Home Local Politics Melissa Bondi Out of the Gate with First Arlington County Board Mailer

Melissa Bondi Out of the Gate with First Arlington County Board Mailer


It looks like the Arlington County Board race for Senator-elect Barbara Favola’s seat is off and running. This coming Wednesday, the 5? 6? announced Democratic candidates will be speaking at the Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting, and today I received my first mailer of the campaign — from Melissa Bondi — which you can see here and on the “flip.” Other candidates include Terron Sims, Kim Klingler, Libby Garvey, Peter Fallon, and possibly Elmer Lowe (not sure if he’s running as a Democrat, or at all for that matter) and H.K. Park.

The first step in choosing a replacement for Barbara Favola is for Democrats to choose their nominee, in a two-day “firehouse primary” process in early February 2012 (I’m hearing that one of the locations will be in Ballston — NRECA Building, the other in South Arlington — Kenmore Middle School). Presumably, Republicans, Greens, etc. will select nominees as well. Then, there will be a special election, probably in mid-April 2012, to fill Favola’s seat. Clearly, Democrats are a huge majority in Arlington, and thus the Democratic nominee will be the overwhelming favorite to win in April. What really strikes me is that the expected turnout for the Democratic nomination contest is in the 5,000 range, with the “win number” somewhere around 1,500-2,000. In other words, out of a population of 200,000, just 2.5% will select the nominee, and only 1% or so will probably have voted for that person in the nominating process. I don’t know about you, but somehow that doesn’t seem acceptable to me. The question is, how do we get the other 97.5% of Arlingtonians interested in this race? It’s kind of baffling to me that they wouldn’t be, but there it is. Any ideas?

P.S. I’m glad to see that Melissa Bondi’s campaign mailer is printed on recycled paper, with soy ink, using wind power and union labor. I certainly would hope the other candidates would do the same!

  • independent in arlington

    As you noted, the Democratic nominee is mostly likely to win the special election, so I am glad that the nominee is being selected via a firehouse primary (rather than by caucus or convention-style proceeding).  While you are right that a very small percentage of the electorate will participate in this process (although the firehouse primary for the School Board endorsement the year that Emma Violand-Sanchez won had thousands of participants, if I recall correctly), at least this maximizes the admittedly low numbers of voters.  

    I wonder what substantive differences – if any – will emerge between the Democratic candidates, particularly on Arlington-specific issues (e.g. the Columbia Pike trolley, continued support for the Artisphere, sign regulations, etc.)

  • listlady

    in the most recent caucus, in 2008, was 4425, with six candidates vying for endorsement for two School Board seats. In the past twenty years, the only higher turnout was back in 1993 when a four-way contest for a County Board nomination drew 4951 voters. A prediction of about five thousand in February may sound low, but it’s roughly one-third of the turnout in last August’s primary, which had much higher visibility and far more spending.

  • lsockett

    Does anyone have any thoughts on the various County Board candidates?  The only one I know is Peter Fallon and he seems great – very committed and knowledgeable, but they all seem good, so it may be hard to choose other than just who knows who .. .