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ArlingtonDemocrats have leadership contest on their hands

Democrats have leadership contest on their hands

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Arlington’s first election of the new year will take place before a single week of 2022 has gone by.

Two contenders on Dec. 1 announced plans to run for Arlington County Democratic Committee chair. The winner succeeds Jill Caiazzo, who is wrapping up two two-year terms.

In political shorthand, the campaign could boil down to the moderate wing of the party (represented by former deputy chair Steve Baker) and a more left-of-center pick, represented by Matt Royer.

Baker, who unsuccessfully ran for party chair four years ago, said he aimed to “make sure we remain a big-tent party – a diverse coalition, open and welcoming [where] everyone on the committee has a voice.”


Royer said local Democrats need to expand the tent to further embrace progressive points of view in the community.

“We should want our party to reflect that – give [the public] a reason to support us,” he said.

Baker previously headed the local party’s “Beyond Arlington” initiative, using local resources to assist campaigns in less Democratic parts of the commonwealth.

Party chair is one of 14 elected posts that will be on the ballot when the Arlington County Democratic Committee convenes on Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. at Lubber Run Community Center.

A number of other candidates announced runs at the Dec. 1 meeting. Among them: Michael Hemminger, the party’s current visibility/outreach chair, launched a bid for deputy chair, proposing to “build a bench for the future” by recruiting a younger and more diverse group.

Four years traditionally is the outer limit for service by Arlington Democratic chairs. Caiazzo, who is almost assuredly going to stay neutral, said she is looking forward to how the various races transpire.

“I’m excited to see what this great crop of leaders is going to produce for our community,” she said.

Caiazzo encouraged Democrats, even those relatively new to the committee, to step up and run for any of the open positions, many of which will not have incumbents in them.

“If you’re sitting there thinking ‘the fix is in’ . . . it isn’t,” she said. “There are quite a few seats where it’s anyone’s ballgame. We are a big-tent party.”

Democratic committees in Virginia generally hold reorganization meetings biennially. For Arlington, there is a deadline for Dec. 27 to register to vote in the leadership contest.

That same date is the party’s deadline to file to serve as a captain of any of Arlington’s 54 voting precincts.

For information, see the Website at www.arlingtondemocrats.org.

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