Home Virginia Politics I Just Got One of the Weirdest Phone Calls of My Life

I Just Got One of the Weirdest Phone Calls of My Life


I just had one of the weirdest – if not THE weirdest – phone calls of my life. I’ve been pondering for the past 15 minutes or so if I should even post about it, because it’s so weird, who the heck would believe me? In fact, I barely believe it myself; as I was on the phone, I kept saying to myself, “this can’t be happening, no way is this really happening, this is bizarre, WTF?!?”

But yes, it’s all true; I swear on a stack of Bibles, Torahs, secular humanist books (Lord of the Rings? lol), whatever. So, anyway, here’s the story:

I just got off the phone after a 10-15 minute call with 31st State Senate District candidate Barbara Favola. I actually had just finished watching the 49th House of Delegates district debate online, and the phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, but I picked it up anyway. Of all people, probably the last person I expected to hear from was Barbara Favola, but it was actually her, starting with, “I bet you don’t get candidates calling you very often asking for your vote!”

At first, I figured Favola must know who I was, as I interviewed her for 45 minutes at her house, have been writing profusely about her race, she said “hi Lowell,” etc. But, as the conversation went by, it became crystal clear that she had absolutely NO idea who she was talking to. I was even asking her very specific questions about the race that I doubt most people would ever ask, yet she still seemed to not have any idea whatsoever who I was.  I swear, this was surreal; I was standing there thinking, “no way this is really happening!”

How do I know for sure she didn’t realize who I was?  Well, she didn’t mention the blog. She didn’t mention that she realized I was supporting Jaime, but…  She asked me if I had seen her at the Arlington County Democratic Committee debate (I was sitting in the front row, videotaping, and then posted highlights on Blue Virginia). Perhaps most amusing, she kept saying how I should totally go by what the Washington Post said. Ha!!! I mean, if she knew in the least bit who she was talking to, she would know that I utterly despise the “Kaplan Post,” that if anything I’d do the EXACT OPPOSITE of what the Post said on anything, and she would NEVER have made that argument for my vote!  

Other interesting notes from the call:  

*Favola made a point of arguing that Jaime is Latino and has no base in this district, that there are almost no Latinos living here.  I’d say that was a bit…uh, odd.  

*When I pointed out to her that there aren’t many African Americans in the district either, yet Obama won it big time in both the primary and the general election, she said “fair point, but…Jaime’s no Barack Obama.”  (in response to that, I said, “in fairness, and no disrespect intended, but you’re no Hillary Clinton either.” She didn’t argue with that, at least! Ha.)

*I told Favola I wanted a representative in Richmond would be independent of party leaders. She said she’s VERY independent, very “clever,” would always do what she thinks is right and will get the job done.  

*Another good one: Favola claimed that being a woman candidate gives you 10 more points compared to being a man. I said I’d never heard of that before. She also claimed that people who care about a candidate’s business background  – which Jaime is emphasizing – would almost certainly  vote Republican. This was in the context of my asking her who would be strongest against Caren Merrick.

*I asked her about the towing company donation and her vote on that issue. She admitted that this could look bad, but insisted that there was absolutely NO impropriety there, just bad timing.  On her donations in general, she said she’s getting money from inside the district, while Jaime’s getting money from his friends and family “in Puerto Rico.” I noted that some of her money was from John Shooshan, and she basically ignored that comment and moved on, saying that Jaime had no base or experience in the district, while she did.

*She said that Jaime’s charges that she “sold her vote” were all “LIES!”

Bottom line: It was a weird, surreal conversation…especially since I’m 99.99% sure she had ZERO idea who she was talking to! I mean, how many “Lowell Feld”s are there in the 31st?  Honestly, this conversation made me wonder if Favola is “all there,” or whether she’s totally on “autopilot,” or what?!?  God, I wish I had taped this!

  • Can’t really say “oh, I knew it was you the whole time” but what else can she say?

  • sbenglin

    We’ve been hearing this same thing from voters, but she’s been pretty careful about not going to the “but he’s brown!” thing in public or on the record. Goodness.

  • This also makes me wonder about her staff. Obviously you’re not going to micromanage her phone calls, but staff usually does at least a quick run through of the list to see if there’s any really recognizable names that the candidate should be aware of. I know I’ve often given candidates a sentence or two of background info of folks I know when they’re on a call list. It’s just commonsense so something like this doesn’t happen.

  • Dave

    I’m on the ACDC Steering Committee, and she has introduced herself to me no less than 10, independent, times. It would be funny if it weren’t a little sad.

  • hastingsinarlington

    “Favola made a point of arguing that Jaime is Latino and has no base in this district, that there are almost no Latinos living here.  I’d say that was a bit…uh, odd.”

    No, not odd, it’s racist. To imply that a Latino has no business running in a district that is not predominantly Latino is to imply that Latinos cannot govern and are unelectable and don’t represent our country. That is racist. They do represent us Favola, check the latest census. After this Babs, please don’t say you’ll support the dream act any anymore, it’s disgusting.

    “On her donations in general, she said she’s getting money from inside the district, while Jaime’s getting money from his friends and family “in Puerto Rico.”

    That’s the point!! He has a clean record, she doesn’t. I much prefer my candidate get his donations from friends and family than from special interest groups in the district. Jaime’s donations show he has networks, trusted circles, colleagues that admire him, friends willing to invest. Barbara’s donations show a desperate D machinery and all the favors she will owe later.

    Jaime owes no favors and Barbara does. This of course bothers her so she brings up Puerto Rico again to see if she can distract you with another racist comment. I bet she is still trying to figure out how Latinos living on an island can contribute to a campaign. Aren’t they all brown and uneducated? Where do they get the money?

  • notlarrysabato

    JC Wilmore endorsed Barbara earlier this year.  Even though he recently retracted it, I can’t believe that he would endorse someone without fully vetting them.  😀

  • …numerous people have been regaling me with their own Barbara Favola stories, about how she couldn’t remember who they were, despite having met them 10, 15 times – even WORKED WITH THEM! – or whatever. It’s very, very strange.

  • Peter Rousselot

    Saslaw, Whipple, Brink, and apparently Favola herself have all revealed themselves as 21st Century disciples of the Byrd machine–as David Englin said yesterday. And, based on Lowell’s phone call with Favola, we have added in a shocking element of selective racism: “you people” can run in districts where “we” say it’s ok, but don’t you dare run in one of “our” districts. On August 23, we all need to rise up, vote for Jaime Areizaga-Soto and say: “This is America, and any of us can run for office and win in any district”.

    PS: This is personal for me. My mom was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and I occasionally experienced this kind of racism growing up. I thought we were way beyond that here in

    Arlington. Sad to learn I was wrong.

  • Will Radle

    As an independent candidate residing in southern Fairfax County, I know of your tireless dedication.  Thank you!

    Barbara Favola has no excuses!

  • NewVirginia

    We all know the “rules” about primaries: the Party and its leaders must stay out. And most Democrats who care about what the establishment thinks of them, decide that it is “best” to sit it out. That is fine — though it does get wearying to hear people, who have no idea of all the facts say things like, “It’s been sooo negative on both sides!” when it was the leadership that started going negative even before Jaime entered the race!

    But in a case of direct RACE-BAITING by a person who could well be a Democratic Senator of Virginia, there is no excuse for continued silence by anyone. No one is accusing anyone of being a racist — but you don’t have to BE a racist to use racist tactics to try to win a nomination.

    There should have been an instant apology by Favola — or an explanation if she was misquoted. And also demands for an apology by those in leadership positions. This is 2011 not 1911. This has been a travesty and an insult to ALL the voters of SD 31 — no matter what their race or ethnic background.


  • LyonParkVoter

    It is indisputable that there is a violation of the Arlington Code of Ethics due to Favola avoiding repeated perceived conflicts. Problem is that most of these career politicians are afraid to speak out and bite the hand that feeds them — a conflict of interest in itself.  However, their silence is basically an act of omission and thus they too are guilty.  The silence on both issues has been deafening, but sadly, there is an utter lack in leadership and courage by our leaders to speak the truth.