This Week in Alexandria

Blitzkrieg Election

The sudden resignation of longtime Arlington Del. Bob Brink (D-48) this week has created a lightning fast primary election, one that has many scratching their heads and wondering why the whole thing needs to be so fast.

For Democrats in Alexandria, it's a familiar story.

Back in late 2008, Del. Brian Moran (D-46) was engaged in a hotly contested Democratic primary for governor with former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe. The two traded jabs and insults as the election year drew near, and many people were wondering if Moran would resign his position in the General Assembly to focus on his campaign.

For months, Moran said he would keep his seat. But then, as the session drew near, Moran faced the prospect of having to sideline his fundraising operation. With days to go before the General Assembly session began, Moran dropped out of the race and party officials scrambled to conduct a lightning fast primary between Charniele Herring and Ariel Gonzalez. Herring won the caucus, but the January 2009 special election against Republican Joe Murray was so close the Circuit Court conducted a recount.

"We came close," recalled Chris Marston, chairman of the Alexandria Republican City Committed. "Very close."

More recently, a longtime Republican was able to win as an independent in a special election for Arlington County Board. So even though the House District is overwhelmingly Democratic, the dynamics of a low-turnout special election in August could be difficult to predict — if Republicans are able to find a candidate by the Monday deadline.

"If you look at the partisan performance in that district, you will see that it heavily favors Democrats," said Marston. "So it's not surprising that it would be more challenging for Republicans finding a candidate facing longer odds than a Democrat."

Looking for an End Run

Alexandria residents without health insurance who live in poverty or with disabilities remain in a state of suspending animation. The governor campaigned on expanding Medicaid to 400,000 Virginians. But Republicans oppose the move, which was part of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. Now members of the General Assembly have passed a budget without Medicaid expansion, and created a new law that requires the governor to get legislative approval to add more people to the program. Meanwhile, some Democrats are talking about the potential for federal funds to bypass the state altogether and go directly to a private provider such as Anthem or Tricare.

"Governor McAuliffe will continue to look for ways to expand access to healthcare to Virginians who are in need," said Del. Rob Krupicka (D-45) in a written statement. "His team is working with our federal partners in Washington, the insurance industry, healthcare providers, our university medical centers, non-profit organizations, our local health departments, and the hospital industry to extend the promise of healthcare to our people."

West End Attack

Alexandria Police are investigating a violent attack that happened on the West End Tuesday afternoon, an attack in which a group of teenagers stabbed another teenager and ran off with his cash. The assault happened in the 200 block of North Ripley Street.

"Several teenagers robbed another teenager and cut him in the process," said Crystal Nosal, spokeswoman for the Alexandria Police Department. "The suspect and the victims are all known to each other."

Nosal said the victim suffered a cut to his arm and a cut to his abdomen. No arrests have been made in the case yet, although the investigation is ongoing. As investigators were conducting the initial investigation, Alexandria officials brought dogs and Fairfax officials loaned the use of their helicopter. The victim was transported to the hospital, where he remained at press time.