Libby Garvey, Arlington School Board member, won the Democratic nomination for the County Board open seat with 44 percent of the vote in a five-person race.

Garvey collected 1,915 votes over Melissa Bondi’s 966, Terron Sims’s 922, Kim Klingler’s 333 and Peter Fallon’s 178. Democrats voted Thursday night and all day Saturday.

Garvey was endorsed by two retiring state senators, Patsy Ticer and Mary Margaret Whipple, as well as the County Board member she seeks to succeed, Barbara Favola.

She pitched herself at candidate forums as an experienced official who knew how to think through the issues and ask tough questions. She said she wants more study of the Columbia Pike streetcar, for example, whose cost has ballooned $100 million in the past months.

Bondi, who was also supported by powerful elected officials including board members Chris Zimmerman and Walter Tejada, was hampered by recent news that the IRS put a $19,000 lien on her property, and she had been late paying her car registration on two separate occasions.

Garvey will face Republican nominee Mark Kelly and Green Party nominee Audrey Clement in the March 27 special election. They are competing to fill Favola’s seat. Favola was elected to the state Senate in November. The term expires at the end of 2012.