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Republicans Endorse Vihstadt for County Board

By Ethan Rothstein - ARLNow.com

Tuesday - 2/4/2014, 10:30am  ET

John VihstadtThe Arlington County Republican Committee (ACRC) has endorsed John Vihstadt to fill the County Board seat Chris Zimmerman plans to vacate this month.

Vihstadt is running as an independent against Democratic nominee Alan Howze and libertarian Evan Bernick. Perennial Independent Green candidate Janet Murphy and Stephen Holbrook, a retired FBI agent who ran an unsuccessful write-in campaign for the County Board last year, have also filed paperwork indicating that they are running.

Vihstadt now has the endorsement of Arlington Republicans, the Arlington Green Party and several high-profile local Democrats, including County Board member Libby Garvey, Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos and former Arlington County Democratic Committee Chair (and ARLnow.com opinion columnist) Peter Rousselot.

Vihstadt opposes the Columbia Pike Streetcar and the planned Long Bridge Aquatics Center, now on hold after constructed bids came in above the allotted budget. Vihstadt said he’s a Republican when he announced his campaign in December, but chose to run as an independent with the hopes of securing the Republicans’ endorsement.

The endorsement signifies the second consecutive County Board election the Republicans have not run an official candidate. There was no Republican challenger when now-Board Chair Jay Fisette ran for re-election in 2013.

Arlington County Democratic Committee President Kip Malinowsky issued a statement after Vihstadt secured the endorsement.

“Mr. Vihstadt has shown us his true Republican colors,” Malinowski said. “He has a long history of supporting conservative candidates and now he has the Republican Party’s endorsement. Voters now have a clear choice: Alan Howze is a real progressive leader who will move Arlington forward, while Mr. Vihstadt will be another Republican obstructionist.”

The special election to replace Zimmerman is expected to be held on April 8. The date is expected to be officially set on Tuesday, Feb. 11, a day after Zimmerman formally resigns.

As of 10:30 a.m. ACRC had not issued a public statement about its endorsement of Vihstadt.