Mayor Bowser injects “divisiveness” into DC's at-large election, Marc Elrich and Nancy Floreen are two sides of the same anti-urban coin, Democratic Socialists are targeting ANCs, Arlington debates what to do about corporate vacancies, and more in our election link roundup.
Who's really being “divisive” in DC's at-large race?
While the main policy disagreement in DC’s at-large race is paid family leave, Dionne Reeder’s surrogates (most prominently, Mayor Muriel Bowser) have consistently argued that Silverman is a “divisive” candidate. Team Reeder has also been accused of trying to stoke the District’s deep-seated racial tensions. Bowser is apparently upset that Silverman demanded the firing of aid Josh Lopez for his involvement in a rally that included antisemitic rhetoric. Lopez helped to organize the rally, which protested criticism of Trayvon White’s antisemitic comments. For his part, Lopez accused Silverman of “stoking racial animosity.” [Peter Jamison / Post]
The DSA targets ANCs
The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), like GGWash, see Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) as both important to day-to-day life in DC and as excellent opportunities to sow the seeds of future change. DSA has run 11 candidates for ANCs across the city and is hoping that their success at ANC level will eventually translate into power within the Wilson Building. [Matt Cohen / City Paper]
Elrich’s transportation vision is disappointing
If elected as County Executive, Marc Elrich says that his number one priority will be to restructure the Montgomery County government to make it more efficient. Such restructuring is more pressing than universal pre-K or bus rapid transit, says Elrich, because the county has neither the budget for new major obligations nor the political will for tax cuts. Elrich is also mostly, though not entirely, against road widening. His preference is not so much “don’t widen” but rather add lanes to the median where possible. Elrich is also against tolling because he sees the tolls as regressive and unfair to taxpayers who pay for the roads but can't afford to use them. [Louis Peck / Bethesda Beat]
Floreen’s transportation vision is even worse
Nancy Floreen accuses Elrich of being overly focused on the past rather than the future of Montgomery County. While Floreen is clearly more open to in-fill development, she calls for a “balanced” approach to congestion in Montgomery County, noting that “the vast majority of residents drive from place to place” and that there needs to be “a balanced solution that involves transit and roads.” While Floreen supports some Bus Rapid Transit projects, she also supports M-83 construction and indicated that failing to expand car-centric infrastructure in the county would be a failure to invest in its future. Floreen also “applauds” Governor Larry Hogan for his highway expansion plans, and declined to endorse Ben Jealous. [Louis Peck / Bethesda Beat]
Is a choice between urban land use or urban transit really a choice?
As is evident by the above interviews, few urbanists would consider Elrich or Floreen dream candidates. Floreen is okay, but not great, on land use and development issues and seems to be generally bad on transportation issues. Elrich is okay, but not great on transportation issues, and seems to be generally bad on land use and development. The unfortunate reality, however, is that you cannot truly be strong on either of these issues without being strong on the other. High density development is impoverished by auto-oriented infrastructure, and strong transit cannot reach its potential without dense, walkable, mixed use land use. [Adam Pagnucco / Bethesda Beat]
Could the polls really be that wrong?
While Jealous is behind by 18-20 points in the polls, Democrats see signs of heightened engagement and interest on the left. The Jealous camp estimates (read: hopes) that more than one million Democrats will come out on election day and overwhelm the support for the popular Republican incumbent. “Over and over again, we see that polling is just wrong,” says Travis Tazelaar, Jealous’s campaign manager. “They often undercount young people, they undercount people of color, new registrants… What we know for a fact is that Democrats are energized to vote.” [Martin Austermuhle / WAMU]
The corporate vacancy rate is a central issue in Arlington
Democratic challenger Matt de Ferranti criticized Independent Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt for failing to successfully address the county’s office vacancy rate. “We need new vision to bring down that vacancy rate.” Both candidates hope to attract forward-looking industries like “clean tech” to lower the vacancy rate, but de Ferranti was far more bullish than Vihstadt on the potential for Amazon HQ2 in Crystal City. [Alex Koma / ARLnow]
Anti-Trump sentiment lifts Wexton
For Democrats' sake, hopefully some of the polls are accurate. Democratic candidate Jennifer Wexton is well ahead of Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock in Virginia’s 10th congressional district. Survey respondents report that their love for Wexton is driven by their distaste for Trump. [Emily Guskin / Post]
Michael Bekesha is a Republican challenging Charles Allen for the Ward 6 DC Council seat. He describes himself as an “urban Republican” who is “socially progressive but fiscally responsible.” If that’s the case, then your loyal links aggregator has a very hard time understanding why he’s a Republican, since the Republican Party is neither socially progressive nor fiscally responsible and hasn’t been for many decades. But you do you, Michael! [Rob Brunner / Washingtonian]