Patrick A. Hope, a state delegate who is among 11 Democrats seeking the party’s nomination in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District, won the Arlington Young Democrats’ straw poll Wednesday, claiming 53 votes.
Hope (Arlington), 42, had 57 percent of the vote, far outstripping the next candidate, Alfonso Lopez, who received 16 votes, said the group’s president, Max Burns.
There were seven votes for Lavern Chatman, former president of the Northern Virginia Urban League; four each for Del. Charniele L. Herring, and state Sen. Adam P. Ebbin; three for Navy veteran Bruce Shuttleworth; two for Virginia Tech professor Derek Hyra (at 40, the only candidate younger than Hope); and one each for former lieutenant governor Don Beyer, Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille and radio talk show host Mark Levine. Arlington resident Nancy Najarian, who is also running, was not on the ballot, Burns said.
“I have said before that this campaign is about choosing a new generation of progressive leadership,” Hope said in a statement. “This victory shows that young progressive activists are rallying behind our campaign.”
Straw polls are unofficial “beauty contests,” recording the preferences of those who turn up at a particular event. But the ability of campaigns to organize a turnout of supporters, especially early on, can indicate who is running a competitive race.
Hope’s campaign also claims straw poll wins from two online polls, sponsored by the local Sun-Gazette newspaper and the Blue Virginia political blog, as well as a poll taken at Arlington County Treasurer Frank O’Leary’s St. Patrick’s Day party for local Democrats.
Beyer has won two straw polls, one at the St. Patrick’s Day gathering of U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) and another at the Mount Vernon Democrats’ Mardi Gras party.
The Alexandria Democratic Committee will have another straw poll in two weeks.
The district includes portions of Fairfax and Arlington counties and the city of Alexandria. It’s considered one of the safest Democratic seats in the nation and has been represented since 1990 by Rep. James P. Moran Jr., who is not running for reelection.