Mayor Unseated; Young Candidate Advances In Northern Virginia Primaries

By John Celock

Northern Virginia’s primary elections Tuesday saw the mayor of one of the region’s largest cities lose his bid for a fifth term while a young candidate advanced in her bid.

Alexandria Mayor William Euille was narrowly defeated in the Democratic primary by Vice Mayor Allison Silberberg, ending a city political career that started over two decades ago. Results show Silberberg, who focused on spending and tax issues, edging out Euille with 5044 votes to the incumbent’s 4732 votes. Former Mayor Kerry Donley, who preceded Euille, received 3660 votes.

Euille, who lost a Democratic primary run for Congress last year, was elected to his first three year term as Alexandria’s mayor in 2003 following a nine year stint on the City Council. Silberberg was first elected to the City Council two years ago and was chosen as vice mayor by her colleagues. Under Alexandria’s form of government, the part time mayor is the presiding officer of the City Council and performs ceremonial duties as the city’s top elected official.

Silberberg took advantage of Virginia’s open primary laws to actively seek Republicans to vote for her in the Democratic primary. Republicans for Allison signs could be seen spotting lawns in Alexandria neighborhoods.

In neighboring Arlington County, political newcomers Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey captured the Democratic nomination for two open seats on the Arlington County Board. Cristol led the six person field with 4498 votes, with Dorsey finishing second with 4420 votes. Cristol, an education policy consultant, is 30 and if elected in November would become one of the youngest elected officials in the Washington metropolitan area.

Cristol and Dorsey’s wins showcase a growth in support for South Arlington candidates, as opposed to the traditional North Arlington dominated county government. South Arlington – which has one resident as a member of the five person at-large county board – has been gaining an increased focus in county political circles, specifically with issues including office vacancies in Crystal City, mass transit along Columbia Pike and taxes.

The wins for Dorsey and Cristol also showed an increase in interest on fiscal conservative platforms among the historically progressive leaning electorate in Arlington County. Dorsey had campaigned as a fiscal moderate aligned with a moderate faction on the board. Cristol also focused on being a fiscal moderate during her campaign.

Cristol being on path to being the youngest county board member showcases the rise of young professionals in Arlington County. The county, across the Potomac River from the District of Columbia, has become a popular home for young professionals in the region.

Cristol and Dorsey will face independents Michael McMenamin and Audrey Clement in November. McMenamin, a former Republican candidate for the county board, is seeking to replicate last year’s win by county board member John Vihstadt, who made the same move from the GOP to run as an independent in the Democratic-dominated county. Clement has lost previous bids as the Green Party nominee.

County Board Chairwoman Mary Hughes Hynes (D) and Vice Chairman J. Walter Tejada (D) are not seeking reelection.

In the Democratic primary for the open 45th district seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, radio show host Mark Levine defeated four other Democrats with 2674 votes. The seat was left open after the retirement of Del. Rob Krupicka (D-Alexandria) earlier this year to open a donut shop. The district, which spans parts of Alexandria, along with Arlington and Fairfax Counties, is dominated by Democrats making Levine the frontrunner to head to Richmond next January.

Levine campaigned as a progressive in the race, following his unsuccessful 2014 congressional campaign where he positioned himself as the “aggressive progressive” in the Democratic primary.