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Arlington GOP angling for more candidate recruitment in '24

Party has just three candidates on ballot this November
The Arlington County Republican Committee's November 2023 "sample ballot" listing its candidates.

Having gone 3-for-15 in candidate recruitment for 2023, the Arlington County Republican Committee is hoping for a better ratio in 2024.

“If you’re frustrated about not having Republican candidates to support in every contest on this ballot, I encourage you to consider running for office in a future election,” Arlington County Republican Committee chair Matthew Hurtt said in a recent e-mail to the party faithful.

“I would be happy to speak with you about running for office,” wrote Hurtt, who like many of his predecessors as county GOP chair has found candidate recruitment to be a tough nut to crack. Members of the committee often exhibit more interest in, and zeal for, state and particularly federal affairs than local governance.

On the Nov. 7 ballot are three Republicans – Sophia Moshasha and David Henshaw taking on incumbent state senators Adam Ebbin and Barbara Favola, respectively, and Juan Carlos Fierro running in a four-candidate field for two open County Board seats.

That leaves 12 posts, including School Board, other General Assembly districts and all five constitutional offices, that do not have Republicans on the ballot.

“You can’t win if you don’t run – plain and simple,” Hurtt said.

Republicans candidates are longshots in Arlington races and have been for more than a quarter-century. But having candidates on the ballot can help raise the party’s profile and, in some instances, can have an impact on the broader political scene.

In 2021, Republicans ran in what then were the four (now three) House of Delegates seats representing Arlington. Although all four lost by significant amounts, GOP leaders believe having them on the ballot helped to energize local Republicans to come out and vote. That, in turn, assisted the Republican statewide ticket for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general in picking up votes that may have proved crucial in what turned out to be close races against Democratic opposition.

The coming year will bring a much more limited number of local races – one County Board seat and two School Board seats will be on the Arlington ballot in 2024, along with races for president, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.