The dawn of a new calendar (and political) year will bring a new sheriff to Arlington, who if he wants to keep the job over the long haul will have to run for it.
But not immediately.
The good news for an Arlington electorate that sees a never-ending election cycle? The retirement of Sheriff Beth Arthur will not necessitate a special election to fill her post. Instead, Chief Deputy Jose Quiroz will move up to sheriff and fill out the remainder of Arthur’s term, which lasts until Dec. 31, 2023.
Arthur on Nov. 24 announced she would not seek re-election, and on Dec. 5 said she would retire in early January rather than serve out the year. Quiroz will formally be installed as sheriff on Jan. 7.
Arthur became the first female sheriff in Virginia when she succeeded Thomas Faust 22 years ago.
Faust also left office early (in his case, to take a new job), which gave Arthur time to settle in before running for the post. The same scenario may play out with Quiroz, if he plans to seek the post permanently.
If he does aim to keep the post, Quiroz may make it official at this week’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting, which could be a whirlwind of candidate activities as there are 13 different Arlington positions on next November’s ballot.
Arthur is one of five constitutional officers in Arlington – so named because their duties are embedded in the state constitution. Others include the clerk of Circuit Court (Paul Ferguson), treasurer (Carla de la Pava), commissioner of revenue (Ingrid Morroy) and commonwealth’s attorney (Parisa Deghani-Tafti). Ferguson and Tafti also serve the residents of the city of Falls Church.
Over the summer, de la Pava told the Sun Gazette she plans to seek re-election to the post she’s held since 2013. Deghani-Tafti on Nov. 24 announced she planned to seek a second term.
Arthur began work in the Sheriff’s Office in January 1986 under the tenure of then-Sheriff James Gondles, and rose to director of administration under Faust. When Faust resigned, Arthur in 2000 defeated John Baber and Elmer Lowe in a special election to win the job and become Virginia’s first female elected sheriff, a post that in the Old Dominion traces its roots back to colonial times.
In a Dec. 5 letter formalizing her plans, delivered to Arlington County Board Chairman Katie Cristol and Circuit Court Chief Judge William Newman Jr., Arthur said she “had truly loved every minute” of serving as sheriff.
“While I may have broken a few barriers along the way, what I am most proud of is always looking out for the people, those that work in the Sheriff’s Office and those remanded to our custody,” she said. “Everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”