Former Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt has weighed in to support independent Audrey Clement in the 2022 County Board race.
Vihstadt did not say so explicitly at a recent rally organized by opponents of the Missing Middle housing/zoning proposals, but his remarks left little doubt about his sympathies.
“If you want to send a message to the echo chamber and add diversity of thought and perspective to this County Board, pick your candidate wisely,” Vihstadt said at the rally.
In case anyone missed the implication, he added that if one was a praying person, “pray for ‘in-Clement’ weather” on Election Day.
Vihstadt in 2014 rode a wave of public anger over high-ticket county-government spending coupled with the impression that Arlington’s elected leaders weren’t paying attention to the public to, first, a special-election victory in the spring and then the general-election victory that November.
In both cases, he defeated Democrat Alan Howze in a race for the seat vacated by Chris Zimmerman, who long had dominated Arlington governance but resigned to take a position with a smart-growth organization.
In 2014, Clement – who has been running almost non-stop for County Board for a decade – opted instead to run for School Board, apparently to give Vihstadt a one-on-one shot against Howze, rather than split the vote against the Democratic candidate.
She did the same thing in 2018, but that year Democrats were able to regain the County Board seat with Matt de Ferranti as their candidate.
This year’s race features de Ferranti, Clement and independent Adam Theo, making his second bid for County Board.
During the campaign, Clement has positioned herself as against implementing Missing Middle; Theo is an unabashed supporter of full implementation; and de Ferranti is trying to hold the middle ground, saying he is supportive of the idea but not necessarily of going all-in on implementation.