literature, history, technology and more. This semester we offer our most popular course, Global Hot Spots as well as 25 new courses. Courses are presented either online or in-person at George Mason University at Virginia Square and other Arlington locations.
Join the free presentation to learn about courses and meet the instructors. This is Encore Learning’s signature event to highlight the upcoming semester with brief presentations by each instructor.
The Spring Course Preview event is Thursday, February 2nd at 9:30 AM via Zoom:
Casey James Salengo is a NYC based comedian who’s been featured on Comedy Central Presents, Jimmy Kimmel Live, This Week at the Cellar, and HBO’s Pause with Sam Jay. He performs at clubs, bars, road houses, carnival tents, erotic book