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Arlington School Board candidate Angelo Cocchiaro quells ‘rumor’ he is dropping out of race

Angelo Cocchiaro (courtesy photo)

Arlington School Board candidate Angelo Cocchiaro is not dropping out of the race, despite a statement to that effect that briefly appeared on his website Friday.

In it, Cocchiaro implied that he was experiencing challenges raising money and could not afford an effective campaign. He pledged to continue advocating for students using the network of advisory boards within Arlington Public Schools.

Sources within the local Democratic party say he might have been talked out of the decision to drop out, as one of only two candidates in the race — but only after the statement appeared on his website.

In a statement this morning to ARLnow, Cocchiaro called the idea that he was dropping out a “rumor” and added that his campaign is just heating up.

I look forward to participating in the Civic Federation candidate forum this Tuesday, announcing my candidacy to the assembled Arlington Democrats this Wednesday evening, and participating in their candidate forum on Saturday.

This should be considered a comprehensive response to the rumor of a withdrawal on my part. I did not get into this race to play gossip or rumor-monger. I got in this race to do what I’ve always done, and what I do best: advocate on behalf of youth. I am focused on bringing Arlingtonians together — and never, ever, being a divider — and delivering the change that’s overdue.

This should be considered a final comment on the matter. Neither I, nor my campaign, will be making any further statement on the matter in writing or at any public events.

A local parent preserved the initial statement, since removed, in a series of screenshots on Twitter.

“When I got into this race, I had no interest whatsoever in walking away with a moral victory,” his statement read. “My intent from Day One was to win outright. The reality is that it is a common pitfall of young candidates to experience fundraising challenges.”

The statement noted this can be an “insurmountable hurdle” for a “historically young candidate” like himself.

“After a frank assessment, it has become apparent to me that I cannot run the kind of [the] race I want to run, need to run, and that Arlington deserves without a dramatic change on this front. As such, the path to victory I once saw now appears foreclosed,” the statement continued.

While he would not be a candidate “in the near future,” Cocchiaro said in the statement that he would participate in advisory boards to promote generational change within Arlington Public Schools on his top priorities, including addressing hunger, adding a student voice on the School Board and ensuring equal treatment for LGBT students.

“I’ll be back,” he said in conclusion, quoting Arnold Schwarzenegger in “The Terminator.”

Cocchiaro will be going up against second-time candidate Miranda Turner to gain the endorsement of the Arlington County Democratic Committee (ACDC).

The local Democratic party does not officially nominate a School Board candidate, but its members can choose who runs in the November general election with the party’s endorsement. The endorsement process includes an expectation that unsuccessful candidates do not then try to run in the general election.

The voting for the endorsement will be held at three different locations on the following dates.

  • May 7, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Drew Elementary School
  • May 10, from 7-9 p.m. at Campbell Elementary School
  • May 13, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Washington-Liberty High School

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