Gutshall and his wife, Renee. Image by Erik Gutshall.

Four candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination for the Arlington County Board to succeed Jay Fisette, who is retiring this year. We encourage Arlington Democrats to nominate Erik Gutshall at the "firehouse primary" in early May.

Erik Gutshall has a long record of volunteer service to Arlington, on its Transportation Commission and now its Planning Commission. On the Transportation Commission, he had an excellent record supporting transit, bicycling, and transit oriented development. He has continued to be a thoughtful and insightful member of the Planning Commission.

He has come out strongly for making zoning changes to promote "Missing Middle" housing, and he has continued to be outspoken about the need for a real transit plan for Columbia Pike. In addition, he has run a very strong campaign so far. 

Peter Fallon, another candidate, has always been strong on policy as well, but his recent campaigns have not been as exciting, and in this campaign he has not been out connecting with voters as much as the other candidates.

Kim Klingler was a member of the group Arlingtonians for Sensible Transit, which spread disinformation about the now-defunct Columbia Pike streetcar.

Vivek Patil is an energetic, charismatic newcomer to Arlington. It's not clear that he has the knowledge or the tools to be an effective County Board member yet; for instance, in a stump speech along Columbia Pike he extolled the virtues of JPods, the impractical and nonsensical aerial transit alternative some floated after the streetcar's failure. However, he shows a lot of promise if he continues to be involved in the county.

Arlington Democrats are selecting their nominee through a firehouse primary, where voters show up at one of a few designated sites, cast a ballot, and leave. The sites and dates are:

  • Tuesday, May 9, 7-9 pm at Key Elementary School
  • Thursday, May 11, 7-9 pm at Drew Model School
  • Saturday, May 13, 11 am - 7 pm at Washington-Lee High School

Voters can rank multiple choices if they wish, and the winner is chosen by instant-runoff voting which eliminates the lowest vote total and reapportions any votes to the voters' next highest choices. The winner is generally expected to easily win in November with minimal opposition.

This is the official endorsement of Greater Greater Washington. To determine endorsements, we invite regular contributors and editors to participate in a survey about their preferences and opinions about upcoming races. The editorial board then decides whether to make an endorsement.