Virginia Democrats Hold Hasty Caucus For Englin's Seat | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Virginia Democrats Hold Hasty Caucus For Englin's Seat

Play associated audio
Democrats have two chances to vote in a caucus for an empty seat in the state house this week. 
Michael Pope
Democrats have two chances to vote in a caucus for an empty seat in the state house this week. 

Democrats in Virginia are scrambling to come up with a nominee for a lightning-fast caucus this weekend. The winner will face Republican opposition in September in a special election to fill the seat of former Del. David Englin (D).

The Democratic contest features three-term Alexandria City Councilman Rob Krupicka against civil right activist Karen Gautney. It began in June, when Englin announced his resignation from his 45th District seat, which includes the eastern half of Alexandria, some of the Mount Vernon district of Fairfax County, and parts of southeastern Arlington County.

Republicans have not yet named their candidate for the race, but are expected to certify one within the next few days. When Englin resigned, he endorsed Gautney as his replacement. 

"Its not like Democrats are particularly enamored with Englin right now," points out Geoff Skelly, an analyst with the University of Virginia Center for Politics. "So perhaps that's not the greatest endorsement."

Alternatively, Krupicka has support from a long list of elected officials, including state State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D), who beat Krupicka last summer in a hotly contested primary fight. For her part, Gautney says she would offer a fresh start. 

"I am not a career politician," says Gautney. "I am a citizen who has been involved working around policy issues and working with marginalized populations all my life."

If elected, she would fight against restrictions to abortion and support efforts for Virginia to participate in President Obama's health care reforms, Gautney says. She also supports increasing transparency of police agencies.

Krupicka says he would focus on early childhood education and making sure the Virginia Department of Transportation doesn't hamstring local governments.

"VDOT has the ability to decide if they support the plans or don't support the plans or they can come in an micro-manage them to infinite degrees," says Krupicka. "And we've been seeing that a lot over the last year or two with the current governor."

Democrats in the 45th District have two opportunities to vote: tonight at an elementary school in Alexandria and Saturday at a recreation center in the West End. Republicans are also planning to certify their candidate by the Saturday deadline — they haven't yet released his name — although he will not face opposition from within the party.

NPR

If Robots 'Speak,' Will We Listen? Novel Imagines A Future Changed By AI

As artificial intelligence alters human connection, Louisa Hall's characters wrestle with whether machines can truly feel. Some "feel they have to stand up for a robot's right to exist," Hall says.
NPR

Aphrodisiacs Can Spark Sexual Imagination, But Probably Not Libido

Going on a picnic with someone special? Make sure to pack watermelon, a food that lore says is an aphrodisiac. No food is actually scientifically linked to desire, but here's how some got that rep.
NPR

A Reopened Embassy In Havana Could Be A Boon For U.S. Businesses

When the U.S. reopens its embassy in Havana, it will increase its staff. That should mean more help for American businesses hoping to gain a foothold on the Communist island.
NPR

In A Twist, Tech Companies Are Outsourcing Computer Work To ... Humans

A new trend is sweeping the tech world: hiring real people. NPR's Arun Rath talks to Wired reporter Julia Greenberg about why tech giants are learning to trust human instinct instead of algorithms.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.