Arlington, VA

(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) Total fundraising in the heated race for Arlington and Falls Church’s top prosecutor is nearing an unprecedented $1 million as the June 11 primary approaches.

Commonwealth’s Attorney candidate Parisa Dehghani-Tafti raised $604,682 between April 1 and May 30, in large part due to one political action committee (PAC), according to new campaign finance filings.

The Justice and Public Safety PAC, which is funded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros, previously donated to Tafti’s campaign and paid for her social media videos. In the latest filing period it made a total of $515,492.28 in donations, including $190,000 in cash and $325,492.28 in in-kind contributions.

After spending $189,000 on a TV ad buy, and racking up other expenses, Tafti’s campaign reported ending the quarter with $57,255 in its coffers.

Theo Stamos’ campaign, on the other hand, reported closing out May 30 with $22,077 left in its war chest, after raising $55,426 and spending $133,999 in total.

All told, the incumbent raised $161,760 for her 2019 re-election bid compared to the $743,604 Tafti raised to unseat her.

The combined sum of $905,364 from both candidates dwarfs the money raised in the state’s other commonwealth’s attorney races.

“I think our voters are going to see through this effort from all this outside money,” Stamos told ARLnow today (Tuesday.) “It’s so unprecedented for it to be happening in Arlington.” 

When asked if her challenger’s large fundraising haul affected her chances of keeping her seat, Stamos said she thought residents will end up voting for someone they’ve known for years over Tafti who has, “absolutely no experience, who is not prepared for the job, and who has quite honestly run a fundamentally dishonest campaign.”

Tafti said in a press release earlier today that she was “proud” the campaign has continued, “to garner the support of not just small dollar donations but also that of local and national organizations that will help maintain enthusiasm and engagement” in the election.

In the press release, the progressive campaigner also highlighted $39,000 in cash contributions from individuals and the endorsements she’s received, saying: “Simply put, this level of local support for a challenger is unprecedented in a local primary election where the incumbent has not ever faced a robust primary challenge. What it shows is that community leaders and ordinary citizens understand the office is in dire need of reform.”

Two other PACS also donated to Tafti’s campaign this past quarter.

Racial justice-focused New Majority Virginia PAC donated $31,545 to Tafti’s campaign last month, and Real Justice PAC, which was co-founded by civil rights activist Shaun King donates to progressive prosecutor candidates nationwide, contributed $5,814.

Other notable donations to Tafti’s campaign include:

  • $1,350 in combined donations from four local private defense lawyers. Three of the lawyers (Terry Adams, Edward Ungvarsky, and Christopher Leibig) previously signed a letter opposing Stamos. The fourth lawyer-donor (Mark Rochon) did not sign the letter.
  • $1,000 from former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who has publicly endorsed Tafti’s campaign.
  • $150 from former Arlington County Board member Chris Zimmerman.

For Stamos, some notable donations included:

  • $1,162 from former independent County Board member John Vihstadt, whose unsuccessful bid for re-election Stamos supported despite displeasure from her Democratic colleagues. The figure includes a $912 in-kind contribution from Vihstadt’s campaign committee.
  • $651 from former Arlington School Board member Noah Simon
  • $500 from theater labor union I.A.T.S.E. Local 22

Next week’s primary will determine which Democratic candidate progresses to the November general election. Voters can cast their votes between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m on Tuesday, June 11.

Candidates from other parties may declare their intention to enter the race after the primary election. If no other candidates runs, the winner of next week’s primary election will most likely win the general election.

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Campaign endorsements are stacking up in the House of Delegates primary race between incumbent Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49th) and challenger Julius D. “JD” Spain, Sr.

Lopez has racked up support from several labor groups. The International Union of Painters & Allied Trades District Council 51 and the Mid-Atlantic Pipe Trades Association both announced their support last week. Food service union UNITE HERE Local 23 DC Chapter, which represents airport concession workers, food service workers and others, also joined the list of local unions supporting Lopez.

“While these endorsements are an excellent way of showing broad support from trusted voices — and the types of issues I look forward to enacting — the most important measure of support for the upcoming primary is the depth and breadth of our campaign’s robust volunteer operation,” Lopez said in a statement to ARLnow, noting that a team of volunteers knocked on over 1,000 doors for his campaign last weekend.

Lopez said earlier this month he was “honored” to have so many labor groups endorse his campaign and pledged to “continue our fight in the General Assembly” against policies like right-to-work, which he says hurts workers and families.

With less than a month to go before the June 11 primary, Spain does not boast as lengthy a list of endorsements as his opponent, but he has received support from at least one prominent progressive group as well as local community members and activists.

“I, along with my entire team, [am] excited to have received the endorsement of the progressive and nationally recognized political action organization Our Revolution Arlington yesterday and Our Revolution Northern Virginia a few weeks ago,” Spain said, in an email statement today. “Additionally, the endorsements of prominent African-American and Latino community activists such as Dr. Alfred O. Taylor, the Honorable Frank Wilson, Mr. Gabriela Rubalcava, and Ms. Ingrid Vaca, who represent THE PEOPLE at the grassroots level resonates with voters.”

Our Revolution originally formed as an outgrowth of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign before forming local chapters nationwide. The Arlington chapter repeatedly protested Amazon’s deal with the county for its second headquarters last year, and now is endorsing Spain’s candidacy.

Former School Board member Frank Wilson is among those endorsing Spain. He said in a statement that the former Marine “has a great deal of proven experience as a public servant” and is “honest, reliable and willing to work the long hours needed for a Delegate representing the people in District 49.”

“This campaign is built around inclusivity, believes in empowerment of others, transparency, and accountability,” Spain said. “I will always choose the working class over special interests and moneyed elites. Given the incumbent’s lack of transparency coupled with the events in Richmond this past February, I am confident voters in the 49th District are tired of the status-quo and ready for change.”

Campaign finance filings indicated that Spain had $6,364 left at the end of March in his coffers. He had poured more than $20,000 of his own money into the campaign to bolster his fundraising, which he restricted to donations from individuals.

Lopez, meanwhile, reported a war chest of $102,280 at the end of the first quarter, after raising money from clean energy groups and alcohol lobbyists, among others. All candidates running for election will release a new set of campaign finance reports next month.

Voters will choose between the two candidates for the Democratic nomination during the June 11 primary, and vote for their final choice during the November 5 general election.

Because no candidates from other parties are currently running for the 49th District seat, the primary could determine the result of the general election; however, independent or Republican candidates can still announce their intent to run after the primary.

Virginia residents can check both their voter registration status and the location of their polls online.

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Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol says she’s running for re-election, becoming the first candidate to jump into the race for two Board seats on the ballot this fall.

The Democrat, who is a fresh off a year rotating in as chair of the five-member Board, told ARLnow that she announced her decision to seek a second term in office to supporters today (Thursday).

Since first winning office in 2015, Cristol believes the county has “started to make progress on the issues I’m passionate about,” but she’s hoping for another four years on the Board because she sees more work left to do on everything from expanding affordable housing options to increasing the availability of childcare in the county.

Cristol says she’s well aware that the next four years will be challenging in Arlington, particularly as the Board copes with some unpleasant budgets and manages Amazon’s arrival in Crystal City and Pentagon City.

The latter topic has drawn more than its fair share of attention to the county, and Cristol in particular, over the last few months, but she plans to embrace the complexities of the company’s impact during her campaign.

“We’ve never been a community where we just let things happen to us, we plan for things,” Cristol said. “But the only way to make sure that happens is to believe in our potential to do that, and elect leaders who are problem solvers, not just problem spotters… There’s been a lot of temptation through all this to say ‘No’ or reject it or find enemies, as opposed to looking to maximize the benefits, which is hundreds of millions in tax revenues to help fund the priorities we care about.”

Cristol points out that, without Amazon bringing its new headquarters to the county, she’d face the similarly unpleasant prospect of running for re-election as the county grapples with a 20 percent office vacancy rate, which became a key issue during Democrat Matt de Ferranti’s successful campaign to oust independent John Vihstadt last year.

Even still, Cristol acknowledged that Amazon won’t be the answer to all of the county’s fiscal challenges as she asks for another four years on the Board. Officials have repeatedly warned that it could take years for the county to see tax revenues from Amazon’s new office space, requiring a mix of tax hikes and service cuts in the new fiscal year to fill a hefty budget gap.

Cristol concedes that “as would any elected official, I’d prefer to be cutting taxes and expanding services in a re-election year.” But she also believes that her chairmanship of the Board last year, when it managed to avoid any tax increases in favor of a handful of spending cuts, demonstrates that she can govern in a “sustainably progressive” manner despite the fiscal headwinds.

“We found a way to work through our budget challenges last year where we made difficult decisions about cuts, but didn’t cut anything to the bone or harm our core priorities,” Cristol said. “And I’m optimistic that’s what we’ll do again this year, even if it will be tougher.”

Though Cristol is the only candidate in the race so far — County Board Chair Christian Dorsey has yet to announce whether he’ll seek re-election — she’s well aware that she could face a more difficult race this year than when she last ran four years ago.

In that contest, Cristol and Dorsey easily triumphed over independents Mike McMenamin and Audrey Clement. But this time around, Cristol could well find herself squaring off against her former colleague Vihstadt, who recently thrust himself back onto the county’s political scene with his renewed criticism of costs of the Long Bridge Park Aquatics Center project.

For her part, Cristol says she doesn’t know whether Vihstadt plans to mount another independent bid. In an election year without any statewide races at the top of the ticket, she says his entry into the race would present an “interesting question” of political strategy, but she’s not spending too much time worrying about it quite yet.

“The message that I’ll run on and what I can bring to the table is going to be the same irrespective of what decision he makes,” Cristol said. “I think I have a fantastic record to really be proud of.”

It’s unclear whether Cristol could face Democratic primary challengers before she even reaches the general — Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos, state Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31st District) and Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49th District) have all drawn primary opponents thus far in Arlington’s local races — but any primary would be quite different from the six-way race she won four years ago.

In 2015, Cristol ran as a young newcomer to county politics, beating out some more experienced candidates. This time around, she has a record to defend, but also experience to run on.

“Some of the points I made back then do hold now,” Cristol said. “As a fresher face on the scene, I knew I didn’t have all the answers, so I thought it was important to listen to both longstanding Arlingtonians and those that hadn’t been as included in the past… and if I’ve learned anything in four years, it’s that nobody knows all these answers. That listening will still be at the heart of my campaign.”

Cristol says she’ll make a formal announcement at the Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting next Wednesday (Feb. 6), with a campaign kickoff event later that month.

File photo

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County police will participate in the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign beginning today (Aug. 17).

ACPD joins a national effort, which runs through Sept. 3, that aims to reduce drunk driving through increased public safety messages and augmented enforcement.

As part of that work, officers will conduct a “sobriety checkpoint” in the county on Aug. 23, stopping all vehicles who pass through it. Drivers will be asked to show their licenses and will be taken off the roadway for observation and potential intoxication testing if they seem to be under the influence.

ACPD has also worked to discourage drunk driving through its SoberRide vehicle, developed in partnership with the Washington Regional Alcohol Program and ride-hailing service Lyft.

Photo via Arlington County

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Morning Notes

Arlington Named Top Digital County Again — “Arlington County is the No. 1 digital county in the nation for a third straight year. The Center for Digital Government and National Association of Counties 2018 award recognizes Arlington for its best technology practices in areas of open government, transparency, public engagement, planning, cyber security and operations.” [Arlington County]

Robbery in Courthouse — Two men reportedly robbed the Dunkin’ Donuts on Wilson Blvd in Courthouse yesterday evening. The men demanded money and fled the scene with cash but did not display any weapons during the robbery, according to initial reports. [Twitter]

Kaine to Campaign in Arlington Today — Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) tonight “will host a ‘Neighbor to Neighbor’ community conversation in Arlington to engage Northern Virginia voters on the critical issues facing our country and take their questions.” The event is taking place at the Barcroft Park Picnic Shelter (4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive) at 6:30 p.m.

Britney Spears Touches Down in Arlington — Britney Spears arrived at Reagan National Airport ahead of the kick off of her summer tour. Photos and video show her walking through the terminal with a small entourage. [Daily Mail]

Arlington to Pay to Help Retain Federal Tenant — “Arlington taxpayers will be on the hook for nearly $8 million over 10 years to subsidize a lease that will retain the Office of Naval Research in the county. County Board members on July 14 are expected to approve an incentive package that will keep the federal agency in its current 314,000 square feet of office space in Ballston.” [InsideNova]

Suspect Hailed Cab After Pike Burglary — “A burglar made his getaway from a scene in Arlington by hailing a taxi, according to officials. The Arlington County Police Department said the burglar targeted a business in the 3100 block of Columbia Pike near the Westmont neighborhood at about 10:25 a.m. on Sunday.” [Fox 5 DC]

George Mason Drive Detour — A “small detour” will be in place this weekend on N. George Mason Drive “as crews above remove the old half still remaining from the soon-to-be-replaced Carlin Springs Road Bridge.” [Twitter]

White Ford Bronco Profiled — Prolific local 90s cover band White Ford Bronco is the subject of a newspaper profile that dubs it the “undisputed king of D.C. cover bands.” The profile recounts that “at a recent concert at the Clarendon Ballroom, guys in button-down shirts and Birkenstocks pumped their fists to the chorus of ‘Mr. Jones.'” [Washington Post]

Metrobus Delays This Morning — Metrobus passengers reported delays and missed routes this morning, which WMATA says was the result of “bus operators reporting late to work as part of a collective labor action by their union.” [Twitter, WTOP]

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With one weekend left until Election Day, candidates and parties of all stripes are looking to get their messages out.

The statewide races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general continue to draw a lot of attention, and Arlington’s local Democratic and Republican parties will use this weekend for last-minute political activities.

Both will be out canvassing voters this weekend, both door-to-door and at the county’s farmers’ markets. The Arlington Young Democrats promised a “special” canvassing in south Arlington this weekend to support Del. Alfonso Lopez in his re-election bid against Republican Adam Roosevelt.

The Arlington County Democratic Committee has also made use of a social media campaign entitled, “#TURNOUT2017” to encourage its supporters to vote through Facebook and social media ads for candidate for governor Ralph Northam, lieutenant governor nominee Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring, who is running for re-election.

And Arlington County Republican Committee communications director Matthew Hurtt promised an “unprecedented” get-out-the-vote operation in an email to supporters to help elect governor nominee Ed Gillespie, lieutenant governor candidate Jill Vogel and attorney general nominee John Adams.

Arlington Young Democrats will host a get-out-the-vote rally of their own on Saturday at 5:30 p.m., headlined by U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), while both parties will have poll watchers at voting stations across the county to monitor what happens on Election Day.

Earlier this week, the Arlington Democrats hosted a rally alongside Northam, Fairfax, Herring and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) as well as local elected officials.

And on October 29, Gillespie and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) dropped by for a rally to coincide with a viewing party for the Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys NFL game.

And while the social media accounts and websites of the candidates for the local races of Arlington County Board and School Board, residents can expect to see them and their supporters out this weekend pushing for votes.

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Morning Notes

Belmont TV Closing — Belmont TV, located at 4723 King Street on the Arlington-Alexandria border, is planning to close its doors at the end of the month, after about 75 years in business. [Washington Business Journal]

APS Having Trouble Hiring Bus Drivers — “The strong local economy is creating some challenges for Arlington Public Schools’ efforts to fill out its bus-driver and bus-assistant ranks. There are still ‘nine routes that don’t have permanent drivers,’ said John Chadwick, the school system’s assistant superintendent for transportation, at the Oct. 19 School Board meeting.” [InsideNova]

Northam, Roem Speak at Freddie’s — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and House of Delegates candidate Danica Roem spoke last night at an LGBT-focused campaign event at Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City. Also attending the event were state Sen. Adam Ebbin, Del. Mark Levine and Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. [Washington Blade]

History of the Pentagon Cable Crossing — A cable crossing, marked with large signs along the banks of the Potomac River, dates back to the construction of the Pentagon in early 1940s. [Atlas Obscura]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Morning Notes

Perriello Campaigns in Arlington — Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello canvassed in Arlington yesterday with former Obama speechwriter and Pod Save America co-host Jon Lovett. [Twitter]

Key Bridge Lane Closure — One southbound lane of the Key Bridge, heading from D.C. to Rosslyn, is scheduled to be closed from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. today through Friday. The closure is part of the Key Bridge Rehabilitation Project. [DDOT]

Beyer Blasts Trump, Again — “Have you no decency?” was the Twitter response of Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) to President Donald Trump’s tweet criticizing the mayor of London in the aftermath of Saturday’s terror attack there. [Twitter]

‘Jungle Book’ at Encore — DC Metro Theater Arts has a review of Encore Stage & Studio’s production of The Jungle Book, which pays through June 11 at Thomas Jefferson Community Theater (125 S. Old Glebe Road). [DC Metro Theater Arts]

Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber

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(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) “Girls” star Lena Dunham campaigned for Hillary Clinton in Rosslyn Tuesday afternoon.

The actress, writer, producer and director attended a lunch with Arlington young professionals at Barley Mac (1600 Wilson Blvd) around 12:30 p.m. She spoke of the importance of electing Mrs. Clinton and defeating GOP candidate Donald Trump.

“The message I just wanted to share with millennials, with people my age… is just to say that voting isn’t the only way that you engage civically, but it’s one of the most important ways,” Dunham said. “So many people don’t [vote] and it’s so important that we take advantage of that power. None of us wants to see a country that Trump is imagining… and the only way we can prevent that is getting out on November 8th.”

“Something that I say a lot is that I’m not voting for Hillary Clinton because she is the lesser of two evils, I’m voting for her because she’s the president that I’ve wanted since I was six years old,” she said. “I know so many women and men who feel that way and it’s so heartening to see a room full of people who I know are ready to advocate for that.”

After the Rosslyn event, Dunham was scheduled to attend subsequent events at George Mason University and in Falls Church, where she was to encourage Northern Virginia residents to check their voter registration status and register to vote by the Oct. 17 registration deadline.

“Dunham will lay out the stakes of this election, discuss with voters why Donald Trump’s pattern of disrespecting and demeaning women makes him unfit to hold our nation’s highest office, and share her support for Clinton’s agenda to make us stronger together and raise the minimum wage, fight LGBT discrimination, ensure women have access to reproductive health care, and tackle climate change,” according to a Clinton campaign press release.

A rush transcript of Dunham’s remarks at the restaurant, after the jump.

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Morning Notes

"Coming soon" signs for Ambar restaurant in Clarendon

Emergency Exercise at the Pentagon — The Arlington County Fire Department will be joining other agencies for an full-scale training exercise at the Pentagon today. The simulated helicopter crash and mass casualty response exercise will take place at the Pentagon heliport along Washington Blvd from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. [WTOP]

Police Warn of IRS Scam Calls — Scammers posing as local law enforcement officers or IRS agents have been phoning Arlington residents recently. “These individuals accuse the victims of owing money to the IRS which must be paid immediately using iTunes gift cards, or other means,” according to a press release. “In some cases, scammers have deliberately falsified the information transmitted to the victim’s Caller ID display to disguise their identity as the non-emergency police line.” [Arlington County]

New Ad Displays Coming to Metro Stations — The Rosslyn, Ballston, Crystal City and Pentagon City Metro stations will be getting new digital displays that will play video advertisements targeted at transit riders. [Borderstan]

Rental House Includes Tiki Bar — A listing for a rental home in the Ashton Heights neighborhood includes a “new tiki bar” in the backyard and off-street parking for four cars. The 4 BR / 3 BA home is listed for $4,500 per month. [Real House Life of Arlington, Zillow]

Actress to Campaign for Hillary In ArlingtonBellamy Young, who plays the First Lady on ABC’s “Scandal,” will stop by Hillary Clinton’s Arlington field office in Dominion Hills next Saturday morning, as part of a series of campaign events in Northern Virginia.

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Michelle Kwan, photo via Twitter : Hillary for VAA decorated former Olympian will campaign for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Arlington today.

Olympic medalist and former figure skating world champion Michelle Kwan is slated to attend three Clinton campaign events in Northern Virginia, two of which will be in Arlington, according to a press release.

Kwan will make stops at a phone bank in Arlington’s Dominion Hills neighborhood and at a Thai restaurant in Ballston “to discuss Clinton’s agenda for tax fairness and help launch ‘Asian American and Pacific Islander Virginians for Hillary.'”

Kwan’s full schedule of appearances is below:

Small Business Retail Walk

WHEN: Thursday, August 18th at 12:00 PM
WHERE: Eden Center, 6751 Wilson Blvd., Falls Church, VA

Arlington Phone Bank

WHEN: Thursday, August 18th at 4:30 PM
WHERE: 6035 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA

AAPI Virginians for Hillary Launch Happy Hour

WHEN: Thursday, August 18th at 6:00 PM
WHERE: Tara Temple Thai Restaurant, 4001 N. Fairfax Dr., Arlington, VA

Photo via Twitter / Hillary for Virginia

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