Kindly Uncle Scotty says it every election cycle to candidates who are challenging incumbents: Do not waste the electorate’s time if you are not, early on, going to explain to the public what the incumbent is doing to merit being denied a new term in office.
And yet how often have we seen candidates run against an incumbent in a primary or party caucus, and literally not say one thing bad about the person’s performance? Over and over and over again.
And guess what? They challengers in those cases almost inevitably lose.
In the upcoming battle between one-term Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti and challenger Josh Katcher, Katcher earns kudos for saying at his kickoff that the incumbent is not making the grade, either in terms of how she pursues justice or the internal workings of the staff.
It wasn’t exactly the most vicious use of the slash-and-burn-o-meter, but far more than most challengers provide.
Presumably, both candidates will be speaking at next week’s Arlington County Democratic Committee, so let’s grab some popcorn and enjoy the show. Should be fun.
As I said when Dehghani-Tafti announced her re-election during the week of Thanksgiving (apparently to get the jump on Katcher’s announcement), she’s going to have an advantage over any challenger. You think the groups that funneled hundreds of thousands of outside dollars into her campaign in 2019 are going to leave her hanging in 2023? I wouldn’t bet on it.
But at the same time, Katcher is a serious candidate and has insider knowledge of the Arlington Democratic Committee’s workings, so he is not to be underestimated.
And remember: Only seven more months until the primary!
KUDOS TO ARLINGTON POLICE: It’s worth it to bestow an “attaboy” on the public-information personnel of the Arlington County Police Department, who have kept the information about crime in the community flowing in a timely and comprehensive manner.
Yes, that’s what they are paid to do, but you’d be amazed how many other local public-safety agencies across the, cough, dee-em-veeeeeeeeeeeeee have either downscaled public-information staffing or have taken the position that “criminals are our opponents, the press is the real enemy” and ladle out information in as limited doses as they can.
Arlington’s efforts remain well above average.
– Scott McCaffrey