After raising questions whether the Arlington County government was trying to use the appearance of President Biden to gin up votes for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, the Arlington County Republican Committee now has the same question for Arlington Public Schools.
The school system’s Office of Early Childhood Education on July 23 reportedly tweeted out a message from the Biden/McAuliffe appearance, including the image of School Board members Monique O’Grady and Cristina Diaz-Torres, thanking Biden and McAuliffe for their support of education.
Using an official government Twitter account to highlight a politically partisan event, if it occurred, must have given school officials pangs of conscience, as the reported tweet later is no longer on the Twitter feed.
But a copy was forwarded to Arlington Republicans, who said it was another example of Arlington leadership – wittingly or unwittingly – promoting partisan causes.
“There is absolutely no accountability,” said Andrew Loposser, chairman of the Arlington County Republican Committee. “Voters should not continue to reward the Arlington Democrats with one-party rule in our community.”
The incident makes two where the Arlington government bodies found themselves enmeshed in questions of partisanship.
Leading up to the July 23 event, the Arlington County government issued an advisory on its Website that included traffic closures planned in advance of the rally. But the county government then went a step beyond and provided an online hyperlink to a group promoting the event – which could, conceivably, use the contact information of those who clicked on the link to harvest information on voters.
Loposser and some others criticized what they called the politicization of the government’s communications apparatus; County Board Chairman Matt de Ferranti said the link was included to provide information to members of the public.
The county government was “simply providing a way for interested residents to receive more information, as we have done in the past – and would do for any large-scale event,” de Ferranti said during that brouhaha.
McAuliffe is in what could turn out to be a tight race against Republican Glenn Youngkin. While there is no chance Republicans will score a victory among the Arlington electorate, every vote will count to determine the statewide winner.
While Arlington Republicans may have the moral high ground in the campaign-rally issue, what they don’t have is candidates. The GOP does have contenders for Arlington’s four House of Delegates seats, but did not field a County Board or School Board candidate.