Schuette, Hopson lead Council race

ARLINGTON — Initial results from the Aug. 6 primary election show Jan Schuette and Mike Hopson leading in the three-person race for Arlington City Council Position 7.

As of Thursday, Aug. 8, at 5 p.m., Jan Schuette was leading the Arlington City Council Position 7 race with 1,115 votes, or 46.40 percent of the total votes counted, while Mike Hopson was coming in second with 688 votes, or 28.63 percent of the total votes counted. The third candidate, Scott Keith, had received 561 votes, or 23.35 percent of the total votes counted, while write-in candidates made up the remaining 39 votes, or 1.62 percent of the total votes counted.

“I underestimated my opponents, but this was a good learning experience,” said Keith, who plans to continue serving on the city of Arlington’s Parks, Arts and Recreation Committee. “I’ll re-evaluate in two years, and depending on who else is running then, I might see about running again, but I’m staying involved in this community regardless.”

While a third-place finish for Keith would knock him out of contention for the general election, Hopson appears poised to move on to the fall with his second-place standing, and he described himself as “absolutely thrilled” to have received that many votes in the primary election.

“I’m a relative unknown who ran a bare-bones campaign,” Hopson said. “I had a fraction of the signs that Jan did, and my only real promotion was through word of mouth and coverage in newspapers such as The Arlington Times.”

Hopson expressed confidence about his chances of winning the general election by asserting that those who voted for Keith in the primary would be more likely to vote for him than to vote for Schuette.

“Obviously, Scott and I don’t share all the same views, but he and I do align closely on a lot of issues,” said Hopson, who noted that both he and Keith have called for greater government accountability, and have argued against raising taxes to balance the city’s budget. “We’ve also advocated a more balanced approach to the fire department, as its expenses relate to the city, rather than just giving them everything.”

Hopson acknowledged Schuette’s history of community service, but asked voters to consider his merits as well.

“I’d like them to give me a hard look, with open minds,” Hopson said. “I’m an independent thinker who knows the issues, and I promise to serve them well.”

Schuette freely conceded the recognition advantages she had going into the primary, due to her four-year chairmanship of the Arlington Relay For Life, and her sister being former Arlington School District Superintendent Linda Byrnes, but Schuette also took steps such as ringing doorbells of all the homes in 13 out of the city’s 16 precincts, to meet with as many Arlington residents as she could.

“I won’t be backing off in the general,” said Schuette, who plans to doorbell all the homes in all 16 of the city’s precincts between now and when the first general election ballots are mailed out. “I’d hesitated to talk to too many groups before the primary was done, but I’ll be scheduling plenty of talks with community groups now.”

Schuette expressed gratitude to all those who supported her in the primary, from the endorsement of Arlington Firefighters Union Local 3728 to the number of Arlington residents who requested campaign signs from her that they could post in their yards.

“I’ve found that just responding to people’s concerns counts for a lot,” said Schuette, who made sure to get back in touch with any citizens whose questions she couldn’t answer when they first met. “I’m also glad that we had an actual primary this year. I really like to see people getting involved in their community, and I know it takes a lot of hard work to run for office, so Scott and Mike deserve our respect.”

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