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Candidates rack up endorsements as County Board race enters home stretch

(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) They have participated in public fora, gone door-to-door, answered candidate questionnaires and submitted essays asking for your vote.

Now, the candidates for Arlington County Board are in the home stretch. On Tuesday, the polls officially open for the primary to determine which of the six will have the nomination of the local Democratic party — and whose bids come to an end. Early voting ends tomorrow (Saturday).

For this year’s County Board race, some of the top issues have been the fallout over the decision to allow 2-6 units in single-family home neighborhoods — also known as Missing Middle — as well as affordable housing, improved public transportation, sustainability and tackling the office vacancy rate.

One candidate, Maureen Coffey, has picked up the endorsement of Katie Cristol, the first County Board candidate to leave office this year. Coffey already has the support of Matt de Ferranti and Takis Karantonis, and a third-place vote from Vice-Chair Libby Garvey, meaning she enjoys at least partial support from most of the current Board.

Based on candidate websites and campaign finance records, it appears outgoing Board Chair Christian Dorsey has stayed out of endorsing or donating during this race.

Behind Coffey comes Julius “JD” Spain, Sr., who has the support of de Ferranti and Karantonis.

Spain also has the distinction of being one of the top three fundraisers this race, along with Susan Cunningham and Natalie Roy, who Garvey ranked first and second, respectively, on her ballot.

As for campaign fundraising, Cunningham emerged in the lead during the most recent filing period, besting Roy. Since April 1, Cunningham — who ran in 2020 as an independent — raised $41,810 and loaned herself $10,000.

“I am grateful for the broad support across Arlington — donations, volunteers, and early votes for Susan #1,” Cunningham said in a press release. “Voters I talk with every day are enthusiastic about my background and experience and what I can bring to the Arlington County Board.”

She picked up contributions from some 166 donors, per her campaign. She also was endorsed by four D.C. and Virginia organizations, including Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington and Virginia Chapter National Organization of Women.

Roy received contributions from some 120 new donors, according to her campaign.

“It has been incredibly exciting to see the culmination of months of campaigning as voters head to the polls and to hear from supporters as they return absentee ballots,” Roy said in a press release. “Just as I promise to listen to all Arlingtonians as a County Board member, I promise to keep working until the polls close at 7 p.m. next Tuesday.”

This round, a handful of unions led fundraising for Coffey and Spain, donating $9,500 to each. Coffey also received $2,500 from Cristol, whose last meeting as a Board member was on Tuesday. Candidates Jonathan Dromgoole and Tony Weaver trailed in fundraising this round, earning $3,142 and $2,555, respectively.

Campaign fundraising for Arlington County Board (by ARLnow)

A few more endorsements have come in, too. Coffey has the support of Lowell Feld, founder and editor of Blue Virginia.

“Coffey both has her priorities straight and has a positive VISION for Arlington’s future,” the outlet said, adding that she fits its criteria: smart, with growth potential, who share “our progressive, environmentalist values.”

Meanwhile, Spain picked up the endorsement of a resident who was one of the four Black students to desegregate Arlington Public Schools in 1959.

“I understand how much representation and trusted leadership matter. JD has worked faithfully and consistently throughout Arlington as a community advocate and champion of civil rights,” Michael Jones said in a statement. “He cares deeply about fairness, dignity, and compassion. This type of quality leadership, coupled with his over 30 years of varied senior-level experience, is what we need now more than ever on the Arlington County Board.”

Representation is one of Dromgoole’s rallying cries, as a gay Hispanic renter. He maintains endorsements from some Latino lawmakers in the Northern Virginia region and recently gave an interview with Metro Weekly, a D.C. publication focused on LGBTQ news.

“I think that’s why it’s tremendously important to have a member of the county board who is LGBTQ,” he told the outlet. “I have these life experiences. I’m here to advocate for you now, to make sure you have the same access as anybody else in our county to go to school, to apply for a job, to buy a house, without facing discrimination.”

Meanwhile, longtime local Democratic activist Mary Detweiler took to Blue Virginia earlier this month to praise Weaver as a “quieter candidate” who “is strong on listening and compromise,” something she says is needed with Missing Middle zoning changes “splitting our community.”

Photo 1 via Maureen Coffey/Twitter and 2, 3 and 4 via Facebook 

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