31st State Senate Race About to Heat Up!


    So far, Arlington County Board (NOT “Board of Supervisors,” as she oddly keeps calling it) Member Barbara Favola has had the Democratic nomination race in the 31st State Senate district all to herself (well, she HAS shared it with her real estate developer “friends,” who have been pouring money into her campaign in spite of the Arlington County Board’s informal policy that members should NOT take money from developers with business before the Board).

    However, all that’s about to change, as we will explain below. For those of us who prefer REAL Democracy as opposed to Indonesian-style “Guided Democracy” — in which the “leader” (Dick Saslaw, Mary Magaret Whipple) usess heavy-handed efforts to “clear the field” for their preferred candidate (Barbara Favola) — all we can say is, “it’s about time!”

    First, it now appears 99.9% certain that – as we reported the other day — U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Jaime Areizaga-Soto, and former aide to Mary Margaret Whipple (now that’s an interesting twist, eh?), will be running for the 31st State Senate District nomination (and will announce at the next Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting in the first week of May). The following is a screenshot of his upcoming website, currently under construction. In addition, I’m hearing that Englin Consulting will be heavily involved in helping Areizaga-Soto.

    Lots more on the “flip!”

    In other news, see this morning’s Washington Examiner article for news on Ben Tribbett’s increasingly likely run for the Democratic nomination in this district. The way I see this one, if you want a fighter who will shake things up in Richmond, and if you want an independent progressive who will not take orders from Dick Saslaw (or anyone else), then Ben Tribbett’s got to be a candidate who grabs your attention!

    Third, I’m hearing that the Favola campaign’s experiencing some turbulence, with its top consultant – Liz Chadderdon, president of the Chadderdon Group – apparently quitting the Favola campaign yesterday. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chadderdon helping Areizaga-Soto at some point, but we’ll see. Anyway, it looks like there will soon be (at least) two additional candidates in the 31st State Senate district Democratic nomination contest, in spite of “leadership”‘s heavy-handed attempts to prevent Democracy from taking place (why? very simple: Saslaw wants someone he can control, and also doesn’t want a “divisive” primary – in these people’s minds, primaries are almost always bad things – that would siphon money away and leave Democrats vulnerable to the likely Republican nominee, who apparently is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

    • They are clearly unethical and inappropriate given the Arlington County Board policy of not accepting such donations. To remedy this situation, Favola should immediately: a) recuse herself from ANY discussions or decisions on business involving real estate developers before the Arlington County Board; or (preferably) b) resign from the Arlington County Board and focus 100% on her run for State Senate.  Option “c” – stay on the board, continue receiving donations from John Shooshan and other major developers with business before the board, etc. – is the option Favola has chosen, but the one that is completely unacceptable given Arlington County Board policy.

    • Peter Rousselot

      The well-documented and widely discussed effort by Dick Saslaw and Mary Margaret Whipple to “clear the field” of candidates (other than Barbara Favola) for the Democratic nomination in Virginia Senate 31 constitutes unacceptable behavior for Virginia Democrats in the 21st century. As the former Chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee (2006-2010), I am very well aware that we have a deep bench of highly qualified Democrats to run for the Democratic nomination in this now open seat. Our Democratic leaders should be celebrating and nurturing this wealth of talent, not using backroom deals and strong arm tactics to try to stifle it. I am very encouraged to hear that at least Jaime Areizaga and Ben Tribbett actively are considering joining the race for the Democratic nomination in Senate 31.  

    • sbenglin

      Englin Consulting is on board with Jaime.

      We set a firm limit on the number of candidates we work with each cycle, and we’re psyched to work with Jaime – he’s a tremendous candidate who’s in it to win.  

    • The Richmonder

      Lowell, why are you so bitter and negative?  Why does every Democrat v. Democrat contest become a death match for you?

      In a few months you’ll have an election and the voters will decide.  Recruit candidates you believe in, build a strong case for them, and make reasonable critiques of their opponents: then be willing to live with the results and unify behind the winner.

      But that’ll be hard to do after yet another scorched earth primary campaign.  

      As for accusations of “clearing the field,” Lowell, that’s called politics.  No one has threatened anyone with physical violence if they run.  No one is suppressing or repressing you.  If a politician can persuade or bluff a potential opponent into not running, that’s perfectly legitimate politics and you really need to get over it.  If someone can be bluffed out of running for public office, then they don’t belong in the race.

      I decided to throw my moral support behind Barbara Favola because I like the fact that she has experience, the support of her potential colleagues, and seems to have her act together.  Jaime Areizaga-Soto seems like a very nice guy too, and if he decides to run I wish him the best and may the best person, as decided by the Democratic primary voters, win.

      As for Ben Tribbett, wow, where do I begin.  Your big selling point for Ben is that he would shake things up in Richmond.  That’s kind of funny because to hold their own in Richmond Senate Democrats need to stick together.  If two Senate Democrats vote with the Republicans its a tie and Republicans win the tie with Lt. Governor Bill Bolling’s tie-breaking vote.  You would seriously suggest adding Ben Tribbett to that volatile mix?

      Here’s what would happen in the extremely unlikely event Ben Tribbett was elected to the Virginia Senate.  He would immediately pick fights with most of the rest of the Democratic Caucus, which he would lose.  He would then retaliate by voting with the Republicans to “punish” Dick Saslaw, Dave Marsden, and anyone else who offended him that week.  Ben Tribbett is tempermentally ill-suited for the Virginia Senate.

      Lowell, the boundaries of the 31st Senate District haven’t even been set yet, don’t you think it’s a little early to have your negativity set to “11”?  Calm down, try to stay positive, and if you want to support someone, then support them.  No one is stopping you.  

      But the rants about other Democrats are growing tiresome.  This is why DPVA doesn’t like primaries.  Instead of genuine debates about issues, competence and experience, Virginia’s democratic primaries in recent years have degenerated into blood sport.  You may want to examine your role in that trend.

      Is it any wonder then that the DPVA would want to avoid them where possible?

    • Tom

      The only way we will ever have a truly “progressive” candidate is to have a “Progressive Party” with their own candidate. The official Democratic Party platform is certainly not what most who post on this blog would call truly “progressive”, although some Dem. candidates do seem to be running on some progressive values, but none in my memory are what we might call “pure” progressive candidates.

      For a state election, it’s not realistic to expect a 3rd-party candidate to have any chance, but for a local election such as a county board election like in Arlington it seems to me that a “progressive” non-Democratic establishment candidate with a strong progressive message and lots of volunteer help and good fund raising I don’t see why a real progressive wouldn’t have a chance of winning. In fact, after the HoD primary is over, it is even conceivable that a “progressive” candidate in a one-on-one race couldn’t get out the progressive votes just as easily as the Dem. primary winner could — with the obvious caveat that I do not mean Ben, but we don’t really have a really good alternative simply because no real progressive has ever taken the initiative to get on the ballot and ask for progressive blog and grassroots support.

      And I don’t buy the excuse that it takes too much money to win a HoD race because with a strong volunteer grassroots GOTV operation and a compelling message a 3rd-party candidate will get lots of free press.