Arlington, VA

Joe Biden had a commanding lead in nearly every Arlington precinct in yesterday’s Super Tuesday race, but Arlington’s second-choice was not as universal.

Across Arlington, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Michael Bloomberg all found small enclaves of support.

Amid record presidential primary turnout in Arlington, a plurality of voters countywide cast ballots for Joe Biden. Biden garnered 48% of the vote, to 20% for Warren, 19% for Sanders and 10% for Bloomberg — who suspended his campaign today and endorsed Biden.

While Biden tended to score higher in the lower-density residential neighborhoods of Arlington, the former Vice President’s support was not quite as strong along Metro corridors and Columbia Pike, according to figures from the Virginia Department of Elections.

Along Arlington’s two Metro corridors, Biden won every precinct but rarely with more than 50% of the vote. Countywide, Biden only dipped below 40% in two precincts — one along the Pike and one near Rosslyn.

Along the Metro corridors it was predominately Warren holding the second place, though along Columbia Pike Sanders held leads in some precincts. In Ballston, Biden won 47% of the vote while Sanders and Warren won 23% and 21% respectively. In Crystal City it was 46% with Warren at 22%.

In the wealthier, northernmost precincts of Arlington, Bloomberg won his sole second-place finishes in Arlington in the Rock Spring, Madison, and Thrifton precincts. In each of those, however, Bloomberg never won more than 17% of the vote.

In only one place did Biden lose: the Campbell precinct, encompassing an area on Arlington’s western end of Columbia Pike. Sanders won 40% (310 votes) and Biden followed with 37% (282 votes). In 2016, Sanders lost the precinct to Clinton, who got 69% of the vote there.

The biggest anomaly of the night was the absentee voting results. A number of candidates who had since dropped out of the race received significant absentee vote totals in advance of Super Tuesday, notably Amy Klobuchar (9%) and Pete Buttigieg (16%). Klobuchar and Buttigieg — who held a large rally in Arlington last month — both dropped out and endorsed Biden after his South Carolina primary win over the weekend.

Among active candidates, Warren came out on top of the absentee heap with 25%, followed by Biden with 19%, Sanders with 16%, and Bloomberg with 14%.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Update at 10:3o p.m. — With all the votes counted, at least unofficially, the 2020 Democratic presidential primary in Arlington was “one for the record books.” Arlington’s election office reported a turnout of 45% of registered voters, compared to 27% in 2016. A total of 70,451 people voted, compared to the previous primary record of 44,694 in 2008.

A plurality of voters in Arlington County cast ballots for Joe Biden. The results are as follows:

  • Biden: 48.3%
  • Warren: 20.0%
  • Sanders: 18.8%
  • Bloomberg: 9.5%

Earlier: Voting has been relatively smooth sailing in Arlington today, despite very high turnout for a single-party primary.

As of 1 p.m., about 27% of registered voters had cast ballots in today’s Democratic presidential primary, 24% at the polls and 2.5% absentee, according to Arlington election officials. That’s about the same as the overall Democratic primary turnout in 2016, which featured Hillary Clinton squaring off against Sen. Bernie Sanders.

As of 4 p.m. about 31% of registered voters had cast ballots and Arlington was on track for “historic Democratic presidential primary turnout,” according to the county’s elections office.

(There is no Republican primary today, as President Trump is uncontested for the GOP nomination in Virginia.)

“Things have been running very smoothly,” said Gretchen Reinemeyer, Arlington County’s Director of Elections, adding that “we’ve had anecdotal evidence of many first-time voters.”

The only issue at the polls Reinemeyer was aware of was a brief power outage at Taylor Elementary School.

Virginia is one of 14 Super Tuesday states, voting in a hotly-contested Democratic presidential primary that currently features Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Like Arlington, Alexandria is also set to exceed its 2016 Democratic presidential primary turnout. As of noon, turnout in the City of Alexandria was just over 23% compared to 15% by that time in 2016.

Polls across Virginia close at 7 p.m. Anyone in line at that time, however, will be allowed to cast ballots.

Expect lengthening lines at precincts as voters head home from work, particularly in transit corridors, Reinemeyer said.

“That last hour between 6 and 7 will definitely be a busy hour for our Metro corridor precincts,” she cautioned. “We’re also monitoring the weather” for potential approaching storms.

Still, Reinemeyer said, “there’s still lots of time for voting left.”

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Local education activist Symone Walker is no longer seeking the Democratic endorsement in her campaign for School Board, instead opting to run purely as an independent in the fall.

In Virginia, all School Board races are nonpartisan, but parties can still endorse candidates. In a statement, Walker said she is no longer seeking the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s endorsement.

Walker “will not participate in the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s (ACDC) school board caucus for the party’s nomination, citing the committee’s inability to effectively address ongoing harassment her campaign received from an opponent in the race and instead will continue as an independent candidate for one of two seats on Arlington’s school board,” the statement said.

“Walker started her campaign in January after having received a favorable ethics opinion from her federal agency employer finding her candidacy compliant with the Hatch Act and citing a federal statute that allows her to run for the school board,” the statement continued. “Despite this, an opponent has continued harassing her by filing and purposefully escalating a series of complaints with a clear goal to reverse these initial, favorable determinations and derail her candidacy.

“After the political harassment against Walker succeeded in characterizing the ACDC caucus process as partisan enough to be not compliant with the intent of the law, ACDC needs to reconsider that the process now unfairly disenfranchises the approximately 37,000 federal employees living in Arlington, who comprise one-third of the electorate, many of whom are well qualified for the school board,” the campaign added.

It was not immediately clear which of the five other candidates challenged Walker’s candidacy by citing the Hatch Act, which “prohibits employees in the executive branch of the federal government… from engaging in some forms of political activity.”

Arlington Democrats said that the committee has “no standing to intervene in her employing agency’s decision-making about the nature of those restrictions and has no authority to countermand the agency decision.”

“Arlington Democrats appreciate Ms. Walker’s cautious approach to complying with the Hatch Act legal restrictions applicable to her as a Federal employee,” ACDC Chair Jill Caiazzo said via email. “Like other organizations that endorse candidates in school board races, such as education associations and teacher unions, Arlington Democrats believe that its endorsement is one of many valuable data points about these races for voters.”

“With respect to the harassment concerns associated with the raising of this legal compliance matter by another campaign, Arlington Democrats leadership spoke separately to both candidates in an effort to address the concerns, as well as offered the opportunity for Ms. Walker to speak directly to the Arlington Democrats Steering Committee to determine whether action by the organization could or should be taken about her concerns,” Caiazzo added. “We look forward to the continued exchange of ideas in this year’s school board race, as we work toward our shared goal of a strong school system that empowers all students, teachers, and staff. “

The other School Board candidates who have announced their intention to seek the Democratic endorsement include Cristina Diaz-TorresDavid PriddySandy MunnellSteven Krieger and Terron Sims. The deadline to file as a candidate is today.

Walker, a Jamaican immigrant who has lived in Arlington for more than 20 years, has advocated on various school and community issues. Recently, she has been quoted making the case for shorter summer breaks for students, revamped literacy testing, and better vetting of Arlington Public Schools’ new diversity chief.

Photo via Facebook

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Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieig is coming to Arlington this weekend, and might be bringing some traffic headaches along with him.

The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana will be holding a large, town hall-style event at the Washington-Liberty High School football stadium on Sunday from around 2:45-5 p.m.

Arlington County Police are warning of “large crowds and increased pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the area related to the event.” Police will be on hand to monitor traffic and potentially implement some road closures, the department said.

Parking is limited in the area, but a rideshare drop-off and pick-up done has been established across the street from the high school, at Quincy Park. The school is also within walking distance of the Ballston and Virginia Square Metro stations.

More from ACPD:

A public Town Hall event is being held at Washington-Liberty High School stadium, located at 1301 N. Stafford Street, on the afternoon of Sunday, February 23 from approximately 2:45 PM until 5:00 PM.

The public can anticipate large crowds and increased pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the area related to the event. The Arlington County Police Department will monitor traffic conditions and may implement road closures in the interest of public safety. Those traveling in the area should follow the direction of officers.

Getting to the Event

Parking in the area is extremely limited. Participants are encouraged to arrive using multi-modal and public transportation options to reduce vehicular congestion. The Ballston and Virginia Square metro stations, located on the orange and silver lines, are a short walk to the event location.

Motorists are advised that no event parking will be permitted at the North Quincy Street Development located at 1425 and 1435 N. Quincy Street.

Rideshare Pick-Up and Drop-Off Location

A designated rideshare pick-up and drop-off zone has been established at the Quincy Park parking lot located at 1021 N. Quincy Street. Rideshare vehicles will enter the lot in the 1000 block of N. Quincy Street and exit in the 3900 block of Washington Boulevard. Drivers are reminded that stopping or standing in travel lanes to discharge or pick-up passengers is strictly prohibited.

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(Updated at 6:10 p.m.) Pete Buttigieg, Democratic candidate for president and former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is making another appearance in Arlington — and this time it won’t be in a resident’s backyard.

Buttigieg will be holding an upcoming Northern Virginia town hall meeting in Arlington, at the Washington-Liberty High School stadium, the campaign confirmed Thursday evening.

The event is being held this coming Sunday, Feb 23, from 3:45-5:15 p.m. It’s taking place ahead of the March 3 Super Tuesday primary in Virginia, and after last week’s Elizabeth Warren campaign event at Arlington’s Wakefield High School.

Buttigieg’s last known campaign appearance in Arlington was a private fundraiser at a Waverly Hills home this past June.

State Sen. Adam Ebbin, who endorsed the mayor’s presidential candidacy early in the race, sent the following email to supporters about the event:

On Sunday, February 23rd from 3:45 to 5:15 Mayor Pete Buttigieg will be holding a town hall in Arlington, at a location to be announced.

Throughout my political career I have had the opportunity to work with only a handful of candidates who simultaneously embody pragmatic progressive reform, and possess both the strong commitment to our nation formed by service, as well as the ability to bring Americans from all walks of life together with the common purpose of ensuring that future generations will be better off than their parents.

Mayor Buttigieg embodies these qualities, and has outlined a plan to address gun violence, advance and support communities of color, and build a [resilient] path forward for America.

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A thousand signs encouraging voters to “Dump Trump” may pop up around Arlington, if local Democrats are able to raise enough money to fund the rest of the printing run.

The Arlington County Democratic Committee says a donor has already contributed $1,000 for the yard signs, but it is seeking another $2,000. It made the fundraising pitch online Monday, to coincide with the Presidents Day holiday.

The signs will be distributed free of charge to anyone who requests one, the party said.

More from Arlington Democrats:

For Presidents Day we remember the lives and achievements of our past presidents. Leaders who embodied honor and dignity and who worked in pursuit of our shared American values of freedom, opportunity, and equality. But we know President Trump couldn’t care less about these values. He’s shown nothing but contempt for the principles we hold dear, and his tenure has been marked by corruption, incompetence, greed, and willful ignorance.

So in honor of Presidents Day, we’re poised to order hundreds of these “Dump Trump” yard signs to show our Democratic spirit all around town and remind people to vote and volunteer!

Last week President Trump visited his campaign office in Rosslyn to celebrate a big fundraising haul and to thank campaign staff.

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A new challenger, Steven Krieger, has entered the already crowded race for the Arlington School Board.

In late January, Krieger joined five other candidates vying for two openings on the School Board after incumbent members Tannia Talento and Nancy Van Doren announced they would not be running for reelection. Candidates Symone Walker, Cristina Diaz-Torres, David Priddy, Sandy Munnell, and Terron Sims made their case for an endorsement to the Arlington County Democratic last month with the caucus scheduled for May 7 and 9.

Krieger is a local attorney with one child currently in Arlington Public Schools. He describes himself as a “social justice advocate” who is, admittedly, “not an educational policy expert.”

Krieger’s platform includes strong opposition to the controversial school swap approved last week, echoing criticism from parents that the shift does little to address school overcrowding. From his website:

Stand Up Against Boundary Changes and Program Moves that Destroy Communities. For Arlington Public Schools to continue its excellence, we must ensure that we have the correct number of seats for our students in the right areas – especially as the county grows and neighborhoods are developed.  However, determining exactly where seats are needed, how many seats are needed, when the seats are needed, and how new seats are obtained is a huge challenge. Without this critical information, decisions should not be made. Moving schools and destroying communities should be the absolute last resort for APS – not the first solution attempted.

Other topics on Krieger’s campaign page include working to reduce the disparities between white students and minority students, supporting policies that reduce the schools’ ecological footprint, and getting students more involved in School Board policy.

“For too long, Arlington Public Schools hasn’t paid enough attention to input from students and parents,” Krieger said. “In short, they haven’t listened to us. I’m running for the School Board because that needs to change.”

The deadline to file as a candidate is March 2.

Photo via Steven Krieger

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President Trump made a surprise visit to his reelection campaign’s office in Rosslyn around lunchtime today.

The president was accompanied by his son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner, and campaign manager Brad Parscale. For about an hour he took meetings and greeted campaign staff, congratulating them on a more than $60 million fundraising haul in January.

Arlington County Police assisted with the motorcade from the White House to the campaign office.

Trump posed for a photo with staffers, who work out of what’s been described as a “Republican National Committee annex” in “a glass-skinned tower overlooking the Potomac River.” The address is not publicly available.

https://twitter.com/TeamTrump/status/1228032843282026503

Photo via @TeamTrump/Twitter

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Just two days removed from today’s New Hampshire primary, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren will be holding a town hall event in Arlington.

The town hall is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, at Wakefield High School (1325 S. Dinwiddie Street), the campaign announced today. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP.

More via the campaign website:

Elizabeth Warren is coming to Virginia!

Join Elizabeth Warren and Team Virginia at a Town Hall on Thursday, February 13th in Arlington, VA.

Elizabeth knows that to create real change–to rebuild the middle class and save our democracy–we need to dream big and fight hard. That’s why she’s in this fight: to have a real conversation about how to level the playing field for working families, and who is best to lead that fight.

Doors open for the event at 6:00 p.m. and the event will begin at 7:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, so feel free to bring your friends and family along too! Tickets aren’t required, but an RSVP is strongly encouraged. Admission will be first come, first served.

Virginia’s “Super Tuesday” primary will be held on March 3.

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(Updated at 4:20 p.m.) Arlington County Board member and now-former Metro board member Christian Dorsey cruised to easy election victories in 2019 and thus didn’t need to spend much on his campaign. He did, however, direct campaign cash to himself and his wife.

Dorsey, who is currently trying to resolve a personal bankruptcy, is not accused of wrongdoing in his campaign spending. But it does raise questions amid news that he has not yet fulfilled a promise to repay a $10,000 campaign contribution, deemed unethical by the Metro board after Dorsey failed to notify the board of the donation in a timely manner.

Dorsey has since resigned from the Metro board, the Washington Post reported Thursday afternoon.

It was just after the Nov. 2019 election that it was revealed that Dorsey had declared bankruptcy in October. He told ARLnow in December that he regretted not informing the community earlier.

The campaign was otherwise a breeze for Dorsey. He ran unopposed in the Democratic primary and easily defeated a pair of independent candidates, who sought his and fellow incumbent Board member Katie Cristol’s seats, in November.

Dorsey raised nearly $40,000 in 2019, including the aforementioned $10,000 from Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 — Metro’s largest union — as well as $10,000 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, $5,000 from a carpenters union, and $1,000 from a laborers union.

As of Dec. 31, according to Dorsey’s latest campaign finance report, his campaign had $3,298 on hand. So where did most of the cash go? Just over $25,000 went to Dorsey and his wife, documents show.

Dorsey began 2019 with a balance of $17,547 on loans he had provided his campaign during the 2015 election. He repaid all but $200.99 of that to himself by the end of the year. He also paid $8,000 to his wife over the summer for campaign management graphic design work.

There has thus far been no suggestion that any of the payments were in any way illegal or improper, though a nearly $2,000 loan repayment was made after Dorsey was ordered to return the transit union donation.

The campaign’s other major expenses were $4,825 in donations and sponsorships to the Arlington County Democratic Committee and $4,399 to a local printing company for yard signs and grip cards, paid in September. Fundraising and web hosting expenses, along with other donations and food and drink purchases for events and volunteers, made up much of the remaining expenses.

Prof. Jennifer Victor, who researches campaign finance at George Mason University’s Schar School Policy and Government, said the pattern of payments amid personal financial problems and the union donation controversy at Metro at the very least “raises some ethical eyebrows,” regardless of whether or not state campaign finance laws were violated. Victor added that hiring a spouse for the campaign “looks nepotistic” and is something most candidates would avoid doing.

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Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign is ramping up in Arlington.

Tonight the campaign is holding an official opening celebration for its new office at Pentagon Row, located between DSW and Planet Fitness.

This weekend the office will be hosting a leg of the campaign’s Gun Violence Prevention Bus Tour, featuring D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the mother featured in Bloomberg’s gun violence-focused Super Bowl commercial.

More from the campaign:

On Sunday, February 9, two national surrogates for Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and senior Bloomberg advisor Debbie Weir, will travel to Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Arlington as part of a multi-state bus tour highlighting the urgent need to prevent gun violence in America.

Calandrian Simpson Kemp, a mother from Texas whose son, George Kemp Jr., was shot and killed is featured in the ad that aired during the Super Bowl, and her husband George Kemp, will participate in the tour. Simpson Kemp is an active member of Moms Demand Action, the grassroots movement fighting for public safety measures to protect Americans from gun violence.

Joining the Kemp family will be two Virginians who were highlighted in Bloomberg’s recent digital ads. Colin Goddard was shot and injured in the mass shooting at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, in which 32 classmates and faculty were killed. Brenda Moss’ 34 year-old son, Shawn, was killed on August 26th, 2014 in Lynchburg, VA. He was shot 17 times in a senseless act of gun violence. Brenda has become an outspoken advocate for gun violence prevention and an active member of Moms Demand Action.

Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomberg LP, plans to double his campaign’s already prodigious ad spending in the wake of the chaotic conclusion to the Iowa caucuses. Once considered a long-shot to capture the Democratic nomination, Bloomberg’s poll numbers have been rising — tied for third with Sen. Elizabeth Warren in a recent national poll.

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