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ArlingtonMUBs (huh?) may hold key to Va. gubernatorial election

MUBs (huh?) may hold key to Va. gubernatorial election

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What’s a “MUB,” and what might it have to do with the outcome of the 2021 Virginia governor’s race?

To answer the first part first: MUB (rhymes with “tub”) is the acronym used by the Arlington County Democratic Committee for multi-unit buildings – largely apartments and condominiums – that make up a majority of county housing units.

They also happen to be the places where voters are not simply the most transient, but often the hardest to influence.

“It’s going to be really important to reach out to these people,” said Richard Skinner, who is heading out the MUB effort for county Democrats.
“We’re going to have to work on motivating people,” said Skinner, since many may have little interest in the statewide races that will be at the top of the ballot, and thus may be disinclined to turn out.

Democrats also may face the challenge of a world where Donald Trump is no longer front and center. Trump’s election in 2016 (where he tallied just 17 percent of the Arlington vote) further tightened the Democratic stranglehold on local politics, effectively nationalizing every race on the ballot, no matter how local in scope.

The MUBs effort is not new, but Democrats continue to fine-tune it each year – aiming to get information in front of voters without running afoul of rules and regulations imposed by landlords or condo associations.
In most cases, “we usually cannot go directly to their doors,” Skinner said, pressing for residents of secure buildings to sign up as “building ambassadors.”

It was a proposal echoed by Jill Caiazzo, who chairs the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

“Being a building ambassador is a great way to get involved,” she said. “That access is so critical.”

MUB voters may have tipped the outcome of the 2018 County Board race, in which Democrat Matt de Ferranti ousted independent John Vihstadt. And, motivated by exceptional amounts of out-of-state money and a barrage of campaign mailings it supported, that contingent a year later may have helped Parisa Dehghani-Tafti in the Democratic primary for commonwealth’s attorney. Dehghani-Tafti narrowly defeated two-term incumbent Theo Stamos.

This year, races for local and legislative posts are probably not in much doubt across Arlington. But Democrats are hoping to run up the score in the races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general in order to offset Republican strongholds downstate.

For information on the MUBS initiative, e-mail mubs@arlingtondemocrats.org.

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