Redistricting might change things by 2023, but for now, Arlington is carved into four House of Delegates districts. So let’s not dawdle but get right to it, endorsement-wise.
48th House District: This one should not be a surprise to some, as two weeks ago our Fairfax edition gave a largely unreserved endorsement to incumbent Democrat RIP SULLIVAN over Republican Edward Monroe.
We don’t always agree with Sullivan’s positions on the issues, and as he has moved up the leadership ladder in Richmond he has lost some of the independent streak we saw when he first was sent down to represent the district in 2014. But he’s serious, responsible and willing to listen to points of view that are not his own. Nothing against newcomer Monroe (Republicans don’t have a chance in any of these races anyway; that’s just reality), but Sullivan was an easy choice.
47th House District: One of our few major raps against incumbent Democrat PATRICK HOPE over the years has been his chameleon-like behavior. In front of a far-left audience, he takes on their characteristics; speaking to a community audience, he is a voice of moderation; to business groups, he’ll intimate they should not worry, he’s got their back against the more extreme elements of his party.
It’s a high-wire act that occasionally comes tumbling down when his various positions are publicly shown to be at variance with one another. Yet it has worked thus far.
On the positive side of the ledger, Hope is sober-minded on key issues – like health care and courts/public safety – that deserve seriousness. And as he moves up the rungs of the ladder in the House of Delegates, he might be a voice of moderation if, as we seriously hope, Virginia voters decide that divided government in Richmond is needed to push out the extremes and return to governance that at least feigns putting the interests of the public first.
That would be a good thing. And in hopes it might occur, we support sending Hope back to Richmond.
Republican Laura Hall, who has taken on the uphill battle of unseating Hope in a very, very Democratic district, has shown some promise in her first-time run. But we’ll stick with the incumbent.
49th House District: You gotta feel for incumbent Democrat ALFONSO LOPEZ and how he sometimes is treated by some within his own party.
If one is a progressive (nobody’s accused us of that lately . . .), Lopez has done literally everything you could have asked of him during his tenure in Richmond, voting your way 99 percent of the time on issues ranging from the environment to health care to immigration. And yet, the far-far-far-far-left (a group more noisy than potent, but still a factor in Democratic politics) seems to have it in for the guy, having run a challenger in the June primary seemingly more with the goal of getting under Lopez’s skin than mounting a serious effort to unseat him. It was an interesting battle, but the result was pre-ordained – Lopez easily moved on to the general election.
Lopez has a tendency similar to Hope in trying to project himself as all things to all people, or at least most things to most people. He’s proclaims himself the pro-business candidate when the situation calls for it, the man of the people standing up against big business when that’s the need of the moment. The guy who can bring people in from across the aisle on issues if bipartisanship is your thing, but it if isn’t, happy to jam measures through with zero Republican support if that’s what it takes.
If our dream, mentioned above, of divided government comes back into play in Richmond, Lopez’s skills at bringing various factions together in support of common-sense measures could well prove helpful.
Lopez is being challenged by Republican Timothy Kilcullen and independent Terry Modglin. It was good to have them in debates and on the ballot, but Lopez is headed back to Richmond.
45th House District: In the spring, we endorsed Alexandria City Council member Elizabeth Bennett-Parker in her quest in the Democratic primary to unseat incumbent Democrat Mark Levine, largely because Levine seemed to us to be less focused on his constituents and more on moving up the political ladder (he was simultaneously running for lieutenant governor, a bizarre decision somewhat akin to political self-immolation).
Bennett-Parker won the primary, and now faces Republican J.D. Maddox in a race where the end result is not in doubt (Bennett-Parker is going to win).
We like Bennett-Parker, but we question some of the votes taken by her and colleagues on the Alexandria City Council, which seem to be running further out in front on the “woke” scale even than some of Northern Virginia’s other increasingly loopy local governments.
Maddox’s challenge has been stronger and more focused than those raised by some other Republicans in recent local elections. As a result, we’re going to sit this one out. That said, we hope for good things from Bennett-Parker as she goes on to represent a district that, for now if not necessarily for much longer, includes a slice of Arlington.