County Board member Matt de Ferranti kicked off his bid for a second term on Feb. 2 with a call for Arlington leaders to accelerate efforts to enact Democratic priorities and serve as a bulwark against the new Republican majority in Richmond.
“I look forward to listening to your concerns [and] sharing my ideas,” de Ferranti said at the monthly meeting of the Arlington County Democratic Committee, where – in a not-unexpected move – he announced plans to seek a second term.
De Ferranti, an attorney, was first elected to office in 2018, defeating single-term independent John Vihstadt. He also rotated in as board chair in 2021.
“We didn’t achieve everything I wanted . . . but I believe I worked hard and tried to serve everyone,” de Ferranti said, promising to deliver “compassionate, progressive, tested leadership that will work to move us from where we are as a community to where we want to be.”
Whether the incumbent will face any intra-party challenges remains to be seen. The deadline for candidates to file for the June 21 primary is April 7; no other Democrats have yet announced plans to run.
In a campaign-kickoff statement released contemporaneously with his Feb. 2 appearance before the party rank-and-file, the de Ferranti campaign served up a number of endorsements from local residents.
John Bloom, an environmental activist, said de Ferranti has already earned his vote.
“He asks good questions, tells you what he thinks and delivers on his commitments,” Bloom said.
Assuming he either faces no Democratic challenges, or surmounts them, de Ferranti is likely to face a number of challengers in the November general election. Independent Adam Theo, a self-described progressive libertarian who in 2021 unsuccessfully ran against Democrat Takis Karantonis, has launched a new bid, and perennial candidate Audrey Clement could well be in the mix, as well. Republicans also are searching for a candidate.
In his kickoff remarks, de Ferranti touched on a wide array of issues, from housing to economic development, and acknowledged that the entering-its-third-year pandemic had taken its toll on the community in many ways.
“We are tired – bone tired,” he said.
While Democrats’ grip on power in Arlington has not been seriously challenged in recent years, the party got a major jolt last November with the election of the Republican statewide ticket and giving power back to Republicans in the House of Delegates.
“We have to protect Arlington,” de Ferranti said.
Unless a primary race bubbles to the surface, the County Board race probably will be low-key until September, when community organizations will start holding candidate forums.