Incumbent James Lander won the Democratic endorsement for the Arlington School Board in a very close primary campaign.

Lander beat out economist and children’s book author Barbara Kanninen, by 47 votes in a two-day caucus that ended Saturday.

“This campaign has been a tremendous opportunity to re-connect with Arlington voters,” Lander said in a media statement. He said he appreciated Kanninen’s “spirited and well-run campaign.”

School board races are non-partisan in Arlington but the endorsement carries a lot of weight in the heavily Democratic county. Lander, a retired military officer who work with veterans, has served on the board since January 2010.

“James Lander has been a strong voice for Arlington’s students in his four years on the board, and today’s vote is an affirmation of his record,” said Arlington County Democratic Chair Mike Lieberman.