Arlington Dems: Last Chance to Vote for Libby Garvey, and Possibly Prevent a Major Upset


    With turnout extremely low in the special election for Arlington County Board, could Republicans or the Green Party steal this seat from the normally dominant Democrats? According to an analysis by Arlington County Treasurer (and long-time election watcher) Frank O’Leary, “the threshhold for a Democratic victory is a turnout of about 18,000.” Right now, it doesn’t look like we’ll be coming anywhere close to that. So, Arlington Democrats, if you don’t want a right-wingnut on the County Board, you’ve still got a bit under 2 hours to get out and vote — for Libby Garvey! Thanks.

    UPDATE 7:55 pm: With all precincts counted, Libby Garvey wins with 7,007 votes (49.16%) over Mark Kelly with 6,194 votes (43.46%) and Audrey Clement with 1,007 votes (7.06%). Not the most overwhelming victory I’ve ever seen, but a win’s a win, right?

    UPDATE 7:47 pm: With 48 precincts (90.56%) reporting, it’s Garvey 6,635 (49.56%), Kelly 5,794 (43.28%), and Clement 921 (6.87%).

    UPDATE 7:39 pm: As an Arlington Democratic friend of mine put it, “if Arlington Republicans couldn’t win a special election with THIS low turnout, they should just disband/fold up shop.” I agree – #FAIL!!!

    UPDATE 7:36 pm: With 44 precincts (83%) reporting, it’s Garvey 5,541 (50.27%), Kelly 4,657 (42.25%), Clement 789 (7.15%). All over but the shouting; congratulations to Libby Garvey on her election to the Arlington County Board! 🙂

    UPDATE 7:35 pm: It looks like Frank O’Leary’s cutoff of 18,000 votes for the Democratic candidate to win is not going to pan out. Right now, it looks like perhaps 12,000-14,000 votes total, and a Democratic win regardless.

    UPDATE 7:30 pm: With 41 precincts (77.35%) reporting, it’s Garvey 5,120 (50.48%), Kelly 4,274 (42.14%), Clement 715 (7.05%). Looking good for Libby (or should we call her “Landslide Libby?)! 🙂

    UPDATE 7:25 pm: With 27 precincts (50.94%) reporting, it’s Garvey 3,156 (50.46%), Kelly 2,654 (42.43%), Clement 422 (6.74%).

    UPDATE 7:20 pm: With 13 precincts reporting, it’s Garvey 1,475 (51.93%), Kelly 1,206 (42.46%), Clement 150 (5.28%). A bit better, but still too close! Garvey did VERY well in her home area of Fairlington in South Arlington, also in Clarendon and Virginia Square in North Arlington. I’m feeling more confident.

    UPDATE 7:16 pm: With 5 precincts out of 53 counted, it’s Kelly with 578 votes, Garvey with 546, Clement with 66. Hmmmm.

    UPDATE 6:55 pm: Polls close in 5 minutes, click here to follow the returns as they come in.

    • or something like that

    • churchlanddem

      based on the first couple precincts

    • bpinclarendon

      I was scared.  Garvey’s campaign in the general was almost criminally lackluster.

    • Congrats to Libby for pulling out a win in an extremely tough, voter-fatigued environment. But as Lowell’s friend says, this was just as much about the Arlington GOP’s unwillingness to put together a coherent vision for voters. Arlington voters are asking for more services & are willing to pay more taxes to get them. Yet Mark Kelly ran as a Paul Ryan wannabe, bragging about cutting spending and slashing taxes while articulating not a single way to improve life for Arlingtonians. Did anyone think that would sell?

      Plus, the first picture on his website shows him on a beach, which just screams “I love Arlington!”

    • kindler

      And thanks to the Arlington Dems who came out to vote.  (I don’t live in Arlington, though, as Sarah Palin would say, I can see it from my doorstep…)

    • Peter Rousselot

      Congratulations to Libby Garvey on her victory tonight. The losers tonight included Mark Kelly and Frank O’Leary. As Lowell reported earlier, “According to an analysis by Arlington County Treasurer (and long-time election watcher) Frank O’Leary, ‘the threshhold for a Democratic victory is a turnout of about 18,000.’ So much for both Kelly and “long-time election watcher” O’Leary. With a turnout of only 14,208, Kelly and the Arlington Republicans lost by 5.7% to Garvey and the Arlington Dems.  

    • 1. Libby Garvey

      I’d like to thank the voters of Arlington. It’s been an honor and privilege to serve you on the School Board, and I look forward to serving you on the County Board as well. I am ready to get to work for the residents of Arlington County as a County Board member, and I very much look forward to working with my new County Board colleagues and with the talented and dedicated Arlington County Government staff.

      2. ACDC Chair Mike Lieberman

      I want to be among the first to congratulate Libby Garvey on her election to the County Board.  Libby represents the best of Arlington.  Through her work on the School Board, she has helped bring to Arlington the great schools, welcoming and diverse spirit, and progressive values that make our community so special.  We could not be prouder for her to now bring her talents and to the County Board.

      Anyone who has worked campaigns knows that electoral victories do not happen by accident.  I could not be more thankful for the hard work of the Arlington Democrats, who turned out in force for Libby by knocking on countless doors, standing at the polls in the cold, and making more than 20,000 phone calls to remind voters to come to the polls.  Tonight’s victory is not only a victory for Libby but a victory for all Arlingtonians, especially those who worked so hard to reaffirm our Democratic values.


    • listlady

      but there is little cause for self-congratulations in the low Democratic turnout and Garvey’s capturing less than half the total vote. Fatigue, frustration or apathy among perennially supportive voters is not a good omen for Arlington. It will be interesting to see who turned out, and which usual voters didn’t, especially in the precincts we normally win but failed to carry Tuesday.

      As for O’Leary’s predictions, methinks his major error was in failing to consider the different dynamics of a three-way race.

    • smith1889

      This was the most difficult election for a Democrat there could be.  1-A republican primary to boost absentee votes for Republicans. 2-She had challenge from the left 3-Turnout was a record low 4- Various local Republican committee’s gave Kelly thousands of dollars while ACDC did not step to the plate 5-There was a competitive primary that forced our candidate to waste resources. We’re lucky Libby was our nominee. Most everyone else would have crumbled under these head winds.