Chanda Choun announces for Arlington County Board

Chanda Choun addresses members of the Arlington County Democratic Committee on Feb. 7, 2018.

The Democratic field for County Board doubled in size on Feb. 7, as Buckingham resident Chanda Choun kicked off his bid for the party’s nomination.

“The time is now to add a different voice – a voice that currently does not exist,” to the County Board, Choun said in remarks at the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s monthly meeting.

Although he only has been a resident of the county since 2015, “I am making up for lost time – Arlington is the love of my life,” said Choun, who was born in Cambodia and arrived in the U.S. as an infant.

Choun joins Matt de Ferranti, who in January announced plans to seek the Democratic nomination. The winner of the June 12 primary goes on to face independent County Board member John Vihstadt, who is seeking a second term.

In remarks that – like de Ferranti’s a month before – were light on specifics and avoided mentioning Vihstadt by name, Choun said he could offer Arlingtonians a unique set of experiences. He joined the U.S. Army after high school, and continues to serve in the Army Reserve while working for a cybersecurity firm.

“You need a tech guy on the board,” said Choun, who said one of his initiatives, if elected, would be to promote telework in an effort to ease traffic congestion.

Grace Choi, an executive with Save the Children who is supporting Choun, said his best attribute is his desire to serve.

“He really is a man of faith, family and country,” she said.

De Ferranti’s campaign subtly counterpunched at the Feb. 7 meeting, releasing a lengthy list of largely establishment Democrats who have signed up early to support his bid. Handicappers likely would tout de Ferranti as the front-runner, but a number of those on the political pole position have fallen to aggressive newcomers in recent Democratic caucuses and primaries in Arlington.

Choun has been involved with the Buckingham Community Civic Association, has served as a representative to the Arlington County Civic Federation and is a former board member of Arlington Young Democrats, according to a campaign biography.

Arlington County Democratic Committee chair Jill Caiazzo took a “the-more-the-merrier” approach to the County Board nomination process.

“We have a race – who knows, we may have another entrant,” she said at the meeting.

That’s possible – but fate tends to be unkind to Democrats who hop into Arlington races late in the game.

Arlington Democrats this year opted to use a state-run primary to select their nominee. It will be held the same day as Virginia Republicans go to the polls to select a U.S. Senate nominee in an effort to unseat incumbent Democrat Tim Kaine.

Under Virginia election law, any registered voter can participate in either party’s primary on June 12, but will not be able to cast ballots in both.