Three men pitched the Arlington County Democrats Wednesday night on why each one should be the party’s nominee for the County Board seat being vacated early next year by Chris Zimmerman.

Two were well-known local commodities: planning commissioner Peter Fallon, who was unsuccessful in a similar race two years ago, and IBM management consultant Alan Howze, who worked for former Gov. Mark Warner and who lost a primary race for House District 47 in June 2009. The third, entrepreneur Cord Thomas, was co-founder of the Envirocab taxi company and is now co-owner of Elevation Burger.

All three gave five-minute pitches heavy on their dedication to Arlington’s progressive politics. Fallon urged more inclusiveness toward those whom the party disagrees, Howze said he would continue to invest in the community while keeping a close eye on debt, and Thomas pitched himself as a a champion of small business and job creation.

The local Republican and Green parties have not yet announced whether they would field candidates in what is expected to be a March general election.

The Democrats are planning three debates, with the first scheduled for Jan. 8 at the National Rural Electrical Cooperative Association building in Ballston. They will choose their nominee at a “firehouse caucus” Jan. 30 at Key Elementary School and Feb. 1 at Kenmore Middle School. Whoever survives that contest goes on to a general election.

The winner of the general election will serve until November 2014, when the term expires.