Erik Gutshall will succeed Jay Fisette on the Arlington County Board while Monique O’Grady will take the School Board seat of James Lander, after the Democrats rolled up expected victories in local races Nov. 7.
Gutshall, who in May topped a field of four to win the Democratic nomination for County Board, bested independents Charles McCullough and Audrey Clement. On Jan. 1, he will take the seat of Fisette, who has served in office for 20 years.
O’Grady, who in May upended incumbent School Board member James Lander in a Democratic caucus, won the general election in field that included Alison Dough and Mike Webb. She, too, will take office in January.
Results were rolling in at 7:30 p.m., with early precincts showing both Democrats holding commanding leads. Final results are likely to be in around 9 p.m.
The terms of Gutshall and O’Grady will run for four years. Theirs were the only seats on the five-member, at-large panels that went to the voters this year.
Both Gutshall and O’Grady have solid civic bona-fides: The former currently serves as chairman of the Planning Commission, the latter has been active in a host of school committees through the years.
Gutshall last year took on County Board member Libby Garvey in the Democratic primary, winning 45 percent of the vote. O’Grady has never sought office before this year.
In the only other local contested race in Arlington, Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49th) defeated Republican Adam Roosevelt to win another two-year term in Richmond. Arlington’s other delegates – Patrick Hope in the 47th, Rip Sullivan in the 48th and Mark Levine in the 45th – were all unopposed.
To absolutely no one’s surprise, the Democratic statewide ticket of Ralph Northam, Justin Fairfax and Mark Herring was rolling up big numbers among the Arlington electorate.
In what might be good news for Republicans, however, the GOP’s statewide ticket was outperforming Donald Trump’s anemic 2016 results in Arlington, although Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie was not faring quite as well as lieutenant-governor candidate Jill Vogel and attorney-general nominee John Adams in early results from the county.
Voters who hadn’t cast absentee ballots in advance of the Nov. 7 general election trooped to the polls during day that quickly turned rainy and stayed cold.
With the 2017 election now in the history books, eyes will turn to 2018, when the seats of County Board member John Vihstadt (the body’s lone independent) and School Board Chairman Barbara Kanninen are up.