Arlington County Board incumbents retain seats

Arlington County Board incumbents Mary H. Hynes and J. Walter Tejada cruised to victory Tuesday night over Green Party challenger Audrey Clement as voters stuck with an all-Democratic lineup to run the county.

With all votes counted, Tejada, who has served on the board since 2003, and Hynes, in her first re-election bid, controlled more than 80 percent of the vote, while Clement took about 16.5 percent. The three candidates sought to fill two of the five seats on the board. All of the other county officers running for election were unopposed.

“I’m feeling good,” Tejada said before the polls closed Tuesday. “This election is helping me appreciate all areas of Arlington County.”

As the elections registrar predicted, turnout was about 30 percent across the county, in keeping with previous nonpresidential years. But to the defeated candidate, it looked far lower.

“Intense, I mean intense voter apathy,” Clement said late Tuesday, after spending the day at the Ballston Metro station. “I think that’s the greatest impediment to a Green [Party] victory.”

In neighboring Alexandria, the only contested race was for circuit court clerk. Incumbent Democrat Edward Semonian, 77, who had not faced a challenger since 1979, soundly defeated Republican Chris Marston. Marston had ties to the national Republican establishment and was treasurer for the 2009-10 congressional campaign of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).

Growth and development dominated the Arlington campaign, and the candidates differed on whether the board was doing enough to control and manage growth in the heavily urbanized suburban county.

Voters at precincts across the county upheld Arlington’s reputation as a Democratic stronghold in a much more conservative Virginia, but many expressed dismay that other political parties mounted so little challenge in most races.

“This is a Democrat speaking, but Arlington needs some new blood,” said Kate Barker, as her two children listened outside the Arlington Arts Center. “I don’t enjoy the low-level mimicking of Washington politics at large . . .The tactics, the strategizing — for people who are into issues, it gets to be very boring. . . I want to keep the Democrats in power, although it bothers me that this is a one-party town.”

It was a common theme. Ron Rosenberg, who used to work in Cuba for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said he was pleased with governance in the county but that the ballot “was kind of like a Cuban election . . . You have a choice of Raoul or Raoul. I voted the one choice available in each bracket.”

Harvey and Lucille Kinston, voting at the Walter Reed Community Center, described themselves as “two people who object to streetcars on Columbia Pike, because they are ridiculous.” Nevertheless, they voted for the board incumbents, both of whom supported the streetcars. “All we can do is try to talk them [out of it],” Harvey Kinston said.

Linda Bianchi, fresh from voting at Thomas Jefferson Middle School,

had a strategy.

“Although I expect Hynes and Tejada will win, I decided to vote for Hynes and Clement,” she said, “because I want to support the notion there are more choices.”

Voters who were lunching at the 42-year-old Bob and Edith’s Diner on Columbia Pike said they were happy with the candidates on their ballots, although they wished there were more of them.

“I always like to see both sides, keep the other side honest,” said Joe Guyton, having a milkshake with his wife, Kara. “That’s the way it’s supposed to work, right?”

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