The race for two open Arlington County Board seats has gotten so heated that the usual robo-calls and push polls from opposing candidates have become a new battleground.
The head of the local Republican party filed a complaint on Friday with the Virginia Board of Elections charging Democratic nominee Christian Dorsey with misleading voters with a Thursday robocall that reminded voters to cast their ballots “tomorrow” at their regular polling place.
Two Arlington residents have filed a complaint with the Virginia Department of Elections, reporting that a telephone poll conducted in early October asked questions about the competitive County Board race but did not disclose who authorized or paid for the survey.
The residents, supported by the Arlington County Democrats, said in the complaint “based on the push-poll nature of the questions, and the way they were articulated, we suspect that Michael T. McMenamin ... was responsible for these calls.”
Five weeks before Election Day, Arlington County Board candidates are being pressed by a variety of interest groups to stake out their positions on key issues, an illustration of how much is at stake with two of five board seats open for the first time in more than 30 years.
Candidates have begun slogging through 14 scheduled debates and candidate forums — twice as many as two years ago.
The Arlington County Republican Committee endorsed independent candidate Mike McMenamin Wednesday night in his bid for a seat on the Arlington County Board.
McMenamin, who has twice before run unsuccessfully for the office as a Republican, will face Democratic nominees Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey in the November general election, as well as former Green Party candidate Audrey Clement, who is also running as an independent.
Arlington County Board chairman Mary H. Hynes (D) will not run for another term this fall, creating a second opening on the five-member board after a tumultuous political year.
The departure of Hynes, 59, and fellow Democrat J. Walter Tejada in December could significantly shift the board’s priorities if either of their replacements forms an alliance with the board’s two fiscal skeptics, John Vihstadt (I) and Libby Garvey (D).
Arlington County Board member J. Walter Tejada (D) said Wednesday that he won’t run for reelection, vacating the seat he has held for a dozen years and creating the potential for a wide-open primary race in early summer.
Tejada, who is perhaps the most liberal member of the Democratic majority on the board, said in an interview that he felt it was time to move on, although he would not say whether he has any firm plans.
Perhaps hoping to put a year of discord and division behind them, Arlington County Board members on Jan. 1 voted unanimously to select Mary Hynes as chairman for 2015.
She succeeds Jay Fisette, who served as chair in 2014, his fourth time at the helm since first being elected in 1997.
Stung by a year of voter frustration over county spending decisions, the incoming head of the Arlington County Board announced a new effort Thursday to seek community input on whether and where schools, fire stations and other civic infrastructure should be built as well as on how to retain parks and open space.
Tempers do not appear to have cooled over the Arlington County Board’s decision last month to abandon the long-planned Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcars.
Two speakers and the sole board member who opposed the reversal lashed out Saturday and warned that the majority would be held accountable.
Deep inside Republican Mark Kelly’s campaign contribution list was a curious line, indicating that “Denis J. O’Connell High School” gave $350 on March 15 to the candidate for the Arlington County Board.