"I resigned from the Arlington Democratic Party," she said Tuesday morning. "I have not resigned from the Democratic party. I'm a lifelong Democrat."
"I found myself with a conflict," she said. "The by-laws state that you must support Democrats." Instead, Garvey supported a Republican in a special election for the county board. Her candidate, John Vihstadt, won. The Democratic candidate Alan Howze lost.
Democrats posted their official reaction on their Web site at the time: “We congratulate John Vihstadt, but of course are disappointed in the result of the special election,” said Kip Malinosky, Chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.
“It is a loss for our community, as Alan Howze could have shared his expertise on how governments like ours can implement strategies and initiatives to reduce costs and improve the delivery of our government services.
“However, we look forward to rallying behind Alan in the fall when he runs for a full four year term on the Board, and we are confident he will be victorious then.”Garvey thanked voters in public ads for voting for the Republican candidate.
Garvey has opposed a proposed and expensive streetcar project for Columbia Pike that her fellow Democrats have championed. Vihstadt has said he's with Garvey on the issue.
"I took an oath of office to support the people of Arlington to do what's best for them," Garvey said.
"With this election, there was a clear conflict there, the Democratic candidate [Alan Howze] was not going to be the person to do what needed to be done for Arlington," she said. Garvey said Vihstadt, who ran as an independent, is someone she has admired through the years and who helped her, when she was on the school board, "get Wakefield built."
"He happens to have a background as a Republican," she said. "Those of us who thought we needed a change, were thrilled when he decided to run. I think the election was a real validation for me. I've been trying to say to the board that they are not representing the people well on some issues, but they haven't been hearing. The people finally got a chance to speak with John's election."
Democrats who showed up Monday night were expecting to vote to "expel" Garvey for her support of a Republican. "This sort of thing has rarely happened before," she said. "But they did that this time, for whatever reason. Everybody is doing what they need to do. I violated the bylaws."
"I was very pleased with how it went," she said of the meeting Monday night. "I outlined how I got to where I am, and to save them all the trouble and angst for the vote [to expel her], I made it easy for them and resigned."
Garvey said she put a lot of thought into what she wanted to say to the room. "I mostly made points and tried not to make it personal," she said. "They listened very quietly and people were generally friendly. I'm sure some people were furious with me but not everybody. Some chuckled a few times while I was talking. I think they were a little surprised but mostly relieved when I resigned."
Will there be any fallout? "The worst is I don't get re-elected," she said. "This is America. They don't drag you out and hang you. Basically I think some of the elected Democrats are not representing what voters want, like their insistence on the streetcar project. It's a huge project that we haven't been talking about. They need to hear from the people they serve."
"I am not the issue for ACDC," she said. "We've got work to do."