In her runs for County Board through the years, Audrey Clement once banked a little over 30 percent of the vote in a one-on-one showdown with Democrat Jay Fisette.
Given opposition of some voters in North Arlington to the Missing Middle housing proposal, which will effectively eliminate single-family zoning in the county, she believes that, conservatively, she could improve her previous best by more than 10 percentage points.
But Clement acknowledges that getting to 40 percent won’t likely be enough to surmount incumbent Democrat Matt de Ferranti. A little higher vote percentage, though, and things could become the one word that no incumbent wants to hear: Interesting.
“Estimated conservatively, this race looks like de Ferranti has it in the bag. Estimated liberally, this race looks like a cliff-hanger,” Clement said in response to a Sun Gazette query.
By her calculations, a strong night for county Democrats would mean de Ferranti picking up 50 percent of the vote, independent Adam Theo garnering 10 percent and herself getting 40 percent. A rough night for Democrats would produce an outcome of 45 percent (ish) for both de Ferranti and Clement, with Theo stuck at 10 percent.
Clement, however, is not expecting it to be a nail-biter.
“I’m going with the conservative estimate [de Ferreanti winning 50 percent],” she told the Sun Gazette, “because due to biased local reporting that favors incumbents . . . challengers are at an automatic disadvantage at the polls.”
There may be no moral victories in politics, but Clement believes that if de Ferranti does not garner an absolute majority, “it can be inferred that the majority of voters are unhappy with the direction of the County Board,” she said.
The second independent in the race, Theo, opted against attempting to handicap the outcome.
“With no professional polling for this race, there’s no way to tell what the results may be, I’m not even going to try to predict how I or the others will do,” he told the Sun Gazette.
“I’m instead focused on doing the very best with the limited resources at my disposal,” Theo said, taking a shot at de Ferranti for accepting campaign cash from both labor unions and an out-of-state billionaire.
“Those amounts for a small County Board race really should worry anyone concerned about democracy,” he said.
Without stacks of cash or the backing of the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s get-out-the-vote panzer divisions, Theo (making his second bid for office) has worked to develop a support network that can expand his message, which he describes as part-libertarian, part-progressive.