Alexandria, VA

A hot mic incident kicked off a storm of lampooning followed by an equally swift backlash when it was shown that the original video was taken out of context.

Yesterday, Vice President Mike Pence visited Alexandria to drop off supplies for the Woodbine Rehabilitative and Health Center, a senior care facility where there have been positive COVID-19 cases among residents and staff.

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel shared edited footage of the visit implying that the boxes being dropped off at the facility were empty, when in truth the boxes comments were made about boxes still in the van that were not unloaded. Kimmel lampooned the clip on his late-night show as an embodiment of the Trump administration, but later took the clip down and made a clarification on Twitter.

Pence was criticized on Twitter for not wearing a mask on his visit, and today news broke that his press secretary tested positive for the virus.

The visit drew criticism from Democrats even before the back and forth over the empty boxes. The Biden Campaign dismissed the visit as an empty photo opportunity and Rep Don Beyer (D) said the scandal isn’t about the boxes, but about the facilities across the country that are still without personal protective equipment.

Image via C-SPAN

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Former Vice President Joe Biden had a strong showing on Super Tuesday in Virginia and in Alexandria — where he won every precinct and 54% of the vote — but Alexandria’s second choice was not as clear cut and broke down along geographic lines.

Both senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders were neck-and-neck with 18% of the vote, with Bloomberg trailing in fourth with 10% of the city’s vote, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.

Throughout Old Town, Biden won over 50% of the vote, but for the precincts at City Hall and North Old Town, Bloomberg came in second with around 15% of the vote.

Those were Bloomberg’s only second-place finishes in Alexandria. Across the rest of Alexandria, Warren and Sanders duked it out for second.

Warren won second in a stretch of Alexandria from Del Ray and Parkfairfax in the north. Those second place wins for Warren stopped at Quaker Lane, however. Seminary Hill, the West End, and Landmark areas all voted Biden in first and Sanders in second.

While Biden lost one precinct in Arlington to Sanders, he never dipped below 43% of the vote in Alexandria. The closest race was Precinct 302 at the Patrick Henry Recreation Center, where Biden was still 127 votes above Sanders.

There was also still some support for candidates who’d already dropped out. Counting the non-absentee votes, 64 people still showed up to the polls for Pete Buttigieg and 86 for Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Both got more total votes than still-in-the-race Tulsi Gabbard.

Absentee voting, largely reflecting a more crowded field prior to Biden’s big South Carolina primary win and endorsements from Buttigieg and Klobuchar, narrowly favored Warren. The Massachusetts senator received 21.3% of the absentee vote to 21.0% for Biden, 17.0% for Bloomberg, 16.4% for Buttigieg, 14.8% for Sanders, 8.1% for Klobuchar.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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Alexandria voters resoundingly chose former Vice President Joe Biden as their Democratic nominee for president on Super Tuesday.

Biden took Virginia with 54.22% of the 1.3 million votes cast across the state, and also won half of the city’s votes, which nearly doubled in participation since the last presidential primary in 2016. Virginia is one of 14 states that participated in Tuesday’s primary contest.

The unofficial Super Tuesday results in Alexandria:

  • Joe Biden: 49.95% (20,782 votes)
  • Elizabeth Warren: 18.33% (7,628 votes)
  • Bernie Sanders: 18.23% (7,586 votes)
  • Michael Bloomberg: 10.20% (4,243 votes)

Biden also received the most absentee votes with 667 votes, or 21.04%.

In a packed victory party in Old Town, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) was flanked by his Democratic House colleagues. Speaking over shouts of “Let’s go, Joe,” he said that Biden’s victory in last Saturday’s South Carolina primary was pivotal to Tuesday’s win.

“Right after South Carolina they invented a new word — ‘Joementum!'” Scott exclaimed. “Joe Biden is the strongest candidate and I think all the polls show him beating Donald Trump usually by about 10 points, and he has broad support across Virginia. Even former Republican Senator John Warner endorsed Biden on Sunday, so he’s got good support from virtually the entire spectrum, from moderate Republicans all the way to liberal Democrats.”

CNN called the Virginia primary almost immediately after polls closed at 7 p.m. — an indication of a blow-out win.

“Well, that was quick,” said Janet Myhre of Mount Vernon, “I think [Biden will] fare fine in November. I think what’s critical is the right VP candidate. If he brings in a very strong ticket, that will coalesce a lot of individuals who would have voted for Trump. My favorite is Kamala Harris, and I would like to see that happen.”

Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) did not mince words when describing the stakes of the general election in November.

“We are in a battle for the soul of America,” Wexton said. “And I know that Joe has the experience, he has the heart, he has the drive, he has the grit, the courage not only to bring the Democratic party together, but to bring our whole nation together.”

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said that Biden’s victorious path in Virginia was paved by both Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who dropped out of the race and endorsed the former vice president before Super Tuesday.

“It was really clear on Saturday that Joe had what it takes not just to win the primary, but to beat Donald Trump,” Beyer said.

Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) said that her mother-in-law recently passed away unexpectedly, and that she returned home from the funeral to find a handwritten note from Biden in her mailbox.

“He’s out there running to save the future of our country,” Luria said. “And he took the time to sit down and write my husband and me a note of condolence. So, I can tell you that Joe Biden has the heart that we need.”

Dorothy McAuliffe, the former first lady of Virginia, has supported Biden since her husband, former Governor Terry McAuliffe, announced last year that he would not be running for president.

“I am so proud of Virginia. I am so proud of everyone in this room,” McAuliffe said. “Joe has really exceeded expectations in Virginia, which has really shown the country what he can do and what he’s all about.”

Clarence Tong, the chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee, said that the turnout demonstrates how much voters in the city want to beat Trump in November.

“We’re getting plenty of volunteers,” Tong said. “In one precinct today, the precinct captain got more than two dozen volunteers to help with his polling station, so there is a lot of enthusiasm.”

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Alexandrians are on pace to cast ballots in significantly greater numbers today than during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.

Thousands of Alexandria residents have participated in the presidential primary day in Virginia, which joins 13 other states across the country in the race for the Democratic candidate to face off against President Donald Trump, in November.

Citywide voting tallies show that 23% of 97,828 registered voters cast ballots as of noon, with the Matthew Maury precinct in the lead with 31.5% of voters who headed to the polls. So far, the precinct with the worst turnout is John Adams at 10.6%, or 428 ballots cast out of 4,049 registered voters.

As of 2 p.m., the Mount Vernon Recreation Center precinct saw 1,285 votes cast, or 28% of the 4,541 registered voters.

“We’re expecting citywide turnout of about 50%, and we’re probably on track for that,” said Mount Vernon Precinct Captain Jim Bender, adding that the most voters usually arrive in the first three hours and last three hours that polls are open.

Madelene Kysilko voted for Joe Biden. The 17 year-old Alexandrian turns 18 in October, and was able to vote for the first-time in today’s Super Tuesday presidential primary.

“It was a lot more straightforward than I thought it would be. It’s very exciting,” Kysilko told ALXnow outside of the polling place at Mount Vernon Recreation Center. “I think what needs to change is the hostility. A lot of things that [President Trump] says are factually incorrect. It’s very it’s also very dangerous language, and he has a very kind of aggressive core support, and that is kind of alarming.”

Student Peregrine Enger, 22, voted for Bernie Sanders.

“Joe Biden supported the Iraq war, and look at Mike Bloomberg, with his stop and frisk clause in New York. They say that they’re on the blue side, but really, they’re just demagogues,” Enger said. “I care more for people who care more about ideology and less about buzzwords and actually care about people.”

Leigh Foley voted with her husband and 6-year-old son, who doesn’t know that Donald Trump is President.

“We have told him that President Obama is the president,” she said. “He knows that Joe Biden is President Obama’s best friend, and that Joe Biden can step in on day one and rollback all of the executive orders and reinstate Obama’s executive orders.”

“Biden can begin to rebuild our reputation internationally. And what does that do? It gets us to a place where we are not right now, which is to restore national security for the U.S.,” Foley added. “There’s no other candidate that has the ability to do that. And I think that’s incredibly important.”

The polls are open until 7 p.m.

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Former Vice President Joe Biden won the Alexandria Democratic Committee’s nearly annual straw poll on Sunday.

The event, which was attended by more than 100 people at Lost Boy Cider, is the first indicator of how Alexandria might turn out in the run up to Tuesday’s primary. Virginia is one of 15 states participating in Super Tuesday primary on March 3.

Biden, whose campaign was re-energized after winning the South Carolina primary on Saturday night, won the straw poll with 48 votes, or 38.7%. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren took second place with 39 votes, or 31.5%; former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg took third place with 14 votes, or 11.29 percent; Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders took fourth place with 13 votes, or 10.4%; and Sen. Amy Klobuchar received 8 votes, or 6.4%.

Former Florida Sen. Bill Nelson spoke as a Biden surrogate, and said that the former vice president can beat Donald Trump this November.

“We are so divided. There is so much political hate out there,” Nelson said. “This presidential race in November is going to be decided on the swing states. You take a state like Pennsylvania, you take a state like mine, Florida, which is the swingingest of the swing states, and it’s always close. Joe Biden can beat Donald Trump in those swing states.”

In addition to the unofficial win, Biden’s campaign picked up the endorsement of Alexandria’s Rep. Don Beyer (D), who previously backed Pete Buttigieg, the former South Bend, Indiana mayor who announced earlier in the day that he had suspended his campaign.

Among attendees, local Democrat Gail Gordon Donegan was split between voting for Biden and Bloomberg.

“I’m strongly leaning Biden,” she said. “I really respect Bloomberg and what he has done for the gun violence prevention community and all that he has done to help elect Democrats with his money. I think at this point, though, that Biden might be our best chance to beat Trump and Bloomberg might be a good fit for a cabinet position down the road.”

At the event, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey spoke as a surrogate for Klobuchar, Councilman Mo Seifeldein spoke for Sanders, Councilman John Taylor Chapman spoke for Warren, and former Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg spoke for Bloomberg.

Sen. Tim Kaine, meanwhile, is scheduled to help the Biden campaign phone bank at its Eisenhower Avenue office this afternoon.

ADC Chair Clarence Tong said that the committee needs volunteers between now and November.

“The straw poll is an indicator, but we know that lots of Democrats will be turning out on Super Tuesday,” he said. “We’re trying to reach voters and recruit as many volunteers as possible to help us for the November election.”

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Hours before Democratic presidential hopefuls took to the debate stage in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, the campaign offices for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden opened in Alexandria.

Virginia is one of 15 states participating in the Super Tuesday primary on March 3, and the contest has the world wondering who will come out on top.

Delegate Elizabeth Guzman (D-31), a co-chair for Sanders’ campaign in Virginia, spoke at the packed opening of the new field office at 1314 King Street.

“I decided to run for office inspired by Sen. Sanders,” Guzman, the first Hispanic immigrant elected to the General Assembly, told the audience, which included Alexandria City Councilman Mo Seifeldein. “Within the last few days, I’ve been asked by many reporters about the electability of Bernie Sanders, and that’s the question of the hour.”

Guzman said that Sanders’s base has grown since 2016, and that the campaign is focusing on not only primary voters, but engaging with voters who have felt disenfranchised by the Democratic Party. The campaign is also opening a field office in Richmond and will have campus staging locations spread across every congressional district.

The Biden field office opened Wednesday at 2121 Eisenhower Ave, and featured Ambassador Cathy Russell, a vice chair for the campaign. Russell is the former U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues and was Second Lady Jill Biden’s chief of staff during the Obama Administration.

The candidates have made mixed inroads into Virginia. Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, plans on speaking in Northern Virginia on Sunday — his latest visit since speaking in Alexandria in June — although the location of the event has yet to be determined. Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg spoke in Richmond last weekend, his second trip since speaking in Alexandria in December. Bloomberg has also opened a campaign office in Arlington.

Neither Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who held a town hall event in Arlington last week, nor Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who spoke in Dale City in October, have scheduled events in Virginia leading up to Super Tuesday.

The Alexandria Democratic Committee plans to be out in full force at the polls on Super Tuesday to talk to voters and recruit volunteers, according to ADC Chair Clarence Tong.

“The ADC has been working to increase awareness and visibility of the Super Tuesday presidential primary, including holding our almost annual ADC Straw Poll on Sunday, March 1, at Lost Boy Cider,” Tong told ALXnow. “At that event, participants can hear from surrogates from each of the presidential campaigns.”

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Boyd Walker has never done this before. On the night of Jan. 29, the Alexandria resident will travel nearly 1,000 miles with 18 others in a four car caravan from Alexandria to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to volunteer with Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

“It’s fun. It’s an adventure. It’s a road trip with a bunch of people who share your values and goals,” Walker told ALXnow. “Whoever the candidate is, there should be tremendous enthusiasm, because Donald Trump is the most corrupt, dangerous president we’ve ever had and will be very damaging to our democracy and our planet if he spends another four years in office.”

The Iowa caucus, which is the first nominating battle between the Democratic candidates vying to run against President Trump this fall, is on Feb. 3. The presidential primary process has yielded a historic number of Democratic candidates, fundraising figures and engagement among grassroots activists and volunteers.

The contest has galvanized many Alexandrians to action, including 19-year-old Barrett Fife (above), who took a year off from the College of William & Mary and moved to Urbandale, Iowa, last August to work on the presidential campaign of Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. She’s now a field organizer for the campaign, managing up to a dozen volunteers who are knocking on at least 100 doors a day in the run up to the primary.

“I’m taking a break. My school was really amenable and said to take as much time off as I need and to give them a ring,” Fife said. “No matter who wins, our nation is going to be more broken and divided than ever before, and I think Mayor Pete will help heal those divisions.”

Fife interned in years past with Del. Mark Levine (D-45), but it was the kind of work that an assistant would do.

“It’s been crazy to now be leading 40-to-70-year-old Iowans. Sometimes they look at me like, ‘Who is this kid?’ but it’s been fun flexing those leadership muscles,” she said. “It’s been absolutely amazing. It’s been crazy because I’ve lived in Virginia my entire life and go to school in Virginia, so this is the longest I’ve spent away from home.”

Clarence Tong, chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee, said that Democrats are “laser-focused” on defeating Trump.

“It is exciting to have the Iowa Caucus finally here in just a few weeks and Alexandrians will have the opportunity to vote in the Virginia Primary on Super Tuesday (March 3),” Tong said. “Absentee voting has already started, so please make sure to make arrangements to vote if you cannot make it in person.”

Kurt Peterson of Charlottesville will lead the caravan of local Sanders supporters in four cars to Cedar Rapids. His group will stay in Airbnb rentals and do as directed by field organizers on the ground. In 2016, he knocked on more than 1,300 doors in seven states for Sanders.

“We’ll do whatever is most beneficial to the campaign,” Peterson said. “We’ll see how things go. I’m probably not going to New Hampshire or South Carolina because I think the effort is needed here. But after Super Tuesday we’ll see how we do and what’s next.”

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Clarence Tong was re-elected as chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee after a lengthy meeting on Monday, Jan. 6.

Tong, who said that the upcoming November presidential election is the most important in our lifetime, received 81.5% of 189 votes cast, and defeated Boyd Walker for his fourth consecutive two-year term.

“We have the opportunity to build on the progress we have achieved together,” Tong told a packed house in the auditorium of the T.C. Williams Minnie Howard campus. “Our most important task will be unifying Democrats later this year… to defeat Donald Trump.”

The chair race was the only contested election for the ADC, and Walker did not mince words in his disdain for President Trump. With the Virginia Democratic Primary on March 3, Walker said that selecting a nominee that can defeat the president in the general election is paramount.

“If we don’t defeat Trump we’re not doing what we need to do to save our planet, to save our democracy. We’re putting a corrupt and dangerous person back in office,” Walker said. “So, what are we going to do? We are going to work our butts off to defeat Trump.”

The ADC also appointed:

  • VC Finance & Administration: Holly Wallace
  • Secretary: Mary Lyman
  • Treasurer: Elisabeth Campbell
  • VC Precinct Operations West: Sissy Walker
  • VC Precinct Operations East: Karen Witt
  • VC Communications: Mike Moran
  • VC Technology: Ricardo Alfaro
  • VC Outreach Team: Abdel-Rahman ElnoubiDaniel Mosier, Sharon Widmayer
  • VC Resolutions: Robert Nelson
  • Volunteer Coordinator: Steve Verdier
  • Leadership Circle Chair: Janet Vasak
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Passing the Equal Rights Amendment, decriminalizing marijuana and giving localities the power to move Confederate monuments — those are just a few of the pieces of legislation that local Democrats will unveil over the next two months in the Virginia General Assembly.

As Democrats prepare to arrive in Richmond with complete control of all branches of Virginia’s government, there are a slew of bills that will result in serious changes to the way the Commonwealth does business.

Del. Charniele Herring (D-46th) is the incoming House Majority Leader — the first African American woman to hold the post. Herring will also chair the Courts of Justice Committee, and said she is confident that ERA will pass, in addition to pot decriminalization and gun reform.

The latter, however, has some local Democratic members questioning what gun legislation will, in fact, pass. Herring suggested that it can, but as long as Democrats don’t overreach.

“I think our challenge is to be disciplined with ourselves, and it’s our time to govern and we’re up to the challenge,” Herring said on Sunday at her annual fundraiser at Tempo Restaurant.

Herring’s story is unique. A U.S. Army brat, she and her mother moved into a homeless shelter in Alexandria. Mayor Justin Wilson congratulated Herring said that “great things” are expected in this year’s session.

“There is no better person to be going down to Richmond and leading our new majority caucus,” Wilson said. “This is an exciting time for Virginia, with Democratic control of the House of Delegates and the state senate.”

Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30th) chairs the Gun Violence Prevention Caucus, and said he will support Gov. Ralph Northam’s package of gun-related bills that would reduce magazine sizes, keep firearms from public property, register firearms and ban assault weapons. He also supports universal background checks, red flag laws and child access prevention.

“One of the bills that will be challenging at least is banning assault weapons,” Ebbin said at a fundraiser in Alexandria on Friday, Jan. 3. “What we’re going to do is rather than say we’re going to take away the guns you already own, my proposal is going to be that if you already own a weapon that you can keep it but you have to register it.”

Del. Mark Levine (D-45th) will introduce at least 45 bills, many of which failed in previous sessions. Among the legislation he’s proposing are bills to reverse an antiquated law prohibiting sex outside of marriage, a bill that would expunge a single non-violent drug offense from criminal records, and, should marijuana be decriminalized, Levine is proposing a bill that would expunge any marijuana-related offenses from someone’s record.

Levine is also proposing a raise in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 and a bill that would require landlords evicting tenants to notify tenants in English and Spanish. He also supports a bill that would allow localities to determine the replacement of Confederate statues throughout the state.

“We’re making history for the first time in 26 years,” Levine said at his own fundraiser on Sunday, adding that his bills range in complexity. “Some are really big progressive ideas, you’ve been waiting a long time for some small fixes in the wall, and everything in between, and I think you’ll see it’s quite a range.”

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It’s been six years since William “Bill” Euille was allegedly considered for a state-level position, but the former Mayor is finally headed to Richmond to serve on the board of Virginia ABC.

The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) grants licenses to individuals, groups or businesses to sell alcohol. Governor Ralph Northam announced Euille’s selection among other appointments in a press release on Dec. 20.

Euille was elected as Alexandria’s first African-American mayor in 2003 but was ousted in a primary race by then-Vice Mayor Allison Silberberg in 2015. After a failed write-in campaign, Euille stepped away from the public spotlight, though he still made frequent appearances at public events, like the Potomac Yard Metro groundbreaking earlier this month.

Euille said he was appointed to fill out a term set to end next month, but he will then be reappointed for a five-year term.

While the board meets monthly in Richmond, Euille said he will continue to live in Alexandria and make the trip down for meetings and other required activities. In the meantime, Euille says he’ll also stay busy with work in organizations like the Boys and Girls Club and the A. Roy Heron Foundation for Community Wellness.

Photo via William D. “Bill” Euille/Facebook

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Three elected officials visited businesses across Alexandria as part of an effort to drum up support for a paid family and medical leave bill.

Rep. Don Beyer, Del. Carroll Foy and State Sen. Jennifer Boysko — all Democrats — visited three businesses on Friday (Dec. 13) and spoke with business owners who were supportive of the bill. The trio visited Lori’s Table (1028 King Street), Bishop’s Boutique (815 King Street) and Let’s Meat on the Avenue (2403 Mount Vernon Avenue).

“It went well,” said Donna Welch, owner of Let’s Meat on the Avenue. “It’s a small issue, but one that impacts a lot of people, particularly how it impacts lower-income people. We need to do better.”

The event was organized by Virginia Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy (CFFE) — an organization that pushes for better economic conditions for working families — and Main Street Alliance, a network of small business coalitions.

According to the press release from CFFE:

Paid family and medical leave would ensure that hardworking Virginians are able to take paid time away from work when they welcome a new child or they or a loved one faces a serious illness. Polling indicates that paid family and medical leave is incredibly popular in Virginia. Rep. Beyer, Del. Foy and Sen. Boysko, as well as the business owners they will meet with, are calling on members of the Virginia General Assembly to listen to their constituents and business owners across the state and pass paid family and medical leave this year.

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(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg unveiled a new plan to cut carbon emissions at a campaign event in Alexandria this morning.

The billionaire owner of Bloomberg LP and former New York City mayor addressed a crowd of supporters and members of the media at Blackwall Hitch on the waterfront. Bloomberg was originally supposed to hold the event outside the gates of the GenOn power plant, but that plan was scuttled due to rain.

Bloomberg, who has blitzed the airwaves with $100 million worth of advertising since entering the crowded Democratic field in November, called for replacing the 251 existing coal-fired power plants in the U.S. He said he would work to move the U.S. to a 100% clean-energy future “as fast as humanly possible,” while slashing emissions in the U.S. by 50% by 2030.

During his speech, Bloomberg said he was focused on defeating President Donald Trump, and was concerned that the other Democratic candidates were not well-positioned to do so.

After the event, Bloomberg posted for photos with supporters and took a bus over to view the power plant. He also visited at least one local business.

https://twitter.com/People4Mike/status/1205559330214420480

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