Home Local Politics Former “Candidate Development Director” for Arlington GOP Leaps to Libby Garvey’s Defense

Former “Candidate Development Director” for Arlington GOP Leaps to Libby Garvey’s Defense


On June 14, Arlington Democrats are holding a primary for County Board. The two candidates are 1) incumbent Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey, who was forced out of the Arlington County Democratic Committee following her backing (campaigning, endorsement, fundraising, etc.) of Republican John Vihstadt over Democratic nominee Alan Howze for County Board in 2014; and 2) Democrat and progressive Erik Gutshall, who is running an impressive campaign that could very well topple Garvey.

One big question is whether Republicans will turn out in large numbers for the Democratic primary (since here in Virginia there’s no party registration, there’s nothing to stop them), whether to reward Garvey’s support for Vihstadt or because they see Garvey as less progressive than Gutshall or whatever. Along those lines, I was struck by a letter to the editor in this week’s Sun Gazette, which argues that:

  • “A few wealthy Democrats are bullying the chairman of the Arlington County Board by heavily financing a puppet to run against her in the June 14 primary. Their strategy is to elect Erik Gutshall in the little-publicized primary.” (Seriously???)
  • “…the wealthy individuals hope to send a message to the other board members about what happens when you do not do ‘what they tell you.'” (Uhhhh…alrighty.)
  • “[Y]ou are not supposed to know” there’s a primary on June 14, because supposedly (again, WTF?) the Arlington County Dems are “not spending time or money to tell anyone that there is a primary, nor that you can participate in the primary whether you have a party affiliation or not.” (Something tells me that ACDC Chair Kip Malinosky would strongly disagree with that one.)
  • Even better, did you know that “there is a network of elite voters sponsored by these wealthy puppeteers, who think that they can bully Libby Garvey and quietly oust her from her seat?” (This bizarre conspiracy theorizing doesn’t even deserve a response.)
  • Finally, it turns out that Garvey “was forced to resign from the ACDC, because dissent is not tolerated.” (In fact, every party – Democrats, Republicans, etc. – has rules about not endorsing/campaigning for the opposing party’s nominee over your own party’s nominee — it’s as basic as can be.)

Anyway, I was intrigued about the person (Jim Derrig) who had written this letter. I’d never heard of him before, but a couple minutes on Google found two interesting data points: 1) in 2013, he received “special recognition” by the by Arlington County Republican Committee; 2) he served as “Candidate Development Director” for the Arlington County Republican Committee. So yeah, Gerrig (or anyone else) has the right to state his views – even if they’re completely false, which in this case of course they are – about Democratic County Board candidate Erik Gutshall. But it would have been VERY helpful to know that he’s a Republican activist and certainly not a Democrat or someone with our party’s best interests at heart.

The bottom line is that this Republican is busy supporting John Vihstadt’s close ally Libby Garvey, while “concern trolling” Democrat and progressive Erik Gutshall. All the more reason to vote for Gutshall on June 14, and not to allow Republicans to tell Democrats who their nominee should be.

By the way, here’s Gutshall’s first mailer, which I just received in the mail today. Go Erik!


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