38.4 F
Thursday, March 30, 2023
ArlingtonDemocratic congressional contenders state case to rank-and-file

Democratic congressional contenders state case to rank-and-file

Must Read

Victoria Virasingh appears to have opted against embracing the “if you’re going to try and unseat an incumbent, you have to let the voters know what you think said incumbent has done to deserve defeat” school of electioneering.

Virasingh, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th) in the June 21 Democratic primary, articulated her own positions but largely didn’t take many shots – direct or implied – against the incumbent during an April 9 forum sponsored by a number of Arlington County Democratic Committee interest caucuses.

The candidates addressed a host of issues concerning the Democratic rank-and-file, but there wasn’t a lot of daylight, position-wise, among them.
(The candidates at one point were asked what they admired about the other, but perhaps an all too obvious follow-up question – where do you disagree with the other? – was left unasked and therefore unanswered.)

Perhaps the closest Virasingh came to throwing shade at Beyer came to a question about what their party can do to arrest terrible polling data for Democrats that suggest a Republican rout in November.


Virasingh said her party needed to “speak to the everyday needs of everyday people,” and “fight for the needs of everyday people.”

“People are losing trust in our institutions,” she said. “There are some seismic shifts.”

(A little later in the event, Beyer quietly pushed back on the insinuation – if in fact it had been one – that he didn’t connect with those lower on the economic spectrum. The incumbent noted that, despite his current wealth attained through business ventures, “we didn’t have much money” when he was growing up.)

Beyer seemed to discount polling data showing Americans are unhappy with the current state of affairs, and suggested the Democrats’ major problem may be messaging.

“Things are way, way better than they were in virtually every respect,” he said. “There’s an incredible story to be told in what Joe Biden has done. We have a long way to go, but we’re coming.”

Beyer was equally uncritical about the Biden administration’s response to the Russia-Ukraine war, saying the administration has “done a terrific job.”

“They’re walking a difficult tightrope,” the incumbent said, pushing for more aggressive aid to Ukraine without “crossing a line” and getting into a direct confrontation with the Russian military.

Virasingh punted on the question of whether direct intervention was wise or not, but mentioned a desire to increase sanctions on Russia.

Given that it was an intra-Democratic forum, each candidate was vying for support of the home team (Democratic activists) in attendance at Busboys & Poets and watching online. But there were some differences, if one was paying close attention.

The candidates split on cancellation of all student debt: Virasingh wants the Biden administration to do it; Beyer said Biden doesn’t have constitutional authority to do it beyond a small amount, and even that would be constitutionally dubious.

Beyer, a former state lieutenant governor and ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein (never forget Liechtenstein), was elected in 2014 to succeed veteran U.S. Rep. Jim Moran in the 8th District, which long has been a Democratic stronghold. In ensuing campaigns, he has won easy re-election against a string of opponents.

The 8th District saw relatively little change in redistricting after the 2020 federal census. It continues to include all of Arlington County and the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church, with a slice of Fairfax County.

- Advertisement -

Latest News

New School Board member receives liaison assignments

New Arlington School Board member Bethany Sutton has her assignments. School Board members on Feb. 2 are expected to approve...
- Advertisement -

More Articles Like This