Candidates line up for Favola’s Arlington County Board seat

November 16, 2011

The job pays less than $50,000 a year, and you have to give up at least one Saturday a month, many nights and most of your privacy.

You won’t even have it for a year — it probably won’t be filled until April or May. And in November, you have to compete for it all over again.

Despite the circumstances, people are lining up to vie for the Arlington County Board seat that will soon be vacated by Barbara A. Favola (D), who last week won election to the state Senate. So far, three Democrats — Melissa Bondi, a member of the Arlington Economic Development Commission; Terron Sims, a West Point graduate who served in Iraq; and Peter Fallon, who serves on the county’s planning commission — have filed with the Arlington County elections office announcing their intention to run.

Other candidates are likely to file as well. The Arlington Republican Party late last week called upon Favola to resign by Nov. 26 so that a special election can be held in January.

Favola last week told The Washington Post that she plans to stay on the County Board through December. After she submits her formal resignation, the Arlington Circuit Court sets the date of the election, which cannot be held within 55 days of a primary or general election (a presidential primary is already scheduled March 6 and a Senate primary June 12).

“We have suggested April 17 because it falls midway between” the two elections, said Linda Lindberg, county registrar. “For my office’s purposes, that gives us the time to do programming of the election machines.”

The parties then caucus to nominate their preferred candidate. The county elections board will determine the last date that any candidates — independent or party-sponsored — have to file for the office.

“Leaving this County Board seat vacant for 100 days is simply not in the best interest of Arlingtonians,” said Mark Kelly, chairman of the county’s Republican Party.

In the past three special elections, turnout ranged from 18 to 20 percent. A special election costs about $50,000, Lindberg said.

Since Favola’s term ends next year, whoever wins the special election then faces the prospect of immediately beginning another campaign for the Nov. 6 election.

Patricia Sullivan seeks out news about Alexandria and Arlington County for the Washington Post.
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