After a contentious race for governor in Virginia, the campaign managers for the two major candidates had a few flashpoints as they reflected on the contest in Arlington on Monday night.
Chris Leavitt, who managed Republican Ed Gillespie’s campaign, said his opposite number on Democratic candidate Ralph Northam’s campaign, Brad Komar, was a “liar” for saying he and his colleagues had no knowledge of an attack ad run by the Latino Victory Fund against the Republican.
Komar said the ad came from a community that felt it was “under attack,” but that the Northam campaign was not involved.
“It’s not how I would have responded,” he said. “We did not see the ad; I did not authorize it.”
The ad showed a white man in a pickup truck with a Gillespie bumper sticker and a Confederate flag threatening minority children. It ran on Spanish-language channels for two days before being taken down after the terrorist attack in New York by a man driving a pickup truck.
The pair were in conversation before more than 250 people at George Mason University’s Arlington campus at an event by the Virginia Public Access Project and GMU’s Schar School of Policy and Government. It came less than a week after Northam beat Gillespie to the governor’s mansion, thanks in part to the 68,315 votes he received in Arlington to Gillespie’s 16,160.
Komar said he regretted the campaign leaving then-lieutenant governor candidate Justin Fairfax, who also triumphed last week in a Democratic clean sweep alongside Attorney General Mark Herring, off a mailer that was sent to some houses in Northern Virginia.
At the time, the campaign said it was accommodating the Laborers’ International Union of North America, which did not endorse Fairfax as he opposes two planned natural gas pipelines, but endorsed the other two.
“We handled a regular, normal thing badly,” Komar said, noting that it should not have been sent out by the campaign but by someone else.
Leavitt defended the Gillespie campaign’s decision to run television ads attacking Northam as weak on the Central American street gang MS-13, and supporting so-called “Sanctuary Cities,” where local authorities do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
Such “sanctuaries” do not exist in Virginia, but Leavitt said that the Gillespie campaign had data that suggested that some independent voters were concerned about a rise in crime committed by illegal immigrants.
“You have to pick certain spots where there are avenues where you can go after your opponent,” Leavitt said. “This was one of those avenues.”
And Leavitt said trying to find weaknesses in Northam to attack was especially problematic, given his personal history as a U.S. Army doctor then a pediatric neurologist, as well as a stellar career in Richmond.
He said the Gillespie campaign hoped for a bruising Democratic primary against former Rep. Tom Perriello to expose more weaknesses.
“Frankly, the Governor-Elect did not have as many vulnerabilities as we would have liked, and we thought a primary could open up a few more,” Leavitt said.
The 55 percent of registered voters who turned out to vote in Tuesday’s election was the highest percentage turnout in an non-presidential year since the early 1990s, according to figures from the county’s elections office.
It was the highest turnout in a gubernatorial election year in Arlington since 1993, when 56 percent of registered voters turned out as Republican George Allen triumphed over Democratic nominee and then-Attorney General Mary Sue Terry.
The county’s highest turnout in a governor election since 1958, the first year of reliable statistics, was in 1981 and 1989 when it hit 60 percent for both years.
(This year’s turnout did set a local record for highest number of votes cast in a gubernatorial election, thanks in part to population growth.)
— Arlington Dems (@arlingtondems) November 8, 2017
Northam (D) took 68,315 votes in Arlington out of 1.4 million statewide, ahead of Republican Ed Gillespie with 16,160 in Arlington and 1.1 million across Virginia.
Fairfax garnered 66,687 votes in Arlington of 1.3 million statewide, ahead of state Sen. Jill Vogel’s 17,594 in the county and 1.2 million total. And Herring won re-election with 67,111 votes ahead of John Adams’ 17,366 votes, winning the statewide count with 1.3 million to Adams’ 1.2 million.
In an email to supporters on Wednesday morning, Arlington County Republican Committee chair Jim Presswood said that while the ticket suffered a “tough loss,” the GOP will be back in Virginia:
Our canvass operation was typically among the top three in the Commonwealth. We knocked over 10,000 doors last Saturday. You represented our party and our conservative values well.
Despite yesterday’s results, I am confident about our prospects over the longer term. The Democrats ran a campaign focused on what they are against. Their governing vision, however, simply won’t solve the problems facing our Commonwealth and country.
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.
— Jim Presswood (@jjpresswood) October 30, 2017
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.
A Crystal City-based startup is planning to add 184 jobs here as part of an expansion, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Monday.
Trustify, which moved into new offices overlooking Long Bridge Park earlier this year, is planning to spend just over $1 million on building and equipment costs associated with the expansion. The 184 jobs are expected to be added over a period of three years, according to Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
A VEDP spokeswoman said Trustify will be eligible for nearly $120,000 in state reimbursement for job recruitment and training.
Trustify is a sort of “Uber-for-PIs,” using the internet to connect businesses and consumers with trained private investigators. It makes money by taking a cut of the hourly fee charged to customers.
In a press release, McAuliffe and other officials, including Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette and state Sen. Adam Ebbin, heaped praise on Trustify for its rapid expansion.
“Trustify’s impressive growth in a short amount of time is a strong example of what high-tech, entrepreneurial companies can accomplish in the Commonwealth,” said the governor. “Arlington County and the Northern Virginia region are home to a dynamic IT industry… We are proud to have this innovative business in the Commonwealth contributing to the new Virginia economy, and look forward to Trustify’s continued success.”
Trustify President Jennifer Mellon, in turn, lauded Arlington County as a place to do business.
“We decided on Arlington, Virginia for many reasons,” Mellon said. “The community here in Arlington is a fantastic place in which to work and commute. Arlington provides employers and employees many benefits and advantages that are not available in other areas and communities. We believe the DC Metro area, in general, is a beacon of inclusive innovation with some of the best percentages of women and diversity in tech compared to the rest of the country. We have transportation, office, and community options and benefits that made this area the clear choice for Trustify.”
Trustify says it raised $6.6 million in new funding this year, according to the Washington Business Journal. With that funding the company hopes to grow and capture more of the U.S. private investigations market. Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that Trustify is after at least a $1.5 billion dollar market; there are some 28,500 private investigators nationwide making an average annual wage of around $53,500 a year, according to the BLS.
By the numbers, the company is one of the hottest tech startups in Arlington, but it is not without its critics. It has a very vocal, persistent critic in Glen Hellman, a local tech scene commentator and strategist who also goes by the nickname “Mr. Cranky.”
Hellman ripped what he characterized as an uncritical Washington Business Journal article on the governor’s Trustify announcement, despite being mentioned in that very article.
“It’s a good thing Washington Business Journal doesn’t have a sports page because they’d be writing headlines about every kid who ever received a participation trophy for being the bench warmer on the worst team in the lowest league of some minor 3rd grade soccer team,” Hellman said in an incendiary blog post this morning. “I believe the reason Trustify puts out these press releases is to counter any bad press they receive, to push down the SEO of negative stories and obfuscate… the truth in order to raise money from poor unsuspecting widows and orphans.”
The full press release from the governor’s office, after the jump.
A plan to host a polling place at a condo building in Crystal City has been nixed, but elections officials said they are confident of finding a new location before November.
County staff had planned to move the polling station for the Crystal City 006 Precinct to the Crystal Gateway condo building at 1300 Crystal Drive from Crystal Place (1801 Crystal Drive) in time for November’s elections.
But a staff report on various changes to voting locations ahead of the elections said the Crystal Gateway “no longer wishes” to host a polling place. Likewise, the report notes that Crystal Place “no longer wished” to do the same.
Arlingtonians will go to the polls to elect a Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General and local members of the Virginia House of Delegates, as well as representatives on the Arlington County Board and School Board.
Gretchen Reinemeyer, the county’s deputy director of elections, said the building “did not provide any information on why they would not like to be a polling place.” Crystal Gateway’s property manager and a spokesman for Equity Apartments, which owns both the Crystal Gateway and Crystal Place, did not return calls requesting comment.
Reinemeyer said staff is “in the process” of finding a new polling place for the precinct, and they are “optimistic that we will have a new location soon.” She said that when looking for new polling places, staff try and find county-owned buildings in the precinct first before assessing other options.
“If there is not a suitable county facility available, we look at other buildings used by the community that have a ground level meeting room such as churches or community rooms in apartment or condo buildings,” she said. “Once we find a location that we think will work, we begin negotiating with the management of the space.”
The County Board will vote on the proposed voting changes at its meeting Saturday (July 15). Also on the table is a change for the Rosslyn Precinct to move its voting place to the 1800 Oak Apartments from the soon-to-be-redeveloped Fire Station 10, and a technical change for the Virginia Highlands Precinct to reflect that votes are cast at the recently reopened Aurora Hills Community Center.
Photo via Google Maps.
Northam, Gillespie Win Va. Primary — Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and Ed Gillespie, establishment figures in the state Democratic and Republican parties, respectively, beat back party insurgents to win the nomination for Virginia governor on Tuesday. The primary was a test of the “Trump effect,” according to political analysts. [Washington Post, Washington Post, Politico]
Python Found in Apartment Hallway — An Arlington animal control officer recovered a python from an apartment hallway Tuesday morning, prompting an article in by the Washington Post’s Martin Weil. In his signature style, Weil notes that “matters appeared to end satisfactorily.” [Washington Post, Twitter]
Developer, 91, Wants to Move Into New Building — Longtime local developer Marvin Weissberg is enthusiastic about the 24-story, 407-unit residential tower he’s proposing to replace the RCA building in Rosslyn. So enthusiastic is Weissberg, 91, that he says he wants to move in when it’s completed. [Washington Business Journal]
Nearby: Shooting at Congressional Baseball Practice — A gunman opened fire at a Republican congressional baseball practice in Alexandria this morning, wounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a number of congressional aides and two police officers. The gunman was reportedly shot by U.S. Capitol Police. [Fox News, Twitter]
Anyone else get a text message like this today? The recipient of this text was NOT the voter whose name and address was listed. pic.twitter.com/RPbgeBX46p
— Arlington News (@ARLnowDOTcom) June 9, 2017
(Updated 5:55 p.m.) With statewide primary elections just days away, late last week numerous local residents reported receiving text messages encouraging them to vote, but with incorrect information including their name and polling place.
Multiple readers reported receiving texts this weekend from a group identifying itself as “NextGen Virginia.” The texts use what they say is publicly available information on voters’ names, addresses and polling place, and reminds them to vote on Tuesday in the primary elections for Governor and Lt. Governor.
But for many, the information was incorrect.
Some, who live in the Fairlington area, were to vote at Abingdon Elementary School, which is under construction and so not a designated polling place this year. More received texts intended for someone else, sometimes containing that individual’s address; one, for instance, was sent to the mobile phone number of the intended recipient’s sister.
— Kevin (@surrrewhynot) June 9, 2017
I got two of these both addressed to my wife. Couldn't find anything about them. Blocked both numbers. https://t.co/jwkb3kfbUB
— Frank L (@nationals101) June 10, 2017
I just got one too. Right name, wrong address, and I've never been registered because I'm not a citizen.
— Alex Perry (@alexandertperry) June 10, 2017
Linda Lindberg, the county’s director of elections, said she had no details on the group involved but said voters should check all their information before going to the polls. The county has been tweaking its precincts and voting locations since last year, when two new voting districts were added.
“We encourage all voters to check their voting locations at vote.virginia.gov before they go to the polls,” Lindberg said. “This is especially important because we’re had some changes since the last election. All affected voters were sent notices in April, but some may have overlooked the notices.”
A representative of the state chapter of NextGen Climate, which advocates for political action to prevent what it calls “climate disaster,” said it has been sending text messages to potential voters, and may have received incorrect data to help it do so.
“NextGen volunteers are sending text messages to a list of young people from numbers we get from a reputable political data firm,” a NextGen spokeswoman said. “No list is perfect, which may occasionally lead to people getting text messages intended for other people. Our text messages inform people that if they live at the address that we assume they live at based on publicly available data, then they vote at a particular voting location. Again, this is based on the best publicly available election data.
“Our goal is to increase turnout in the gubernatorial primaries, and we believe text messages will help us do that. Texting can provide the electorate with critical information on how to participate in the voting process.”
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