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Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Shakespeare nails it in the 8th District

Editor’s Notebook: Shakespeare nails it in the 8th District

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“Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” would be one way to describe the now concluded 8th District Democratic congressional primary.

Except of course that there was no real fury, as contenders Don Beyer and Victoria Virasingh were perfectly cordial to one another. It was more like a tea party (oops, bad analogy) than a bareknuckle brawl.

But otherwise, that legendary phrase that Shakespeare put into the mouth of Macbeth rings true about this race. (We’ll leave out the first part of that quote, which is “a tale, told by an idiot …” as it hits a bit close to home.)

As is our wont in covering such quixotic campaigns, we asked from the beginning what the point was in Virasingh making a kamikaze run against Beyer, particularly when she largely refused to level any substantive criticisms at the incumbent. If his opponent couldn’t or wouldn’t articulate any reason to dump him, the electorate isn’t going to do it for her.

Reminds me of the Democratic battle for a state Senate seat some years back between Barbara Favola and challenger Jaime Areizaga-Soto. (Good people, both. See, I like Democrats!)

The night Areizaga-Soto came to announce his candidacy before the Arlington County Democratic Committee, he was able to pack the room with happily raucous supporters, leading some to believe he’d have a chance at knocking off the odds-on favorite Favola.

Nope, I said that night, it’ll be a 60-40 result tilting to Favola when the votes are cast and counted. And so, more or less, it turned out to be. Sound and fury (even happy fury) does not equal votes.

The now concluded primary race in the 8th District probably was a good warmup for Beyer, who will have as little trouble against his general-election candidates as he did against Virasingh (although one suspects they will not be quite so reverential about his service as she was). But one supposes that, with it increasingly likely the days of Democratic majority in the House of Representatives are ticking down, he’d rather have spent all his springtime trying to enact legislation in advance of the GOP takeover.

As for Virasingh? She didn’t make any mortal enemies in this race, and if her goal was to aim high, fall short, regroup and attempt to see if she can start a real political career somewhere slightly down the ladder, time will tell if it has been a winning strategy.

  • Scott McCaffrey
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