In a primary election last night, Chris Zimmerman won the Democratic nomination for the Nov. 5 County Board election.
Zimmerman, a six-year veteran of the board now serving as chair, won out over a first-time challenger, political newcomer Christian Dorsey.
Dan Steen, chair of the Arlington Democratic Committee, said turnout was high in Tuesday’s caucus, held in the cafeteria of Washington-Lee High School. "We’ve had a heavy turnout from both campaigns," Steen said. "This has been one of the best caucuses I’ve seen."
Zimmerman and Dorsey faced each other in two debates leading up to the primary, debates which highlighted the main issue in the primary campaign: affordable housing.
It is an issue on which Zimmerman has been outspoken during board actions. In several board votes, he has in fact voiced support for a project only to vote against it because it included insufficient affordable housing units.
While he praised Zimmerman’s record throughout the campaign, Dorsey said that a continued lack of affordable housing was a sign of a lack of leadership at the board level.
Zimmerman has been an Arlington resident since 1979. He came to local politics after first working on county issues as president of his civic association and as a Planning Commission member. In addition to serving as County Board chair, this year he also heads the Metro Board of Directors.
Dorsey, 30, grew up in Atlantic City, N.J., moving to the Washington area to attend Georgetown University. After graduation, he moved to Arlington, and has lived here since.
Zimmerman will go on to face Republican candidate Mike Clancy in the November election. Clancy also ran in last November’s election, against board member Jay Fisette. The two got a sneak peek at the next six months during an NAACP debate late last month.
Last year, Clancy focused on public safety as he ran against Fisette. During last month’s debate, like Zimmerman and Dorsey, he talked mostly about affordable housing. The problem, he said, was tax rates and increasing assessments that put Arlington homes beyond the reach of most.