It seems to be something of a tale of two strategies when it comes to the pair of Republicans recruited in the – let’s be honest here – likely futile attempt to knock off the two sitting state senators whose newly redistricted seats, between them, encompass the entirety of Arlington.
• In the 40th Senate District, which includes the vast majority of the county (excepting the southernmost and Pentagon City areas), GOP nominee David Henshaw is wearing his compassionate-conservative credentials on his sleeve. He wasn’t afraid, at the inaugural candidate forum held by the Arlington County Civic Federation earlier this month, to enunciate positions on a host of issues that probably aren’t going to win over converts among the perhaps 75 percent of county residents who see themselves on the liberal to progressive wing of the political spectrum.
But he did so in a pleasant manner, scoring points on style if not always substance in the debate against incumbent Democrat Barbara Favola.
Favola, who served nearly 15 years on the Arlington County Board before moving up to the legislature in 2012, long has steamrollered opponents both in general elections and Democratic nominating contests. She will roll over Henshaw as she did James DeVita in June’s Democratic primary.
Her local-government experience serves her well in Richmond, and while she doesn’t exactly have a maverick streak, Favola brings to the job enough independence of thought to be able to make deals across the aisle.
We have taken a liking to Henshaw, but Barbara Favola deserves re-election.
• In the new 39th Senate District, which while centered in Alexandria does contain some Arlington precincts, Republican Sophia Moshasha is seeking to replace Democratic incumbent Adam Ebbin in Richmond.
In the same campaign forum referenced above, Ebbin struck first by going on a moderate attack – suggesting Moshasha is hiding her views because they would be so out of touch with the local electorate.
And indeed, we didn’t exactly come away with a firm grasp of the those views during the debate. Moshasha is young and personable, but with a few exceptions those attributes don’t by themselves win over local voters, who frequently want candidates to deliver steak over sizzle.
With a little more seasoning, Moshasha could become a productive, respected alternative voice in local civic affairs. For now, however, Adam Ebbin is deserving of being sent back to Richmond for four more years.