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Friday, December 9, 2022
ArlingtonOpinionEditorial: Beyer challenger needs to step up her game

Editorial: Beyer challenger needs to step up her game

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As has been used as a reference point several times throughout the years on this page, a veteran former Arlington County Board member often would posit a deceptively simple question to staff and colleagues.

“What is the problem are we trying to solve?” Al Eisenberg would ask. (And woe be unto those who were not prepared with an answer.)

Voting has now started in advance of the June 21 Democratic primary, which features no local races but does offer incumbent U.S. Rep. Don Beyer being challenged by Victoria Virasingh in the 8th Congressional District.

We like Virasingh. She’s got an impressive background for one so relatively young. But thus far, she’s barely tried to address Eisenberg’s “what problem are we trying to solve” question, which is doubly valid in political campaigns.

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After all, if one wishes to knock off a popular incumbent in an intra-party battle, one can’t simply accentuate the positives about oneself. One must also give voters a reason the incumbent needs to be given the heave-ho. And thus far, Virasingh has offered precious little reason that Beyer should be dispatched to the political promised land.

We quibble at times with some of Beyer’s positions. But we’re realists and recognize that he, and his predecessor Jim Moran, served as faithful stewards of the general political and philosophical leanings of a strong majority of 8th District voters. And while Beyer is not quite as much a retail politician as Moran was, he’s active and visible, and his staff is responsive.

Nobody seriously believes Virasingh is going to end Beyer’s career on June 21; we’d have preferred that she start a little bit lower on her attempt to grab a rung on the political ladder. But she’s in the race, and if she expects voters to give her more than a glancing look, we need to hear from her how Beyer isn’t making the grade and how she – cut of essentially the same political cloth – would do better.

Absent such an effort, there’s no reason to consider an alternative to an incumbent that, so far as we can tell, is representing the district the way voters want him to.

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