(Updated at 9:25 p.m.) Commonwealth’s Attorney incumbent Parisa Dehghani-Tafti has defeated challenger Josh Katcher in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.
Dehghani-Tafti has 56% of the vote to 44% for Katcher, her former deputy, in the heated race for the top prosecutor of Arlington and Falls Church. That’s as of 8:40 p.m., with all but a few hundred provisional and late-arriving mailed ballots counted in Arlington. Polls closed at 7 p.m.
Katcher, standing outside of his watch party at Lost Dog Cafe in Westover, called Dehghani-Tafti shortly before 8:50 p.m. to concede the race.
The contentious — and expensive — contest has been seen as something of a referendum on the incumbent’s brand of vocal justice reform advocacy. Katcher, while billing himself as also in favor of justice reform, put a spotlight on Dehghani-Tafti’s leadership, which he linked to departures of deputy prosecutors amid a reported rise in crime.
“Right now we’re going to celebrate what we were able to accomplish with this campaign and thank the volunteers,” Katcher told ARLnow before heading back into his event.
“Over the course of the last six months, we’ve had an important debate in our community over the future of criminal justice reform,” he said in a subsequent written statement. “Our team left it all on the field, as we sought to have a debate about what real reform and real justice could mean for our community… I stand ready to continue my commitment to this community, to its safety and to the goal of ensuring that we are balancing the need for both justice and compassion.”
Dehghani-Tafti also thanked her supporters. Gesturing to the crowd gathered at her event at Fire Works Pizza in Courthouse (held with County Board candidate JD Spain) she said those present reflect a tiny fraction of the people who donated, volunteered, “held my hand,” and knocked on doors.
“A campaign based on love, dignity and respect prevailed,” she said. “I’m grateful for the trust everybody has placed in me.”
In the other two closely watched local races, for County Board and Sheriff, leads were slim.
The three-way county sheriff race has Jose Quiroz with a widening lead compared to earlier in the night, with 40% to 34% for former deputy sheriff Wanda Younger and 27% for Arlington police corporal James Herring.
Quiroz was appointed Acting Sheriff after the departure of long-time Sheriff Beth Arthur earlier this year. The position is primarily responsible for running the county jail in Courthouse, with the Sheriff’s Office also handling court security, civil process serving, and some law and traffic enforcement responsibilities.
The Arlington County Board primary, meanwhile, is being conducted for the first time using ranked choice voting, which means final tabulation will not take place until Friday at the earliest. Results of “first choice” votes are being posted, however, showing Susan Cunningham with 25%, Natalie Roy with 24%, Maureen Coffey with 22%, and JD Spain with 20%.
The other candidates in the six-way race are Tony Weaver and Jonathan Dromgoole, each with a single-digit percentage total.
Among other local issues, the recently-passed Missing Middle housing zoning change took center stage in the County Board race, with Roy and Cunningham expressing opposition and Spain and Coffey expressing support. The ordinance will allow smaller-scale multifamily homes in neighborhoods previously zoned only for single-family detached houses.
The two other races on the ballot today were largely seen by insiders as minimally competitive. For House of Delegates (2nd District), Adele McClure has 90% of the vote, after her opponent withdrew from the race. Incumbent State Senator Barbara Favola (40th District) has 84% of the Arlington vote, after facing a primary challenge from James DeVita.
While this year’s primary has attracted considerable attention with the high-profile Commonwealth’s Attorney race and two open County Board seats, turnout was relatively light. With some in-transit mailed ballots not yet counted, turnout stands at 16.2% of registered voters.
During the last similar primary cycle, in 2019, total voter turnout was just under 17% as Dehghani-Tafti defeated incumbent Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos.
Results for tonight are complete for tonight.
~300 outstanding provisional ballots to look at.
~150 mail ballot from drop boxes. Mail ballots will be accepted through Friday if postmarked today.
Stay tuned for update tomorrow.
— Arlington Elections (@ArlingtonVotes) June 21, 2023
Democrats will face some opposition in the November general election. Among those who have qualified for the ballot are Miranda Turner, endorsed by Arlington Democrats after a School Board caucus, against independent School Board candidates James Vell Rives. Running for County Board again, against the eventual Democratic nominees, is independent candidate Audrey Clement.
Candidates whose ballot qualification is listed as in process include Republican David Henshaw for Favola’s 40th District State Senate seat, independent Major Mike Webb for Del. Alfonso Lopez’s 3rd District House of Delegates seat, and Republican Juan Carlos Fierro — an outspoken supporter of former President Donald Trump — for Arlington County Board.
Jo DeVoe contributed to this report
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
There’s no official word on its website, but it looks like Bar Ivy in Clarendon may have closed permanently.
There’s persistence, and then there is Audrey Clement and her decade-plus effort to get elected to local office in Arlington. Clement talked with ARLnow editor Scott Brodbeck to talk about…
Makers Union, an upscale gastropub, is set to open its doors in Pentagon City next week, says Alex Brown, the restaurant’s director of operations. This opening marks the third Makers Union location in the D.C. Metropolitan area, following the debut of its Reston location three years ago and a recent opening at the Wharf in early October.
Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.
Our caring and experienced educators create opportunities for children 16 months to 5 years old to play, learn, and grow in a nurturing environment of child-centered and developmentally appropriate experiences.
Initially established more than 50 years ago in South Arlington, CWP continues to be a lauded program in the Northern Virginia area. We are extremely proud to have been recognized as a Best Preschool in Northern Virginia Magazine for the last 4 years.
Located now in North Arlington at 2666 Military Road, CWP offers a part-time parents day out and preschool program with options to extend care both before and after school. We offer a supportive and inclusive school community for children and parents alike and welcome all families to join our school!
The Optimist Club of Arlington is holding its 77th annual Christmas tree sale!
This year, the tree sale will be held at the Knights of Columbus (5115 Little Falls Road). The lot opens for sales on November 24th. The Optimist Club is selling small and large trees ranging from tabletop size to 10 foot tall trees! Wreaths, garland, tree stands, and White House Christmas ornaments will also be for sale.
100% of all proceeds go towards helping Arlington County youth.
For more information, please visit the Arlington Optimists website at https://optimistclubofarlingtonva.org/.
Holiday Art Show featuring artists: Peter Fitzgerald, Claire Plante, Alanna Rivera, and Suzy Scollon. At the Barcroft Community House, 800 South Buchanan St., Arlington, VA. Dec. 8 from, 2 PM to 8 PM and Dec. 9 from 10 AM to
2023 Christmas Tree Sales Begin
Saturday, December 2
Get your holiday decorating off to the right start this year! We will be selling 150 Fraser firs, freshly cut and delivered from Sparta, North Carolina.