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Arlington Democrats lending support to downstate special election

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Members of the Arlington County Democratic Committee are working to help flip a downstate Virginia Senate seat in an upcoming special election.

The party is putting its organizational oomph behind the efforts of Democrat Laurie Buchwald in the 38th Senate District. The post became vacant with the Jan. 1 death of Republican state Sen. Ben Chafin, who died at 60 of complications related to the COVID virus.

Buchwald is facing off against Republican Travis Hackworth; the district is located to the west of Blacksburg; in 2019, Chafin faced an independent and won 64 percent of the vote.

The special election is slated for March 23. While the district trends Republican, special elections can be tricky to gauge, and it costs Arlington Democrats nothing but a little of their time to try and help tip the outcome.


If Democrats can pick up the seat, it will increase their very narrow majority in the 40-seate Senate from 21 to 22.

Gaining the extra seat will help Democrats down the line, Arlington party chair Jill Caiazzo said.

“Every race counts,” she said. “The best defense is a good offense.”

Arlington Democrats have been making phone calls to voters in the district twice a week, and also have sent 2,000 personalized postcards to Democratic-leaning voters in the district.

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