The Arlington County Democratic Committee’s membership voted June 1 to endorse School Board candidate Bethany Sutton’s candidacy, giving her all the momentum she probably will need to make quick work of the November general election.
“I want nothing more than to be useful,” Sutton said before the vote was taken. “I will work hard to earn those votes – to listen to the voices of the full range of members of our community who are impacted by what happens in our schools.”
Under Virginia law, School Board seats officially are nonpartisan, and political parties technically can’t nominate candidates. But they can “endorse” them, which effectively amounts to the same thing. Sutton’s name will now be part of the Democratic sample ballot distributed to voters in the fall.
Sutton has chaired the Arlington Public Schools Advisory Council on Teaching and Learning, and previously served as a PTA president. She ended up being the only candidate to seek the Democratic nod.
Two other candidates (Brandon Clark and James Vell Rives IV) have filed to run as independents in the general election, and filing will remain open through June 21.
Incumbent board member Barbara Kanninen decided against seeking a third term, making her the fourth incumbent in three years to opt against re-election bids. All five School Board members are elected at-large.
Each of the five current School Board members is a Democrat. One has to go back to 2007 to have found a non-Democrat; that is when David Foster, a Republican running as an independent, wrapped up two four-year terms.