Money can’t buy you love, as the Beatles sang, but apparently it does the trick when running for elected office these days.
Buoyed by oodles of out-of-state political-action-committee cash, Parisa Tafti narrowly defeated the incumbent commonwealth’s attorney for Arlington and Falls Church, Theo Stamos, based on complete but unofficial reports.
The final unofficial tally was 14,828 votes, or 52 percent, for Tafti to 13,700 for Stamos. Tafti won both Arlington and Falls Church by relatively similar percentages to the overall total.
Tafti, who has no experience as a prosecutor and ran significantly to the left of the eight-year incumbent in a race that was heated from the start, benefited from hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign support from a PAC boosted by financier George Soros. Democratic-leaning voters were inundated with campaign mailers, online ads and even television advertising from the Tafti campaign, which significantly out-spent Stamos.
Stamos supporters were hopeful that in the last weeks of the campaign, a tide of revulsion about the spending levels would set in and take their candidate to victory. But it was not to be.
Stamos had a number of problems she was unable to surmount, including her support for Republican-backed independent John Vihstadt in 2014 and 2018 Arlington County Board races, and positions about jurisprudence that seemed out of line with the increasingly leftward tilt of the Democratic electorate.
No Republicans filed to run in the general election, but an independent did get his paperwork in under the June 11 filing deadline.
If Frank Webb qualifies for the ballot – something that will be known in coming days – there will be a faceoff with Tafti on Nov. 5. Given the strength of the Democratic sample ballot in Arlington and Falls Church, though, Webb’s chances likely will be somewhere between slim and none.
Four years ago, Webb filed to take on Stamos but did not meet all the filing requirements and was kept off the ballot.