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Sunday, May 9, 2021
Editor’s NotebookEditor’s Notebook: Starting off with a bang

Editor’s Notebook: Starting off with a bang

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Arlington County Board aspirant Chanda Choun pulled no punches in his allotted three minutes in front of the Arlington County Democratic Committee rank-and-file on Wednesday, laying into both incumbent board member Takis Karantonis and the Democrats’ process for choosing their candidate for last year’s special election that was won by the aforementioned Karantonis.

Kindly Uncle Scotty, who offers the advice to candidates that you’d better explain why an incumbent needs to be replaced if you intend to defeat one, approves of three-minute broadside. Not necessarily of the substance (that’s a topic for another day), but at least that Choun made his case without any hemming and hawing.

That said, a question lingers.

Keep in mind that early in 2020, Choun had filed to challenge incumbent board member Libby Garvey in the Democratic primary. But when the seat of Erik Gutshall fell open due to Gutshall’s death, Choun called an audible (who says you can’t shoehorn in football references here?) and switched races, deciding to run in the special election instead.

It proved to be a mistake: Choun had an outside chance of knocking off Garvey in the one-on-one primary – maybe not a big chance, but a chance. But his decision to switch horses in midstream and run in the caucus for the special election cost him some support and ended the chance he was going to win a County Board seat in 2021.

So, Choun is now castigating the very special-election nominating process that he decided to hop into, when he could have just stayed in the primary against Garvey? Seems a tad, hmmmm, disingenuous, but the cardinal rule of politics these days is: Never reveal any sense of irony (or shame) when on the attack.

This should be for an interesting race, although one has to presume the Democratic powers that be will coalesce around Karantonis. Choun is positioning himself far left, talking of “truth and reconciliation commissions” and trying to present himself, perhaps a tad implausibly, as protector-cum-surrogate of the oppressed and disenfranchised. All this for a County Board seat?

THE SIMPLEST ANSWER: Terry McAuliffe on Wednesday picked up the endorsement of his successor, Gov. Ralph Northam. Certainly a feather in the cap of Northam.

But it leads to a question.

Let’s not forget that His Excellency (Northam) raised a figurative middle finger to incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring, endorsing Herring’s opponent in the primary, Jay Jones.

With Northam’s “woke train” leaving the station, you’d think he would go with another candidate to support for governor. Terry McAuliffe is many things – good, bad and indifferent – but he is not “woke.”

Northam went with the safe pick for governor but went for the insurgent for attorney general, even though Jones’s campaign seems to be dying on the vine. Interesting.

Of course, there’s always the simplest explanation. Maybe Northam just doesn’t like Herring, and wanted to stick it to him. Who knows?

– Scott McCaffrey

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