Home Virginia Politics Ben Tribbett Not Running, Two Democrats to Contest the 31st Senate Nomination

Ben Tribbett Not Running, Two Democrats to Contest the 31st Senate Nomination


(UPDATE: See the statement by Jaime Areizaga-Soto in the comments section. – promoted by lowkell)

A couple minutes ago, Ben Tribbett announced that he’s not running for State Senate in the 31st District, as he had been strongly considering doing. In addition to his announcement (see the full text on the “flip”), Ben graciously added “We have two great candidates.” I hope he’s right.

Anyway, with that news, the two remaining Democratic candidates are Arlington County Board member Barbara Favola (note to Barbara, it is NOT a “Board of Supervisors” as you keep erroneously telling people) and Jaime Areizaga-Soto.

Right now, I’m leaning towards endorsing Areizaga-Soto, but I’ll wait until I have a chance to talk to him, hear him speak (e.g., tomorrow night at the Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting), and find out what his main campaign themes and vision for the office will be.

By the way, I’m very concerned that Democrats could lose the 31st district this November. Here is the website for the likely Republican nominee, Caren Merrick. Take a look at it, also keep in mind that she’s (reportedly) loaded with money, and see what you think.

Personally, what I’m seeing is: 1) a woman (that’s important, because the seat is currently held by Mary Margaret Whipple, probably the most powerful woman in the General Assembly); 2) a seeming “moderate” who doesn’t even mention social issues at all on her website, but who likes the word “bipartisan”; 3) a strong personal narrative (e.g, “the first woman in her family to earn a college degree;” started a company in her basement); and 4) an image (at least, that she’s projecting) as a soccer mom who teaches Sunday School and helps out with her sons’ sports and Scouting activities. Combine all that with plenty of money, a district that’s not nearly as “blue” as it was prior to its gerrymandering (it now lumps Arlington in with Great Falls and part of eastern Loudoun!) by Dick Saslaw and Company, and a potentially extremely weak Democratic nominee in Barbara Favola, and what does it spell? In my book, “potential trouble.” I hope I’m wrong, but I fear I’m right. 🙁


Thanks for signing up to hear the news on my potential campaign for State Senate this year.  Your pledges of financial or volunteer support and words of encouragement have meant a lot to me.

I’ve decided not to run for the Virginia Senate this year.

Having an opportunity to spend a few weeks considering a campaign of this magnitude is a huge honor and I’ve learned a lot during this process about our community and important issues that need to be addressed.  There are hundreds of factors that go into a decision like this and I’d rather not outline my “pros and cons” in an email.  

This decision not to run was made so much more difficult by the outpouring of support we received.  12 current or former members of the General Assembly, 31 current/former local elected officials in Northern Virginia all pledged their endorsements to our campaign.  Over 250 people pledged to donate- and over 300 pledged their time to volunteer.  These are the kinds of numbers that any candidate would be lucky to have even without a primary!  There is clearly enormous support for changing in the way we do business in Richmond and I hope the other candidates running will respond to that.

Thank you all very much, and I look forward to continuing to work with you to move this Commonwealth forward.

Ben Tribbett


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