Arlington, VA

Democratic state Senate opponents Barbara Favola and Jaime Areizaga-Soto both have dueling negative “truth” web sites — The Truth About Barbara Favola and The Truth About Jaime Areizaga-Soto — so it’s only natural that corresponding Twitter accounts would be launched for each.

Yesterday, within hours of one another, “ComeCleanJaime” and “Pay2PlayBabs” began Tweeting out dirt about the candidates.

“My vote is up for sale to the highest bidder,” proclaims the Pay2PlayBabs account. “Special deals for Republicans and Developers!”

“Jaime said he was ‘lead attorney’ on ‘oil and gas pipelines’ projects. Now he says he did ‘no pipeline work.’ REALLY?” asked the ComeCleanJaime account.

ComeCleanJaime says it’s paid for by the Favola campaign, although we’ve yet to confirm its authenticity. The Areizaga-Soto campaign, meanwhile, denied that it’s behind Pay2PlayBabs.

“Our campaign does not condone the account @Pay2PlayBabs,” the campaign said on its official Twitter account. “We’ve got 20 days, let’s keep it focused on the issues.”

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Barbara Favola’s campaign has turned up the heat on fellow Democrat Jaime Areizaga-Soto in an already contentious senate race.

Today the Favola campaign launched a website attacking Areizaga-Soto, claiming he had involvement with oil companies.  The site also states that one of Areizaga-Soto’s “main clients”, Petrobras, was responsible for 11 oil spills.

Areizaga-Soto’s campaign manager has responded to the allegations on the website by stating, “It is a sign of desperation that the Favola campaign has decided to attack Jaime using an exaggerated six degrees of separation attack. While Jaime serves our country in uniform, Favola is partnering with Ken Cuccinelli’s allies to fund her Senate campaign, breaking the Arlington County Code of Ethics and giving herself a 60% pay-raise while doing it.”

The Areizaga-Soto campaign launched its own website going after Favola.  It’s largely devoted to questioning Favola’s acceptance of campaign donations.

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The LGBT Democrats of Virginia and the Virginia Partisans PAC announced a series of endorsements in local races for state Senate and the House of Delegates this morning.

The PAC has endorsed Del. Adam Ebbin, who’s running in the 30th state Senate district and Jaime Areizaga-Soto, who’s running in the 31st state Senate district. The group also endorsed both candidates who are running in the 49th House of Delegates district: Alfonso Lopez and Stephanie Clifford.

While saying that Ebbin’s two primary opponents — Rob Krupicka and Libby Garvey — would be “strong allies,” and while expressing confidence that Areizaga-Soto’s opponent — Barbara Favola — would “vote on the side of equality” — the LGBT Dems nonetheless sided with Ebbin and Areizaga-Soto.

See the group’s press release, after the jump.

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The war of words between Democratic state Senate candidates Barbara Favola and Jaime Areizaga-Soto continued today.

Following Areizaga-Soto’s criticism of Favola’s campaign contributors, and the recent release of new fundraising disclosures, Favola’s campaign went on the offensive today and attacked the source of the $160,000 in personal funds Areizaga-Soto loaned to his own campaign.

The Favola campaign issued the following press release this afternoon:

Jaime Areizaga-Soto and his supporters continue to attack Barbara Favola and her campaign contributors.  As an elected official, Barbara has always been 100% transparent with her voting record, expenses, campaign contributions and expenditures. Today, the Favola campaign is asking Mr. Areizaga-Soto to meet that same standard.

“Jaime is self-funding his campaign with an unprecedented amount of personal money. He calls himself a ‘self-made man’ and we respect that.” said Adam Scott Favola’s Campaign Manager,” But we also think voters have a right to know how he made himself.”

According to his resume, Jaime Areizaga-Soto worked for some of the world’s largest corporate law firms and “major international corporations.”  His resume also says he was “lead attorney” for development projects involving “gas-fired power plants, electricity turbines, toll-roads, oil and gas pipelines, electricity transmission lines and refineries.”

“The international developers and corporations, where Jaime made himself, prioritize profits over people and Barbara Favola has never done that.” Adam Scott.

Areizaga-Soto, meanwhile, responded by telling ARLnow.com that the money he loaned to his campaign was the result of hard work and diligent savings.

“My opponent has the advantage of $25,000 checks from developers she green-lit for multi-million dollar projects, as well as thousands of dollars from a funder that has given over $175,000 to right-wing republicans like Ken Cuccinelli,” he said in a brief emailed statement. “I’ve worked hard all my life and saved diligently. I’m grateful to have the ability and honored to make the investment in the opportunity to serve in the Virginia Senate.”

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Quarterly finance reports are out for Arlington’s state Senate races.

In the heated 31st District contest between County Board member Barbara Favola and Army National Guard JAG officer Jaime Areizaga-Soto, Favola won the fundraising battle and conserved her cash.

Favola received $130,414.68 in contributions during the second quarter of 2011, compared to Areizaga-Soto’s $73,816.00. Areizaga-Soto also took out $145,000 in net debt during the period, but only ended up with $41,137.84 cash in hand thanks to a whopping $177,678.16 in spending. Favola spent $74,764.67 and ended with $112,909.01 cash in hand.

Favola may face renewed criticism of her willingness to accept money from developers and other interests with business before the County Board. All told, Favola accepted nearly $35,000 in donations from real estate, development and hotel companies.

Among the donations were $5,000 from JBG Companies executive Walter Coker, $2,500 from Monday Properties executive Timothy Helmig, $2,500 from IDI Group CEO Giuseppe Cecchi, $1,000 from The Bozzuto Group’s Thomas Bozzuto, and $1,000 from MRP Realty executive Robert Murphy. She also accepted donations from representatives of Vornado/Charles E. Smith, the B.F. Saul Company, McCaffrey Interests, and Cushman & Wakefield.

Additionally, Favola accepted a $2,500 donation from Advanced Towing owner John O’Neill, $1,000 from Red Top Cab and $500 from Enviro-Cab partner April Hess. All three firms are subject to special county regulations. Political supporters Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, Sen. Janet Howell, and Sen. Dick Saslaw collectively contributed $32,000 $42,000 to Favola.

Areizaga-Soto, meanwhile, raised a significant portion of his money from friends and family in his native Puerto Rico. He raised more than $21,000 from donors in the American territory. Areizaga-Soto’s fellow attorneys were also generous. He raised $18,700 from donors identified as attorneys.

Areizaga-Soto’s largest individual donor was Carlos Del Toro, the CEO of a service disabled veteran-owned engineering and consulting firm in Stafford, Va. Del Toro donated a total of $5,250 to Areizaga-Soto.

The winner of the primary race between Favola and Areizaga-Soto will face Republican Caren Merrick in the fall. Merrick raised $136,031.25 during the quarter and has $153,499.90 cash on hand.

In the three-way Democratic primary race for the 30th District state Senate seat, Arlington County School Board member Libby Garvey captured the fundraising crown.

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Barbara Favola’s state Senate campaign is defending a telephone poll that erroneously identified Democratic primary opponent Jaime Areizaga-Soto as a Republican.

The poll, conducted on behalf of the Favola campaign, asked residents negative questions about both candidates. In a statement, the Favola campaign said calling Areizaga a Republican was a “clerical error.”

The Barbara Favola for State Senate Campaign is in the field with a standard political tracking poll.

The final question of the poll asked:

If the election in the Democratic Primary were held today, would you vote for Jaime Areizaga-Soto, the Republican, or Barbara Favola, the Democrat?

The wording of this question is obviously incorrect, and it was caused by a simple cut-and-paste, clerical error.

When the error was brought to our attention, we immediately fixed the question.

Any suggestion this was done as a campaign tactic is entirely incorrect. We apologize if this clerical error caused any confusion among the people who received our poll call.

The kerfuffle, which comes on the heels of criticism of Areizaga-Soto’s negative mailers, has prompted one local political-type to endorse Areizaga-Soto. Ben Tribbett, who was once considering a run for the 31st District state Senate seat that’s being vacated by state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, says that he’s “disappointed” with Favola.

His endorsement statement (after the jump) mimics Del. Bob Brink’s endorsement of Favola, which decried “Karl Rove-style mudslinging” in the race.

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Update at 4:45 p.m. — The Washington Post reports that Favola has ordered her pollster to stop calling Areizaga-Soto a “Republican” during the poll.

The Jaime Areizaga-Soto state Senate campaign, criticized last week for its negative campaign mailers, is now fighting back against a telephone poll apparently conducted on behalf of opponent Barbara Favola’s campaign.

According to three independent sources who received the calls, the pollster gave “negative quotes” about both Democratic candidates and asked the respondents to evaluate each. Most of the quotes, however, focused on Areizaga-Soto. Among the reported questions:

  • How do you feel about Areizaga-Soto claiming to be a “senior advisor” to Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple – who has endorsed Favola — when the temporary position only paid several hundred dollars?
  • How do you feel about Areizaga-Soto’s work on behalf of several corporations, at least one of which may have been criticized for environmental violations?
  • How do you feel about Areizaga-Soto’s work as a Bush administration White House fellow and as a Treasury Department staffer during the financial crisis?
  • How do you feel about trips and gifts Favola accepted while serving on the County Board?

“Having worked on several campaigns, the poll was a standard way to test negative messages before bringing them on the field [sic],” one call recipient told ARLnow.com. “The District 31 state Senate race is about to get a bunch nastier.”

According to sources and the Areizaga-Soto campaign, the calls were conducted by a polling firm on behalf of the Favola campaign. Favola spokesperson Mary Lawson confirmed that the campaign is conducting a telephone poll this week.

“Democrats in the 31st District deserve to know the facts so they can make an educated choice,” Areizaga-Soto said. “My campaign has been tough — we’ve pointed out some uncomfortable facts about who funds my opponent — but I have been and will always be honest.”

Areizaga-Soto campaign spokesperson said the poll contained “exaggerations” about the candidate, but did not elaborate.

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Two fellow Democrats are taking state Senate candidate Jaime Areizaga-Soto to task for campaign mailers sharply critical of his opponent, County Board member Barbara Favola.

The latest mailer shows Favola between Gov. Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli with the headline “These politicians have a lot in common” — a reference to the fact that all three have accepted donations from local real estate developer, philanthropist and Republican political donor Preston Caruthers. (Favolva accepted a $5,000 donation from Caruthers.)

“I’m disappointed that my friend Jaime Areizaga-Soto has been persuaded that victory in the primary can be achieved through slick negative campaign mailings,” Del. Bob Brink said in a statement said in a statement last night.

Brink, who intended to stay neutral in the race, said he’s now endorsing Favola because of Areizaga-Soto’s negative mailers.

“Voters in our region have shown repeatedly that they want their public officials to talk about the issues that touch their daily lives, and that they have little tolerance for Karl Rove-style mudslinging,” he said. “Any candidate who doesn’t understand that is unqualified to represent us.”

Technology consultant and Not Larry Sabato blogger Ben Tribbett, who was once considering a run in the 31st District state Senate race, took particular exception with Areizaga-Soto’s accusation that Favola “sold her vote” to developers.

“We have so many voters in Arlington who are national political people, they’re too savvy to be misled like that,” Tribbett said. “I agree with Jaime, I don’t think that Barbara should be accepting donations from developers. It creates the appearance of impropriety. But she’s not doing anything illegal and she certainly has not sold her vote. If she sold her vote she would be in prison… Making an accusation like that really crosses the line.”

“I think a hard-nosed primary campaign on legitimate issues would be welcome,” Tribbett added. “That being said, I think the mailings are way too negative, they’re not factually accurate… and I think that Jaime loses a lot of credibility when he overstates his case.”

Favola has been fighting back against the Areizaga-Soto campaign’s allegations.

“My opponent has decided that the only way he can win is to peddle untruths, distort the facts and use personal attacks,” Favola said last month. “I have always been transparent on where I stand on the issues and I have always been loyal to my values. I have never sold my vote to anyone, ever.”

The comparison to McDonnell and Cuccinelli, meanwhile, is a serious allegation in a Democratic primary. In a debate at Wednesday’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting, Areizaga-Soto repeatedly referenced the two Republicans, calling their agenda “the biggest threat for the well-being and for the future of our Commonwealth.”

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State Senate candidate Jaime Areizaga-Soto is pulling no punches when it comes to criticism of his Democratic primary opponent, County Board member Barbara Favola.

An Areizaga-Soto campaign mailer sent to local homes this week accuses Favola of “[selling] her vote to real-estate developers.”

“Barbara Favola thinks it’s OK to get paid for her votes,” the mailer says. “Favola took $25,000 from developer John Shooshan after she voted to allow construction on his multi-million dollar project.”

“Favola takes campaign cash wherever she can get it,” the mailer added. “One of [her] developer contributors also gave thousands of dollars to right-wing Republicans like Ken Cuccinelli and Bob McDonnell. Preston Caruthers is a real-estate developer who has given over $175,000 to Virginia Republican campaigns and committees. Barbara Favola has also taken thousands of dollars from Caruthers while serving on the Arlington County Board, where he does business.”

Areizaga-Soto has previously said that Favola should return the developer donations or resign from the County Board.

The Favola campaign, in turn, is firing back at what they call a “negative attack.”

My opponent has decided that the only way he can win is to peddle untruths, distort the facts and use personal attacks. In a recent mailer, Jaime Areizaga-Soto makes the inaccurate claim that my votes are for sale. That’s just not true. Here’s the truth.

I have always been transparent on where I stand on the issues and I have always been loyal to my values. I have never sold my vote to anyone, ever.

Since I am not independently wealthy, I need donations from members of the community to fund this campaign and am humbled that so many individuals, from all walks of life, are supporting me. I have always declined contributions from developers who would appear before the County Board and have done so in this Senate Campaign. However, I’ve learned that when you fight for children and families, safe communities, progressive environmental policies and good paying jobs you need every sector of the community with you.

I think this Democratic Primary should be about our real records, hopes and visions for the future.

The mailer features an ARLnow.com photograph of Favola. The Areizaga-Soto campaign did not ask for nor receive our permission to use the photo.

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State Senate candidate Jaime Areizaga-Soto says his Democratic primary opponent, Barbara Favola, should resign her position on the County Board.

Areizaga-Soto told the Blue Virginia web site that it is “not ethical” for Favola to accept tens of thousands of dollars from developers who have recently had business before the county. She “should resign from the board or return the money immediately,” Areizaga-Soto said.

Earlier this year, Favola told ARLnow.com that her vote “can’t be bought.”

“People are contributing to me because they respect me and have confidence in me,” she said. “Everything here is reported, there is nothing illegal about what I have received.”

Favola and Areizaga-Soto are running for the 31st District state Senate seat, which is being vacated by the retiring Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple. The primary is scheduled for Aug. 23.

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After its first plan was vetoed by Gov. Bob McDonnell, the Democrat-controlled state Senate has approved a modified plan drawn up by a bipartisan group of senators.

The plan, however, does not change the serpentine borders of the 31st District, which will stretch from North Arlington to Loudoun County along the Potomac River. Likewise, the 30th District will remain unchanged from the first plan, which took away a bit of South Arlington territory from the district’s borders.

If approved by Gov. McDonnell as expected, the plan will place McLean millionaire Caren Merrick within the borders of the 31st District. Merrick has already announced her intention of running for the state Senate as a Republican.

Merrick would face the winner of a Democratic primary battle between Barbara Favola and Lt. Col. Jaime Areizaga-Soto. Democratic technology consultant Ben Tribbett is mulling a run as well, but has been waiting for the district’s borders to be finalized before making a decision.

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