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As early voting kicks off, Democratic hopefuls are picking up a variety of endorsements

With early and caucus voting underway, some candidates for local office are getting boosts from prominent Arlington Democrats.

Arlington is a Democratic stronghold for state and national politics. On the local level, that ethos has fueled intense focus on who will get the official support of the local party — even for non-partisan positions on the Arlington School Board.

Among sitting County Board members, there is strong support for Acting Sheriff Jose Quiroz, who has received endorsements from outgoing Chair Christian Dorsey, Vice-Chair Libby Garvey and member Matt de Ferranti. Quiroz also has support from State Sen. Barbara Favola and Dels. Alfonso Lopez and Patrick Hope, as well as his predecessor, former sheriff Beth Arthur.

His opponents, retired Deputy Sheriff Wanda Younger and Arlington police officer James Herring, have not published endorsements on their websites.

No other candidate websites list endorsements from Dorsey or outgoing member Katie Cristol, both of whom are stepping down this year. Of the remaining County Board members, they diverged on their support for a Commonwealth’s Attorney. De Ferranti and Karantonis support incumbent Parisa Dehghani-Tafti while Garvey supports challenger Josh Katcher, who worked for Dehghani-Tafti and her predecessor, Theo Stamos.

Dehghani-Tafti’s website lists a slew of endorsements from elected Democrats, including Reps. Don Beyer and Jennifer McClellan, State Sen. Barbara Favola, Dels. Hope and Lopez as well as endorsements from the Washington Post and the Falls Church News-Press. Campaign financing records show she has received donations from political groups that support progressive prosecutors.

Katcher’s supporters including former Arlington School Board member Barbara Kanninen, education activist Symone Walker and the local firefighters union. Campaign materials shared with ARLnow show that Stamos has promoted meet-and-greet opportunities with Katcher, one of which former independent County Board member John Vihstadt hosted.

Campaign financing records show some of Katcher’s biggest recent contributors of $1,000 or more include himself, former School Board member Abby Raphael, retired Deputy Chief of Police Daniel Murray, a former candidate for Stafford County’s treasurer, and longtime local GOP civic figure John Antonelli, who previously donated to Vihstadt and Stamos.

For County Board, stances on housing and development seem to have informed which sitting Board members support them.

De Ferranti endorsed two candidates to join him on the Board: Julius “J.D.” Spain, Sr. and Maureen Coffey, who also picked up an endorsement from Takis Karantonis and $5,000 contributions from a labor union. The stances of the two candidates on housing and the environment have also earned them the support of YIMBYs of Northern Virginia, Greater Greater Washington and the Sierra Club.

Vice-Chair Libby Garvey has diverged from her colleagues, endorsing Natalie Roy and Susan Cunningham, who previously ran for County Board as an independent.

Cunningham, who has led affordable housing and social safety net nonprofits, and Roy, who also considers environmental action a top priority, staked out positions opposed to the zoning changes known as Missing Middle for being short-sighted. Garvey helped usher in the new ordinance, allowing by-right development of 2-6 unit buildings on single-family lots, but later elaborated on her misgivings.

Supporters for Roy and Cunningham include some previously elected Democrats as well as community and civic association leaders and, for Cunningham, advocates for affordable housing and more robust social safety net initiatives. Roy picked up the support of former School Board members Nancy Van Doren and James Lander.

Roy’s largest contributor donated $7,000 in this race, including $4,000 to her, $1,000 to Cunningham and $2,000 to Katcher. Cunningham’s largest supporter donated $2,000 to her this race and in her 2020 bid as an independent.

With the primary using ranked-choice voting for the first time, voters will be able to rank their top three candidates.

Garvey recommended voting for Roy and Cunningham first or second, and Coffey third. YIMBYs of NoVA and Greater Greater Washington recommended voting for Spain and Coffey, followed by Jonathan Dromgoole.

Today (Wednesday), Arlington School Board candidate Miranda Turner picked up an endorsement from a group called Organized Latino Advocates.

It says the recent death of Sergio Flores, who overdosed at Wakefield High School, reveals how Arlington Public Schools drug policy lacks transparency and accountability, which Turner would bring.

Drugs and personal safety overshadow the lives of students in Arlington. The schools and county are not addressing this deadly problem with equal treatment for all students, clear instructions on how all adults are to respond and report drugs in schools, transparent policy on how students who distribute drugs, harm or kill will be treated, and how drug rehabilitation treatment will be made available … Miranda understands that in addition to the school’s basic mission of providing a high-quality education for all students, transparency must replace the vagueness that school board members currently use. OLA believes that Miranda will be inclusive of all parents and students and encourages Arlington to make the time to vote for Miranda Turner for school board.

Today is the second day of voting in the School Board caucus process that determines whether Turner or Angelo Cocchiaro will have the official endorsement of the Arlington County Democratic Committee. Today’s caucus voting is taking place at Campbell Elementary School (737 S. Carlin Springs Road) from 7-9 p.m.

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