First Non-Democrat in Decades Wins Special Election in Arlington

For the first time since 1999, a non-Democrat will serve on the Arlington County Board.

Independent candidate John Vihstadt defeated Democrat Alan Howze in a special election Tuesday to replace Chris Zimmerman, who stepped down earlier this year to become Vice President of a national non-profit organization.

Vihstadt, who had endorsements from the Republican and Green parties, won 57 percent of the vote, compared to 41 percent for Howze.

Vihstadt opposes a proposed $300 million streetcar project on Columbia Pike that was a major issue in the election. Proponents say the streetcar will spur economic development, while opponents prefer cheaper alternatives like expanded bus service.

The last non-Democrat to win election to Arlington's five-member governing body was Republican Mike Lane, who also won a special election.

County officials say Vihstadt will be sworn in after results are certified.

Vihstadt will finish the rest of Zimmerman's term; he can run for re-election during November's General Election. 

Vihstadtis an attorney with with Krooth & Altman, LLP and has lived in Arlington since 1981, according to a county press release.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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