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Peterson maintains lead in local endorsements as Democratic primary approaches

ARLNow, Daniel Egitto, May 31, 2024 at 11:00am

With the Democratic primary vote weeks away, one Arlington County Board candidate maintains a clear lead in endorsements from local officials.

Dozens of current and former county leaders have thrown their hat in the ring for Tenley Peterson ahead of the June 18 vote. Additions in recent weeks include outgoing County Board Chair Libby Garvey, former Arlington Sheriff Beth Arthur, former County Board member Christian Dorsey and outgoing Arlington School Board Chair Cristina Diaz-Torres.

These endorsements join those of 11 current and former members of the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission, where Peterson served for eight years, and another 11 from Planning Commission, where she has served since 2019. Other notable endorsements include former County Board members Jay Fisette and Katie Cristol, and former Del. Judy Connally.

Several state officials and union chapters, meanwhile, have cast their support for candidate JD Spain. Dels. Patrick Hope, Alfonso Lopez and Adele McClure are backing him, as are the Arlington Education Association, the Northern Virginia Labor Federation and the regional chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti has also thrown in her support.

Spain earned 23% of the vote in last year’s primary.

Endorsing Spain as their No. 1 pick and Peterson as No. 2 are Sen. Barbara Favola, County Board Vice-Chair Takis Karantonis, County Board member Matt de Ferranti, the regional Sierra Club chapter, YIMBYs of NoVa and Greater Greater Washington.

Setting Peterson and Spain apart from the other Democratic candidates is their support for Missing Middle. More than a year after its passage, the controversial zoning policy — and an accompany lawsuit against it — has remained a much-talked-about issue on the campaign trail.

It’s an especially key talking point for contender Natalie Roy, who secured 31% of the vote in the primary last year on an anti-Missing Middle platform.

Roy has recently earned support from the Gazette Leader and Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, the latter of which also endorses Peterson. Also supporting her are former County Board members John VihstadtWalter Tejada and Chris Zimmerman, and former School Board member James Lander.

Candidate Julie Farnam’s website lists a handful of endorsements, including the executive director of the anti-gun violence nonprofit Safer Country and a member of the Herndon Town Council. She also has the Gazette Leader’s No. 2 endorsement.

Contender James DeVita, noted for his issue-oriented campaign signs, does not list any endorsements on his website.

In advance of the primary, the following candidate forums are scheduled next week.

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