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Editorial: Our endorsements for House of Delegates in Arlington

Hope, McClure, Lopez should be sent to Richmond for 2024

Legislative redistricting after the 2020 federal census means that Arlington will now be split into three districts rather than the four it previously contained.

Which means that state Dels. Rip Sullivan and Elizabeth Bennett-Parker no longer will have any Arlington precincts, while Dels. Patrick Hope and Alfonso Lopez have seen their districts reconfigured and a third (open) district has been created.

The new 1st and 2nd districts are located entirely within Arlington, while the 3rd District is mostly in Arlington but has a portion of neighboring Alexandria, as well.

Here’s our view on those races:

• In the newly drawn 1st District – which includes most of North Arlington except for its easternmost area – veteran Del. Patrick Hope is unopposed.

Hope’s biggest flaw, perhaps, is that he is politically chameleon-like. Get him in front of a business audience and he’s pro-business. Get him in front of an advoacy group or the party faithful and he’s a progressive champion. He’s happy to be whatever you want him to be – as long as you accept that, for the most part, he’ll be voting along party lines.

That said, Hope does give thought to the issues and largely represents his constituents effectively. A Democratic majority in the next session, which is a decided possibility, would allow him to maximize his growing seniority to good effect.

We support Patrick Hope for re-election.

• The remainder of North Arlington, plus portions of the Route 1 corridor encompassing Crystal City and Pentagon City, is given over to the 2nd District, where Democrat Adele McClure is unopposed.

McClure is a first-time candidate but a veteran in terms of state politics, having been executive director of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.

On the campaign stump, McClure is fond of telling audiences that she’s a gun owner; the inference to be drawn, apparently, is that she’s not a reflexive progressive but makes up her own mind. We’d love to see her head down to Richmond without, as so many legislators of both parties across Virginia seem to, leaving her independent-minded critical-thinking skills at home. Time will tell.

Adele McClure seems a fine option for the seat. We endorse her candidacy.

• In the 3rd District, veteran Democratic legislator Alfonso Lopez is facing a challenge from independent Mike Webb, who previously has run for Congress and School Board. The district includes most of South Arlington, minus the eastern part that’s in the 2nd, plus adjacent areas in the northern part of Alexandria.

Lopez’s prime challenge in Richmond is similar to, though different in the nuances and extent, what we enunciated about Hope. He aims to simultaneously be an aggressive partisan (having risen to chief whip of the House Democratic Caucus) despite needing to win support from the Republican side of the aisle on legislation he patrons. Even master jugglers would find that hard to pull off.

Lopez does score a few victories each legislative session, but Republicans seem more than happy to ruthlessly kill off most of his bills as payback for what sometimes can be partisan histrionics that rub the GOP the wrong way.

Lopez’s low batting average could improve if Democrats regain control of the chamber; we shall see.

As for Webb, we’re not sure his reasons for running, but he’s not a factor in this Democratic-stronghold district.

Alfonso Lopez is the preferred choice in this race. We endorse his re-election.