ARLINGTON, Va., Saturday, June 8, 2019—Incumbent School Board Chair Reid Goldstein emerged as the victor Saturday night in the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s (Arlington Dems) caucus to determine the Democratic endorsee for the School Board seat that will be on the November ballot.
The firehouse caucus, held over three days at three public Arlington K-12 schools, drew 2,000 voters.
Goldstein received 1,231 votes out of 1,999 ballots counted, or 61.6% of the total number of ballots counted. Challenger David Priddy received 763 votes. There was one provisional ballot.
An endorsement by Arlington Dems has been a valuable asset for School Board candidates: All five current School Board members received the endorsement before going on to general-election victories.
Goldstein has been on the School Board since 2016, and has served as chair since July 2018. The son of public school teachers, he has served on a variety of civic, neighborhood, housing and educational organizations. A 30-year resident of Arlington, Goldstein’s children attended Arlington public schools. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York, College at Brockport, and a master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University. Goldstein’s professional background includes strategic planning for federal government and private industry clients.
“The School Board plays a critical role in making Arlington an excellent place to call home, and we are grateful that two strong community leaders chose to run for this important local office,” Arlington Democrats Chair Jill Caiazzo said. “Arlington Democrats congratulate Reid on receiving the Democratic endorsement, and we pledge our full support to him during the general election campaign. We will fight hard to ensure that the School Board continues to champion the policy priorities that enable educational achievement for all Arlington students.”
Both Goldstein and Priddy spent much of the day at Washington-Lee High School, where the final day of the caucus was held.
“I am deeply humbled and very proud to have won the endorsement of the Arlington Democrats,” Goldstein said in a statement. “In my second term, I will continue focusing on instruction, inclusion and integrated planning to ensure a superior education for all students in the face of relentlessly rising enrollment, while also addressing student stress.” Goldstein further noted, “I’d like to thank David Priddy for the ideas he advocated during the campaign and for his support of our outstanding public school system.”
Arlington Public Schools educates more than 28,000 students in 37 elementary, middle, high and secondary schools, and other programs. The fiscal year 2019 budget is about $637.2 million. The School Board consists of five members who serve overlapping four-year terms.
Why is the school board caucus separate from Arlington’s June 11 Democratic primary? In Virginia, it is not legally permissible to designate a partisan candidate for a school board race using a government-run primary. Because school board candidates are prohibited from officially declaring a party affiliation, a primary to determine the Democratic candidate is not permitted under Virginia law. Instead, Arlington Democrats use a party-run caucus to identify Democratic endorsees in School Board races. The phrase “firehouse caucus” refers to the voting that takes place in an open room, rather than in private polling booths.
The general election will be Nov. 5, 2019, and the term for the winning candidate commences on Jan. 1, 2020.