Skip to content

Editorial: 3 constitutional-office candidates worth supporting

Ferguson, de la Pava, Klingler win endorsement

Sept. 22 marks the start of early voting in the Nov. 7 general election, as “Election Day” is now, for better or worse, “Election Season.”

In an attempt to stay ahead of the curve, we’re going to start offering endorsements in Arlington races this week.

Obviously it’s too early to parse the contested races; we need to see the candidates in action a couple of times. And there are a few uncontested races where we are not yet convinced that those running merit support, but we will look them over, too, and report back.

Many newspapers – sorry, “media organizations” – have given up on political endorsements in recent years. We think that’s further proof of the decline of the industry. While endorsements may not sway elections (nor, perhaps, should they), they provide the public the chance to hear from a neutral referee that can assess the pluses and minuses in each race. So we’re going to keep them going.

Herewith the low-hanging fruit in this year’s election, in this case all constitutional officers:

• It’s been eight years since Arlington (and Falls Church) voters have cast ballots for clerk of the Circuit Court. Owing to a quirk of Virginia history, the occupants of these posts across the commonwealth have some of the longest terms in office of any office-holders in the country.

Incumbent Democrat Paul Ferguson has served in the post for 16 years, and is asking the voters to give him eight more. From all we can tell, the office is well-managed and survived the pandemic with less of the duck-and-cover mentality than we saw, say, in the county government.

Ferguson, who previously served a long stint on the County Board before succeeding David Bell in 2008, largely keeps politics out of the office, which is not always the case statewide.

For a host of reasons, we think it’s clear Paul Ferguson deserves a new term.

• Treasurer Carla de la Pava, a Democrat, has been in office for a decade, having succeeded her long-serving predecessor (and boss) Frank O’Leary.

She has continued the office’s tradition of a focus on customer service while also aggressively going after those who think paying local taxes is a suggestion rather than as a requirement. As a result, Arlington’s tax-delinquency rate, already rock-bottom under O’Leary, is now even lower.

There has been some internal staff grumbling over the years, and the office has had the occasional misstep. But it is well-run, and as a result, Carla de la Pava deserves another four years in office.

• Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy is retiring after 20 years in office, and unopposed on the November ballot is her anointed successor and fellow Democrat Kim Klingler, currently executive director of the Columbia Pike Partnership.

Klingler, who years back made an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination for County Board, has been active in civic affairs for two decades. Her outgoing demeanor has been a plus, and we doubt Morroy would have endorsed her at the very start of 2023 had she not believed Klingler was up to the job.

While past performance is not necessarily an indicator of what will come in the future, we believe Kim Klingler has the skills to keep the forward momentum of the Morroy years going. We endorse her election bid.