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Bill Clinton Steps Into Arlington Delegate Race

Amy Gardner

Former President Bill Clinton has endorsed Adam Parkhomenko, one of five candidates for the House of Delegates' 47th District seat in Arlington.

If that feels like a nice get for Parkhomenko, it is: The longtime aide to Hillary Clinton (he was Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle's top assistant) has parlayed his political relationships into a healthy list of campaign donors and endorsements that have distinguished him from his four opponents in the June 9 primary.

But the Clinton call has also irked some local Arlington Democrats who are supporting other candidates. Parkhomenko, a lifelong Arlington resident, is just 23. He is not universally viewed by local activists as the best candidate for the job. Even those who are neutral in the race said they were surprised by the endorsement. Del. Bob Brink of the adjacent 48th District is among them, but Brink also wondered whether in the end it would matter.

"It's interesting that the president is getting involved in a little House of Delegates race," Brink said. "It's like nothing we've ever seen before. But you know, at the end of the day, I'm not certain how much difference endorsements make. You stand or fall on your own qualifications."

One of Parkhomenko's qualifications, clearly, is his loyalty to the Clintons.

Click here to to view Parkhomenko's web page. The other candidates to replace retiring Del. Al Eisenberg in the June 9 Democratic primary are: Miles Grant, Patrick Hope, Alan Howze and Andres Tobar.

By Amy Gardner  |  May 4, 2009; 11:19 AM ET
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Election 2009  
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i think bill clinton is a great speaker i hope he does a fundraising event with vip photo-op.

check out my bill clinton blog

Posted by: duganal | May 4, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

"The longtime aide to Hillary Clinton"

How "longtime" can he have been, if he's only 23 now?

Posted by: dlk117561 | May 4, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

dlk, Parkhomenko worked 6 years for Hillary Clinton.

Posted by: sportsman885 | May 4, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I don't see Bill Clinton endorsing just about anyone, especially someone who wasn't qualified. This only reinforces that Parkhomenko IS qualified. Who cares about the fact that he's young - for me this translates to more energy, innovative approaches to our problems that we need leadership on (I think the fire fighters endorsed him, too and they don't just hand out endorsements to unqualified candidates either). He appears to be smart, have good judgment and really cares about the community - I don't see anyone else connecting with THAT many citizens in Arlington...

Posted by: L557 | May 4, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

To Mr. Parkhomento's opponents I say, "I feel your pain."

Posted by: jbartelloni | May 4, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Wow. To be working with the Clinton campaign as of age 17 must have taken some pretty large campaign donations from Mom and Dad.

Posted by: BurtReynolds | May 4, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Burt, I believe he was offered a job because he started a "Draft Hillary" movement that generated over 100,000+ sign-ups.

Posted by: sportsman885 | May 4, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Thanks sportsman885, for the clarification. Six years is a long time for a 23 year-old; I still think "longtime" implies a lot longer than that.

Posted by: dlk117561 | May 4, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Thank God!! I'm a Democrat and I still think Miles Grant is a crazy left wing nut-job. If it were up to him all of 66 would be shut down and turned into a park because its "bad for the environment." So much for its utility to the other citizens of Northern Virginia. Bill Clinton is awesome. Like the other people I do not think he would have endorsed Parkhomenko unless he really thought he was the best candidate.

Posted by: FairfaxIsBlue | May 4, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

President Clinton's endorsement of Adam Parkhomenko for the 47th Delegate seat is something akin to having your past employer give you a reference. If you listen to or read the message, the president is saying that Adam is one of the hardest working people he has ever met and that Adam will bring dedicated effort and great energy to the job of delegate. The president is speaking from his experience of knowing Adam. As one who supports Adam's candidacy, I say look at what he has done in this race: earned the only endorsement by a sitting member of the Arlington delegation, out fundraised all other candidates, earned endorsements from the police and firefighters, and has more than held his own in candidate debates with his ideas and commitments. In a democracy there are no "little" races and I see that the winner of the 47th seat needs to be able to help Virginia Democrats win back the House, as well as fight for our values on issues in Richmond. Adam earned my confidence and support well before this endorsement by President Clinton. Maybe the powers that be should take another look at this serious and talented man who wants to serve the people of the 47th.

Posted by: judyannabeck | May 4, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I agree dlk, I don't really consider 6 years a long time either, but it is in the context of a 23 year old.

Posted by: sportsman885 | May 4, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone really think a 23-yr old can speak intelligently about complex policies facing Virginia? Youthful energy is great but letting someone just a few semesters removed from high school influence the laws of this great Commonwealth is just silly.

Perhaps Virginians want career politicians but I believe we need leaders with at least some real-world experience. How about a summer internship for the kid?

Posted by: JPBrown56 | May 4, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

He started two websites that got a lot of traction- draft hillary, and also one advocating for a clinton/obama joint ticket. I don't think being good at creating websites at age 23 makes you qualified for being delegate, but this is the Clintons being loyal to their workers and supporters- something they are known for.

Posted by: ChrisD4 | May 4, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

"Parkhomenko is close friends with Terry McAuliffe" (the Atlantic) and McAuliffe's manager, and former Clinton manager, Mike Henry, has given him $400 for this campaign (VPAP). Clinton and McAulifee are best friends.

Clinton has been in the state campaiging for Terry, a good opportunity for Adam to get a word in with his old boss Mr Henry, and pick up this endorsement. And, of course, help turnout the vote for Terry.

Folks, these endorsement aren't coincidences. A strategic move by Bill Clinton to help out Terry and reward a former staffer- something the Clintons are known for.

Posted by: ChrisD4 | May 4, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Oh God.....just what we need - a 23 y/o nobody with more ambition than ability who will spend nine minutes hunting down his next elected office for every one minute serving his constituents.

Sorry folks....reminds me of Jeff Frederick.

Posted by: SwellLevel5 | May 4, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Adam would be a horrendous delegate and would be more of a hindrance to Arlington than a help. He can't even sound confident in a debate with the four other Democratic candidates in the race who are from ARLINGTON!!! He has no business trying to represent Arlington in Richmond. He'll come home crying to his parents every weekend.

Posted by: ArlingtonMujer | May 4, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

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