Karantonis, an economist and the former director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, captured 62.4% of the vote. He overperformed among absentee ballots, with 71% of the more than 10,000 absentee ballots cast amid the pandemic.
Susan Cunningham, who described herself as a “progressive Independent,” received 32.6% of the vote. A civically-involved professional and mother of two, Cunningham was endorsed in the race by John Vihstadt, the last non-Democrat to win a seat on the County Board.
Republican Bob Cambridge, a former CIA instructor, received 4.8% of the vote.
In all, 19,866 votes were cast — a turnout of 12.6% of the Arlington electorate. That’s below the 22,264 votes tallied in the 2014 special election, in which Vihstadt first won his seat on the Board.
Besides taking place during a pandemic, today’s election was also hampered by a relatively short campaigning period, and an election day just after the Fourth of July. Karantonis won the Democratic nomination in a closed caucus of about 250 local Democratic party insiders, as the party decried not having enough time to organize a broader primary or caucus.
Karantonis’ initial term on the Board will run through Dec. 31, 2021.
In a press release issued by the Arlington County Democratic Committee, Karantonis pledges “true progressive policies and effective leadership.”
“Arlington voters responded overwhelmingly to Takis’ positive, issues-oriented campaign, surmounting the unprecedented challenges posed by the coronavirus to elect an experienced leader to the County Board,” Arlington Democrats Chair Jill Caiazzo said. “Takis will be a leader for all Arlingtonians. He has the expertise and empathy to build on the impressive legacy of Erik Gutshall. We know he’ll serve Arlington well.”
During the campaign, Karantonis touted his status as an immigrant as a reason he’ll be particularly effective during these fraught times for the country. He has been a resident of Arlington for 14 years, currently living with his wife in the Arlington Village neighborhood.
“As an immigrant and a first-time candidate, I did not expect to receive the overwhelming amount of support from Arlingtonians throughout every zip code in our county,” Karantonis said shortly after the election was called. “Our victory is meaningful for two specific reasons: it is the recognition of my many years of civic engagement in Arlington and it serves as a testament to Arlington voters’ expectation of true progressive policies and effective leadership.”
Karantonis previously served as executive director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, and now directs micro-lending for the Ethiopian Community Development Council, an Arlington-based nonprofit. He serves as vice chair of the Alliance for Housing Solutions, and previously was president of the Columbia Heights Civic Association and board chair of Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (now known as EcoAction Arlington). A native of Greece, Karantonis lived and worked in several European countries before immigrating to the United States. He speaks eight languages.
Cunningham, in a statement, thanked her opponents “for a spirited and hard-fought race” and wished Karantonis well on the County Board.
“Tonight I want to thank each and every voter in Arlington,” Cunningham said. “And I also want to thank my daughters and my husband, along with an incredible army of volunteers, who pulled out all the stops during a pandemic. This was always an uphill battle — not just against my opponents but also against an entrenched one-party system in Arlington… I truly hope we started some important conversations about the perils of one-party rule and the need for greater accountability.”
“I hope all of our elected officials will get serious about transparency, accountability, and improved School-County collaboration,” Cunningham concluded. “I have been deeply honored to meet and talk with so many Arlington residents. I look forward to many more discussions in the future.”
More on the turnout from the county elections office:
100% of precincts have reported.
~135 outstanding provisional ballots. 126 because voters issued Mail Ballot.
Turnout = 12.6%: 9,648 from Precincts, 10,294 Early + Mail. 52% of votes cast before Election Day. #ArlingtonHistory #VAIsForVoters
Until the next one #Countdown2020
— Arlington Elections (@ArlingtonVotes) July 8, 2020
Arlington has a long history of Special Elections for County Board. Here's a snapshot of turnout. It's still pretty quiet at our precincts with 1 hour left to vote. What's your prediction for total turnout today? #ElectionData #Elections pic.twitter.com/q2GeimOoQq
— Arlington Elections (@ArlingtonVotes) July 7, 2020
While many elections are spaced out over months, sometimes even years at the presidential level, three Arlington candidates have been running for County Board in a 61-day sprint towards the special election on July 7.
“It’s unprecedented and extremely short,” said Karantonis. “We have the COVID-19 [pandemic] and it is a special election [held] right after Fourth of July. Everything you can imagine that is non-typical for an election is typical for this one.”
The 61-Day Campaigns
The special election was triggered by County Board member Erik Gutshall’s resignation in April. Ten days later, Gutshall died after a battle with brain cancer. On May 7, Karantonis bested three other candidates to be chosen as the Democratic nominee in a closed caucus.
Karantonis, and economist and the former director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, faces opposition in the election from Cunningham, a business executive and independent who has been involved in several major planning efforts, and Cambridge, a Republican and former instructor in the CIA.
For each candidate, it’s been a struggle to adapt over the span of weeks to national and local changes — from the phased reopening to the Black Lives Matter protests after the death of George Floyd.
“It was right at the end of April [when Gutshall resigned], ” Cunningham said. “I mulled it over, talked it over, then filed before the end of the month and before the party caucuses. It was not particularly premeditated — it was an unusual time with a lot of grieving and a lot of need. The rest of us were shaken by Erik’s death and we had to get a lot of signatures in the middle of the pandemic.”
Without a party infrastructure to back her up, Cunningham said she has had to take a grassroots approach in a compressed election cycle when traditional door-to-door campaigning grassroots tactics weren’t viable. Cunningham considered throwing her hat into the ring for the Democratic primary but said she felt more comfortable running as an independent.
“I thought long and hard about whether to run as an independent because there’s only, like, one example of that working,” Cunningham said, referring to independent John Vihstadt’s victories over Democratic candidates until he was bested in 2018. “It really was a values-based decision. I’ve always through local government should be non-partisan. The issues are not the national party issues; it’s potholes and schools.” Read More
The special election candidates — Takis Karantonis (D), Bob Cambridge (R) and Susan Cunningham (I) — all called for a focus on equity and discussed ways to navigate a tighter county budget.
Karantonis, who serves as vice-chair of the Alliance for Housing Solutions and is former executive director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, laid out a several-pronged approach to how to focus the budget as the county works to manage a more limited revenue stream.
“COVID is an unexpected stress on our budget,” Karantonis said. “Citizens expect to have a government that reacts to such unexpected impacts. Right now, don’t know how deep or broad COVID economic impact will be. The focus [should be] social safety net expenditures as our first priority. Five-thousand families are on food assistance and the region has lost 300,000 jobs.”
Karantonis said in reviewing capital investments, the County Board should prioritize those that leverage external funding, like state and federal grants. Other priorities, he said, include micro-loans to help small businesses get back on their feet and trying to rescue Metro and the Arlington Transit bus service, which have seen substantial ridership losses during the pandemic.
“Then [we can] come out of this with a better base to decide how we will structure the county later,” Takis said. “I’m an economist, I’m trained to do this, and I’ve done it in the private sector and non-profit sector. The best focus is on economic development to rebound.”
Cambridge, an Army veteran and former CIA employee who works as a lawyer in Arlington, said his campaign is built on the idea that different political ideologies have good ideas that can contribute to each other. Cambridge said his approach to recovery would be built on incorporating more flexibility into the budget to address these sorts of crises.
“The budget is highly strained right now,” Cambridge said. “We have got to be flexible and respond as our understanding of challenges become more and more obvious. We do have a lot of city services we need. That is the sinews we all need. We really need to do things in a different way.”
Cunningham, who worked at the Internal Revenue Service and founded the nonprofit EdBuild, said the county should do more to improve how projects are financed.
“There are a lot of opportunities in our budget for improving our spending,” Cunningham said. “Not eliminating, but improving implementation. Our projects take too long, our community engagement takes too long, we don’t look back and do audits of capital programs. There’s a lot of room to improve and be more accountable.”
Cunningham said the budget should prioritize updating the outdated infrastructure, particularly Arlington’s stormwater and flood mitigation systems.
Cunningham and Cambridge both argued for a data-driven approach to solving issues of inequality on Arlington.
“Data and facts should guide us,” Cunningham said. “Our data elements tell us the story of suspensions that begin in kindergarten for black and brown children at much higher rates, and of COVID outcomes right now with over 50% of cases in the Hispanic community. The numbers tell us where we’re doing okay and where we’re not. We should use that to guide our efforts and evaluate the implementation of changes.”
Karantonis argued addressing inequality in Arlington has to go deeper than data and statistics, though, and must look at how different communities in Arlington are prioritized or ignored in county discussions. He pointed to a situation where he said the civic association of a historically Black neighborhood was overlooked in county discussions.
“We have to be active about doing this… including restorative justice efforts and looking at the educational system, making sure people have access to resources,” Takis said. “The numbers are great, but what matters is how people feel.”
Also during the debate, the candidates discussed transit on Columbia Pike. None — including Karantonis, a booster of the Pike streetcar plan while at CPRO — expressed an interest in reviving the cancelled streetcar project, though the candidates “did press for increased attention to mass-transit along the Columbia Pike corridor, and leveled criticism at the county government for not acting fast enough or going far enough in meeting the transit needs of residents there,” the Sun Gazette reported.
The special election is scheduled to be held on July 7.
Image via Arlington Committee of 100
(Updated at 1:25 p.m.) Around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, a motorcade arrived at a Rosslyn office building.
After it was over, he sent out a tweet: “Stopped by to see the great men and women of the Trump-Pence Team today! Thank you for all of the hard work, keep it up! #FourMoreYears #KAG”
The tweet showed Pence standing in front of a sea of staff members in the Arlington office, with everyone flashing Trump’s signature double thumbs-up.
The problem: staffers were not social distancing and no one was wearing masks, a likely violation of Virginia’s mask requirement for indoor public spaces, as pointed out by local Democratic operative Ben Tribbett. Shortly after he did, Pence’s tweet was deleted.
Arlington’s Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), a stalwart critic of the president, piled on with more criticism.
“This isn’t ‘law and order,'” Beyer said, in reference to Trump’s antagonistic tweets. “It’s a huge problem.”
Pence and dozens who work for Trump flagrantly violating Virginia public health orders that face coverings be worn at any “indoor place shared by groups of people who are in close proximity to each other.”https://t.co/eSDHYuY3Hk
This isn’t “law and order,” it’s a huge problem. https://t.co/6776TmAQR7
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) June 11, 2020
Arlington and Falls Church Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti said in a statement Thursday afternoon that no laws were broken that her office can prosecute. She said workplaces are exempted from rules about large gatherings, while the mask requirement is enforced by Virginia Dept. of Health, not local law enforcement.
My statement on the Vice President's Photo-Op. pic.twitter.com/IoajEqDd1e
— Arlington & Falls Church Virginia CA (@CA4Arlington) June 11, 2020
The full press release about the incident from Beyer’s office is below.
Former Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt has endorsed a fellow independent in the July 7 County Board special election.
Vihstadt, who won a historic victory in 2014 before losing his reelection bid in 2018, said in a statement today that Cunningham is a civic leader who will “bring a renewed focus on valuing what’s essential in an open, transparent, and equitable way.” Cunningham said she welcomed the endorsement and is committed to nonpartisan governance.
More from a press release:
“I came to know and respect Susan’s community accomplishments during my County Board tenure. As demonstrated by her collaborative leadership on the Joint Facilities Advisory Commission (JFAC) and on the planning body for the renovated and expanded Dorothy Hamm (formerly Stratford) Middle School, she has a knack for bringing diverse minds together, cutting to the chase, and getting things done,” said Vihstadt.
Vihstadt continued, “We live in precarious times. Susan’s sober, well-informed and independent outlook on what local government can and can’t afford is exactly what the Board needs right now. She’ll speak truth to power and bring a renewed focus on valuing what’s essential in an open, transparent, and equitable way.”
“I am very proud to have earned John’s endorsement,” said Cunningham. “Like John, I’ll bring inclusive, non-partisan leadership, listen to all perspectives, and ask tough questions,” Cunningham added. “John proved that an Independent candidate can win in Arlington. Serving on the Board is not about advancing partisan agendas or political stepping-stones. It’s about doing what is right for all of Arlington — full stop.”
Cunningham’s campaign website — which adopts Vihstadt’s signature purple color — describes the Yale-educated mother of two as “a seasoned executive, entrepreneur, engineer, education reformer, and community leader” who “builds collaborative solutions that break through the status quo without breaking the bank.”
“From COVID-19 to school capacity and Amazon, the next few years will be among the most challenging in Arlington’s history,” the website says. “Susan brings the context and skills Arlington needs now, to act swiftly on top priorities for residents and businesses.”
Among the two other candidates in the race, Karantonis is an economist by training and the former director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization. His website says he is “committed to ensuring that our community builds on our legacy of safe and walkable neighborhoods; ethnic and cultural diversity; excellent schools, public places and facilities; fiscal responsibility and accountable governance; and an unwavering commitment to community involvement.”
Cambridge’s website acknowledges the long odds of a Republican being elected in deep blue Arlington, and adds a bit of self-deprecating humor.
“While success is unlikely – there have been no Republican members of the Arlington County Board since 1983 – it is an opportunity to share some ideas and that is to my mind well worth doing,” the website says. A banner at the top reads: “Committee to Elect Bob Cambridge: So far that’s just me, but I am working on convincing my wife.”
Cambridge, an Army veteran who now works as an attorney, says he wants “to see more effective and efficient use of the taxes that I pay each year” and “more ideas can advance that agenda.”
1st Batch of ballots for the July 7 Special Election for County Board are in the mail!
It's not too late to request your mail ballot today. https://t.co/9mSGavgE2F #VaIsForVoters #ElectionReady #VoteByMail #StaySafe #VoteAtHome pic.twitter.com/gZnyFrHQ1F
— Arlington Elections (@ArlingtonVotes) May 21, 2020
While Arlington Democrats work to select a nominee internally, Susan Cunningham — a civically-involved mother of two — has announced her intention to run as an independent to fill the seat of the late Erik Gutshall.
“I believe good local government is non-partisan,” she said in her announcement Tuesday morning. “We are all Arlingtonians; I want to work for Arlington’s common good, regardless of party.”
Cunningham outlined a wonky policy agenda, anchored by “data-driven solutions that are financially sound and make Arlington a great place to live and to do business.” Among her priorities are:
- Planning processes for north-south corridors like Glebe Road and George Mason Drive, similar to efforts underway for Lee Highway (of which she is a participant.)
- “Needs-based budgeting and efficient delivery of core services,” including “proactive investments in sustainable infrastructure like stormwater, sewers, and emergency management.”
- Improving transparency and access to public information, while “streamlining community engagement processes to make them more fair, less cumbersome, and more equitable.”
- Long-term planning for public facilities and “selective upzoning to enhance business viability and housing choice and affordability.”
The filing deadline for candidates to run in the July 7 special election is this Friday at 5 p.m. Arlington County General Registrar Gretchen Reinemeyer tells ARLnow that she has “received some inquiries” from independent candidates, but so far only Cunningham has filed partial paperwork.
One candidate not likely to run: former independent County Board member John Vihstadt.
“While many of you have encouraged me to run in the July 7 special election for the remainder of Erik’s term, I’m enjoying being back into law practice full-time,” he told supporters in an email on Monday. “I’m inclined not to run and am channeling my commitment to Arlington in myriad other ways. But these are precarious times, and I hope someone will still step forward to run who (a) shows a blend of civic leadership and fresh ideas, (b) has a sober, well-informed and independent outlook on what local government can and can’t afford and (c) will question authority and speak truth to power.”
Arlington’s elections office, meanwhile, is expected to announce today that it will not be running a party nomination event ahead of the November County Board general election. The expected announcement comes after Libby Garvey’s would-be challenger, Chanda Choun, withdrew from the primary in order to seek the Democratic nod in the special election. Polls will still be open June 23 for a Republican U.S. Senate primary.
With elections in June and July, and a presidential election in November — all amid the coronavirus pandemic and some legally uncharted territory — Reinemeyer said Arlington election officials have been keeping “very busy” in 2020.
The full announcement from Cunningham is below, after the jump.
Barring an intervention by state lawmakers and Gov. Ralph Northam, in support of which the local party has gathered more than 750 petition signatures, the nominee will be chosen by dozens of party insiders in a closed caucus next Wednesday.
The four candidates seeking the Democratic nod are School Board member Barbara Kanninen, former Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization director Takis Karantonis, ARLnow columnist and former state Senate candidate Nicole Merlene, and Chanda Choun, who withdrew from the County Board primary to run in for the special election instead.
To give rank-and-file Democrats a chance to hear from the four candidates, the Arlington County Democratic Committee will be holding an online candidate forum this weekend.
More from ACDC:
As it stands now, the Arlington Democrats have no option but to select the Democratic nominee through a closed virtual caucus, which involves a vote by the members of its Steering Committee and County Committee that will conclude by May 7.
Despite these difficult circumstances, the Arlington Democrats remain committed to making sure that ALL Arlington Democrats have the opportunity to hear from the candidates running for this position. To that end, we are pleased to bring you a Virtual Candidate Forum, this Sunday, May 3, at 1:00pm in partnership with the Arlington Young Democrats. RSVP here and on Sunday, you can join the forum here. […]
You can submit your questions for the candidates here! All questions must be submitted by Saturday, at 5pm! Make sure you learn about each candidate, listed in alphabetical order below, before the Candidate Forum on Sunday!
The local party and the County Board are both pushing for state intervention in order to push the special election back and allow time for a vote-by-mail caucus open to all Arlington Democrats.
An online petition launched by party to push the nomination deadline back by two months has so far gathered more than 800 signatures. The County Board, meanwhile, voted unanimously on Thursday to petition the Virginia Supreme Court to intervene and push the election “to August 4, 2020 or later.”
More from a county press release:
The Board adopted a resolution saying the July 7, 2020 special election date ordered by the Circuit Court of Arlington to fill the vacancy “poses significant, unnecessary risks to public health, jeopardizing election officials, candidates, and the members of the public participating in the election process, and seriously undermining participation in it,” due to the novel coronavirus pandemic state and local emergency.
The Board voted 4-0 to adopt the resolution.
State law “provides that, when an emergency has been declared by the Governor, the Governor may postpone an election by executive order to a date not exceeding fourteen days from the original date of the election,” the resolution notes, “and further provides that, where the local governing body determines a longer postponement is required, the governing body may petition a three-judge panel of the Virginia Supreme Court to extend the special election to a date it deems appropriate not to exceed thirty days from the original date of the election.”
Arlington Republicans are working to recruit their own candidate for the County Board special election, the Sun Gazette reported today, noting that a former County Board member is also considering his options.
“John Vihstadt, who served from 2014-18 as an independent, has suggested he is not inclined to run, but has not entirely ruled out a bid,” the paper reported.
(Updated at 5:40 p.m.) Arlington residents will select a new County Board member on July 7, following the resignation of the late Erik Gutshall.
Earlier this afternoon, Arlington Circuit Court Chief Judge William T. Newman, Jr. set Tuesday, July 7 as the special election date for Gutshall’s successor, who serve out the rest of his term through the end of 2021.
State law “provides that the special election shall be held not less than sixty days and not more than eighty days after the occurrence of the vacancy,” Newman noted in his decision. It cannot be held “within the fifty-five days prior to a general or primary election.” The statewide Virginia non-presidential primary this year is scheduled for June 23.
Late Friday afternoon, in an emergency meeting, Arlington’s Electoral Board set a candidate filing deadline of Friday, May 8.
Candidate Filing deadline is Fri, May 8th, 5pm for the July 7, 2020 Special Election for County Board. We are working w @vaELECT to get a candidate bulletin ready. If you want more info email us: [email protected] We're here to help!
— Arlington Elections (@ArlingtonVotes) April 24, 2020
Following the selection of the filing deadline, the Arlington County Democratic Committee announced that it would be holding a closed caucus among its Steering Committee and County Committee members, unless Gov. Ralph Northam and the state legislature act to push the special election date back.
More from an email sent by the local party to members:
Arlington Democrats believe a vote-by-mail nomination caucus open to all Democratic registered voters in Arlington would best serve the interests of democracy and Arlington voters in this unprecedented time of public health crisis. But, in order to meet the aggressive timeline set by the laws of Virginia, it is impossible to facilitate a vote-by-mail nomination process. This leaves the Arlington Democrats with no option but to select the Democratic nominee through a closed virtual caucus, which involves a vote by the members of its Steering Committee and County Committee that will conclude by May 7.
Arlington Democrats is prepared to transform this virtual nomination process — which is detailed in the Arlington Democrats’ new special election webpage — into a vote-by-mail process open to all Democratic registered voters in Arlington if the nomination period is extended to encompass a two-month period. Arlington Democrats is actively exploring options to achieve this extension, including through consultation with multiple legal counsel.
Arlington Democrats also is asking Governor Northam and the General Assembly to move the special election date so that political parties have the ability to hold an open nomination process, while respecting necessary social distancing measures. Please help us to fight for the voting rights of Arlington voters by signing this petition — act today!
The previously-sheduled June 9 primary will now shift back to June 23.
The Democratic primary sees incumbent County Board chair Libby Garvey facing off against challenger Chanda Choun. On the Republican side, there is a three-way primary among Daniel Gade, Thomas Speciale, Alissa Baldwin for U.S. Senate.
“As other states have shown, conducting an election in the middle of this global pandemic would bring unprecedented challenges and potential risk to voters and those who work at polling places across the Commonwealth,” Northam said in a press release. “Making these decisions now will help election officials prepare and implement the necessary changes. This is about protecting the health and safety of Virginians during this pandemic and ensuring our citizens can make their voices heard in a safe, fair, and uniform manner. I urge the General Assembly to do their part and take action to move our upcoming elections.”
Erik Gutshall’s resignation also leaves another empty seat on the County Board. County spokeswoman Mary Curtius said nothing has been decided yet about the special election for Gutshall’s seat.
Gretchen Reinemeyer, Director of Elections, said there are a number of state laws the County will have to sift through as it prepares for a potential special election.
“The Governor’s request that the legislature delay May town and city elections does not apply to our special election,” Reinemeyer said. “The Circuit Court will issue a writ setting the election date 60-80 days from the vacancy.”
Reinemeyer said the special election cannot happen before or on the same day as the primary.
Five candidates are also vying for two vacant spots on the School Board and are seeking the endorsement of the Arlington County Democratic Committee. Arlington Democrats announced earlier this week that it will be holding its endorsement caucus by mail.
Arlington Democrats say they’re planning to conduct the upcoming School Board endorsement caucus via the mail, due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“This extraordinary procedural change supports Virginia’s stay-at-home order and recommended social distancing measures necessitated by the global coronavirus pandemic,” the local party said, in a press release.
Starting today, Arlington Democrats can request a ballot online. The ballot request deadline if May 7, and the deadline for submitting the ballots is May 30.
There are five candidates — Steven Krieger, Cristina Diaz-Torres, David Priddy, Sandy Munnell, and Terron Sims — seeking the Democratic endorsement in the race for the School Board seats being vacated by incumbents Tannia Talento and Nancy Van Doren. A sixth candidate, Symone Walker, is no longer seeking the Democratic endorsement and is instead running as an independent.
The full press release about the vote-by-mail change is below.
After consulting with the five candidates seeking the endorsement of the Arlington County Democratic Committee to fill two open seats on the Arlington School Board, Arlington Dems today launched a process to conduct its endorsement caucus by mail. This extraordinary procedural change supports Virginia’s stay-at-home order and recommended social distancing measures necessitated by the global coronavirus pandemic.
“We had lengthy internal discussions about how to run our endorsement caucus responsibly during the coronavirus pandemic,” Arlington Dems Chair Jill Caiazzo said. “We determined that, given our available resources, the only safe and reliable option for a large-scale caucus is to conduct the vote by mail.”
The caucus will take place in four phases:
- Voter Validation and Ballot Request. Effective today (April 7) at 9 a.m. EDT, Arlington Dems will launch a secure online ballot request form via the Arlington Democrats website at www.arlingtondemocrats.org/school-board-caucus. To begin the process to receive a ballot, prospective voters will provide standard identifying information that will allow Arlington Dems to validate that they are Arlington County registered voters. Although online submission of the form is strongly preferred, a PDF version will be available for downloading and mailing to Arlington Dems. All ballot requests must be received (not postmarked) by May 7.
- Ballot Mailing. Registered voters whose requests are received by the May 7 deadline will receive their ballots by U.S. Postal Service mail. Ballots will be mailed on a rolling basis. Arlington Dems will include stamped, self-addressed envelopes with ballots, which voters are strongly encouraged to use to return their ballots. They will be returned to a post office box exclusively devoted to receiving School Board Caucus ballots.
- Voting. The deadline for receipt (not postmark) of completed ballots by Arlington Dems is May 30. Voters are strongly encouraged to immediately complete and return their ballots to ensure they are received by the deadline. Candidate representatives will be able to watch ballots being retrieved from the post office box and secured through live video-conferencing or in person, the latter provided they observe recommended social distancing measures. No ballots will be counted until all are collected after the May 30 deadline.
- Counting and results. Arlington Dems will begin counting the ballots the morning of May 31, or as soon as possible after that date. Observing recommended social distancing measures, Caucus leadership will open envelopes and validate the authenticity of enclosed ballots. Candidates or their representatives may observe the process via live video conferencing. Arlington Dems will use a process to anonymize ballots during the ballot counting, which will be conducted using a virtual procedure.
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