He finished at the back of the pack as a largely unknown in 2021 and is likely to get buried under the Democratic get-out-the-vote machine in November, but Adam Theo is keeping a positive attitude heading into his second consecutive County Board race.
“Our county deserves better,” Theo said in a Jan. 27 campaign-kickoff announcement, criticizing the all-Democratic County Board for “a disastrous lack of leadership.”
Board members spend their time “rubber-stamping each other’s bad ideas” and “spending big on Band-Aids instead of investing in smarter, long-term solutions,” said Theo, who has lived in Arlington for nine years.
“The ‘new normal’ is looking just like the ‘old normal,’” said Theo, who self-identifies as a “progressive libertarian” on the political spectrum.
In his announcement, Theo said his entry into the race would throw it “wide open.” But he has a steep hill to climb, having garnered just 5.7 percent of the vote in the four-way County Board race of last year.
Democratic incumbent Takis Karantonis won the race with 60.1 percent of the vote, with Audrey Clement (18.4 percent) and Mike Cantwell (13.8 percent) well back. Once having his party’s nomination in hand, Karantonis ran a low-key general-election race even by county Democratic-incumbent standards, avoiding any missteps that might have cut into his victory margin.
This year, the seat of Democrat Matt de Ferranti is on the ballot; de Ferranti has been actively fund-raising and is expected to formally kick off his bid for a second term on Feb. 2 before the Arlington County Democratic Committee. To date, he has picked up no intra-party opposition.
De Ferranti in 2018 defeated independent John Vihstadt, who had come to office in a 2014 special election and won that year’s general election, each time over Democrat Alan Howze. All five current board members are Democrats.
Clement, too, is likely to be in the race, as she has run nearly continuously – mostly for County Board but twice for School Board – over the past dozen years.
Unless someone within the Democratic ranks emerges to challenge de Ferranti – which likely would be decided in a June primary – the County Board race largely will be dormant in the eyes of voters until September, when organizations such as the Arlington County Civic Federation and Arlington Committee of 100 begin conducting candidate forums.
Theo serves as vice president of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association and is a delegate to the Civic Federation. His campaign Website is https://www.theoforarlington.org.