Matt Munsey and the great crew with Arlington/Alexandria for Democracy asked each of the six candidates in the 45th District House of Delegates primary race to complete a questionnaire for as part of the Arlington/Alexandria for Democracy endorsement process. This Meetup developed some effective open-ended questions that elicited interesting differences among the candidates.
All of the candidates' responses can be reviewed here. It's a fascinating read.
I got to see all six candidates in person on Monday night at a candidates forum in Fairlington hosted by the Arlington County Democratic Committee. I'll be working on a write-up of the event tomorrow, but seeing all candidates in person was a useful reminder to me that no matter how much we learn about a candidate online, the in-person experience elicits a wealth of information.
The short story is this: all six candidates running would be great additions to the Virginia House of Delegates. They each have impressive qualifications, deep resumes, and obvious talents. Once the primary is over, someone should seriously consider funding a major relocation package so that the five other candidates would be transplanted to five of the dozens of other districts where no Democrat is currently running so they could help build the party outside this blue stronghold in the 45th. Seriously.
As I've mentioned before, I think it's critical for the Democratic party to field strong, progressive leaders in "safe" Democratic strongholds like the 45th and the 57th (more on the 57th here), and seeing all six contenders in the 45th tonight made it easier to evaluate which candidates are committed to building progressive leadership and strength around Virginia as well as serving their constituents in the 45th. It's a shame that only one of them will move on to serve in the House this year, though.