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ArlingtonCounty Democrats fail in effort to aid downstate contender

County Democrats fail in effort to aid downstate contender

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Even the organizational oomph of the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s get-out-the-vote effort has its limits.

The committee participated in an effort to help flip a downstate Virginia Senate seat in a recent special election, but Democrats fell short in their bid to add to their slim state Senate majority.

The Arlington party put 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, however, garnered only 24 percent of the vote against Republican Travis Hackworth in the March 23 special election. Turnout was 18.6 percent, slightly higher than average for Virginia special elections.

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In 2019, Chafin faced an independent and had won 64 percent of the vote.

The district trends Republican, but special elections can be tricky to gauge, and it cost Arlington Democrats nothing but a little of their time to try and help tip the outcome.

“Every race counts,” Arlington County Democratic Committee chair Jill Caiazzo said in February. “The best defense is a good offense.”

Arlington Democrats have made phone calls to voters in the district twice a week, and also sent several thousand personalized postcards to Democratic-leaning voters in the district.

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