While the Democratic presidential primary process was getting daily media attention here and across the country, it was easy to overlook the fact that, right here in Northern Virginia, there will be three Democratic primaries for congressional seats on Tuesday. That’s right – this coming Tuesday, June 10, voters in the 8th, 10th, and 11th
Congressional Districts will select Democratic candidates to run in the November general election. Voting will take place at your regular polling place from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.
The race that is the focus of most attention is the four-way race for the 11th District nomination, to replace retiring Republican Congressman Tom Davis. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerry Connolly is vying for the seat with three other candidates: former Representative and State Senator Leslie Byrne, retired military officer Doug Denneny, and physical therapist Lori Alexander. Some analysts see the race as narrowing down to two contestants – Connolly and Byrne – the best known and best funded of the four, but in a summer primary with four candidates, voter turnout is crucial. The winning margin could be fairly slim.
Chairman Connolly has a broad background of public and community service, from his early days running a program to end world hunger and work on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to his leadership as president of his neighborhood association when they were faced with a tank farm oil leak that contaminated local soils and groundwater. His service on the Board of Supervisors, as Providence District Supervisor and now Chairman, elected at large, is punctuated with numerous achievements: author of the Board’s Environmental Excellence 20-year Vision Plan adopted in 2004, which led to the nationwide Cool Counties environmental initiative; leader in the fight for expanded transportation dollars for public transportation and pedestrian connections; and a champion for preserving affordable housing for workforce families. Gerry’s skills were tempered and honed in the sometimes white-hot atmosphere of Northern Virginia politics, and he will take that expertise to Capitol Hill on our behalf.
In the 10th Congressional District, health-care policy expert Judy Feder, who gave incumbent Republican Congressman Frank Wolf his most serious challenge ever in 2006, is facing retired Air Force fighter pilot, Colonel Mike Turner, for the nod. Both candidates are engaging and well-informed, and exhibit energy badly needed in the 10th. Judy Feder’s health policy background will come in handy as finally Congress tackles the health care crisis in this country.
Finally, there is a race in the 8th District, where longtime Congressman Jim Moran is being challenged by unknown Matthew Famigletti. Congressman Moran has a long record of public service – as a member of the Alexandria City Council, later Mayor, and eight terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. His diligent work on the prestigious House Appropriations Committee is advantageous to Northern Virginia, and his nearly twenty years of seniority is a boon to this area, too.