Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey outraised her challenger in next week’s Democratic primary by more than $20,000 in April and May, after he drew more donations in the first quarter.
With seven days left until the primary, she has far more money to spend than first-time candidate Erik Gutshall.
Garvey reported raising $57,143 from 297 donors, including Mary Vihstadt, the wife of fellow board member John Vihstadt (I), according to reports filed with the Virginia Department of Elections Monday night.
Gutshall reported raising $36,751 from 296 donors during that period, including donations from former state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple (D) and Arlington County Circuit Court Clerk Paul Ferguson (D).
Garvey’s campaign fund, which includes money raised in previous races, was at $46,835 as of June 2, according to the filings. Gutshall had $7,947 left in his coffers.
The heated race for the seat that Garvey has held for four years has sharpened recently, after Gutshall mailed out brochures that targeted the incumbent’s votes and comments on a number of issues. The mailers focused particularly on her suggestion that tax exemptions for older homeowners could be on the chopping block, as well as her unsuccessful attempts to cut spending on affordable-housing loans.
Two elected officials publicly complained that Gutshall had gone negative in a way that is unusual for Arlington politics; 11 others called the mailers well-documented and within the normal bounds of debate.
Garvey, who has angered longtime Democrats in the deeply blue county by supporting Vihstadt and questioning board priorities, has courted Republicans and independents in her re-election campaign.
She opposed the long-planned, and now canceled, Columbia Pike streetcar project; publicly attacked its chief proponent, then-board member Chris Zimmerman (D) for an alleged conflict of interest; and campaigned against another Democrat on Vihstadt’s behalf. Vihstadt, a Republican-turned-independent, was the first non-Democrat elected to the county board in 15 years.
Garvey’s report shows a $250 donation from Bill Buck, who last year sold the county six acres across from Washington-Lee High School. Garvey disclosed the donation at a debate Sunday night and said she had returned the money because Buck had done business with the county. The report shows she returned the donation on May 31.
An easy-to-read version of the reports is available at the Virginia Public Access Project.