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Thursday, August 11, 2022
ArlingtonArlington GOP on hunt for local candidates

Arlington GOP on hunt for local candidates

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The Arlington County Republican Committee is putting out a casting call for prospective candidates in November.

“There is a common-sense policy majority in Arlington that can be cobbled together by an educated, articulate candidate who wasn’t molded in the Arlington County Democratic Committee headquarters,” Arlington County Republican Committee communications director Matthew Hurtt said. “Voters deserve a choice.”

On the ballot in November are local races for County Board, School Board and House of Delegates. Traditionally, Republicans have found it difficult in fielding contenders for many local races.

That said, Hurtt – in a March 19 e-mail to the party rank-and-file – was being realistic.

“Running in any of these races will certainly be an uphill battle for a Republican candidate,” he said. “Prospects for victory in November for local Republican candidates are slim.”

Whether having candidates on the ballot helps or hurts the GOP “brand” often depends on the candidates themselves. Some, even while losing, have presented solid qualifications and positions to the electorate, while others have come off as not particularly ready for prime time.

Despite the unlikely path to success in November, with the right contenders, the party will be able to continue rebuilding efforts in Arlington that were in some ways crushed by the presidency of Donald Trump.

Trump received far lower percentages of the vote in Arlington in the 2016 and 2020 races than most previous GOP presidential nominees, and Democratic anger reacting to his election helped to sink independent County Board candidate John Vihstadt’s re-election bid in 2018.

But in a post-Trump world, Republicans are hoping to reconnect and offer an alternative.

“Thousands of Arlington voters pick up their ballots on Election Day, eager to support a Republican candidate for office – any office,” Hurtt said. “More often than not, they scan through each position up for election and reach the end of the ballot without finding a single Republican for whom they can cast a vote.”

Hurtt said he and party chair Andrew Loposser stood ready to help with campaign infrastructure for candidates willing to make the plunge.

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