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Monday, March 27, 2023
Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Let's get serious about candidate-vetting

Editor’s Notebook: Let’s get serious about candidate-vetting

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Memo to the Arlington County Civic Federation, Arlington Committee of 100, Arlington Chamber of Commerce, advocacy groups and local civic and homeowners’ associations:

It’s time to start thinking, now, about rganizing forums between candidates running for the Democratic nomination for various offices in coming months, rather than hiding behind the “they’re running in a party primary so we shouldn’t get involved until the fall” excuse that has been used as a fig leaf in the past.

Looks like there will be a number of competitive races, including commonwealth’s attorney and sheriff and potentially a free-for-all for County Board. And it looks like the candidates in these races could have widely divergent points of view, making it vital that they be vetted as widely as possible before Democratic voters take to the polls in the spring.


Local organizations need to acknowledge reality and hold candidate forums in the springtime, before the primaries, rather than just in the fall. As last year’s Arlington elections again proved, campaign season is effectively over the minute Democrats have their nominees in the late spring.

The Arlington Chamber typically runs a County Board forum prior to the primary, to which others who have qualified for the November ballot are invited to join Democrats. That seems reasonable and should be the format for all candidate forums in the spring.

It will be civic malpractice for local organizations to bury their heads in the sand while the real decisions are being made, only to pretend they are doing their duty by holding forums in the fall, when it will hardly count.

A MUSICAL TWO-FER: The death over the holiday weekend of Anita Pointer brings back memories of a unique concert I stumbled upon back in 1992.

My father and I were traveling between Florida and D.C., I guess, and while the usual route would not have taken us through Atlanta, there we were, in a nice hotel (certainly nicer than typical McCaffrey accommodations) in the heart of the city.

Turns out that was the same weekend that the Georgia Lottery kicked off, and to do so with a bang, the state had hired the Pointer Sisters and George Jones to perform in an opening-day concert.

All I really remember from the event was George Jones, looking out of the crowd which apparently was demographically more Pointer Sister fans, and saying, “I guess some of y’all aren’t familiar with my music.” But he then managed to put on quite a show, as did the Pointer Sisters themselves.

Gotta love serendipity –- running into that experience was a complete accident.

– Scott McCaffrey

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