N. Va. Battles Rage in Countdown to Tuesday’s Election
Despite the anti-incumbency mood sweeping the nation this year, the three veteran lawmakers from Northern Virginia are expected to retain their seats in the U.S. Congress as a result of next Tuesday’s election. Voters will head to the polls to cast ballots for every single Congressional seat and 37 of 100 Senate seats will be contested next week, and plenty of incumbents, especially Democrats, are expected to be unseated.
But this region, which has the lowest unemployment rate in the U.S., is different.
Both Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Moran of the 8th District, which includes the City of Falls Church, and Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf of the 10th District that was gerrymandered to stretch from deep in Loudoun County to the borders of Falls Church, are marking 20+ years in Congress and are expected to continue. Democratic U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, representing the 11th District of eastern Fairfax and northern Prince William counties, is seeking only his second term in Congress, but preceded that with many years’ service on the Fairfax Board of Supervisors, including as its chair.
All three face challengers who bring a collective zero years of experience in elected public office. But energetic campaigns are keeping the incumbents on their toes going into the Nov. 2 election.
With over 20 years of service in the U.S. military, Patrick Murray is Moran’s challenger, running for the first time and the beneficiary of campaign support from a number of GOP heavyweights, including Gov. Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia, and key Bush administration figures from Washington, D.C.
Successful small businessman Keith Fimian is trying for a second time to best Connolly, and is counting on drawing his strength from the Prince William precincts in his district. Prior to Connolly’s victory in 2008, the 11th District was represented by a Republican for two terms.
Running for the first time, Jeff Barnett, with his strong military background, is the Democrat facing the uphill battle against Wolf.
Connolly and Moran were the beneficiaries of two visits to their respective districts by President Obama for “backyard chats” to discuss the economic stimulus and health care reform this fall. Also, the News-Press has endorsed the two (see Editorial, Page 6 of this edition).
In addition to the major party candidates on the ballot Tuesday, there is an array of independent and “third party” candidacies, as well. In the 8th District, R. Ron Fisher is on the ballot as an Independent Green candidate. In the 10th District, William Redpath is on the ballot as the Libertarian Party candidate, and in the 11th District, three additional candidates include David Gillis Jr. (Independent Green), David Dotson (Libertarian) and Christopher DeCarlo (Independent).
Also not widely known is the fact there are three proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot:
- The first asks whether localities can offer real property tax relief for homeowners 65 or older, or totally disabled.
- The second asks whether a real property tax exemption shall be provided for the principal residence of a veteran, or his or her surviving spouse if the veteran has a 100 percent service-connected, permanent and total disability.
- The third asks whether the state can increase the size of its “rainy day fund” from 10 to 15 percent of a three-year average of its annual income and retail sales tax revenues.
The a detailed description of the amendments and profiles of the 8th District Congressional candidates, along with the exact location of the City’s five voting locations, can be found in the Falls Church League of Women Voters’ online voter guide at www.lwvfallschurch.org.
The Fairfax Chamber of Commerce has also teamed with Cox cable TV and TBD (formerly Channel 8) to provide video of the debate between Connolly and Fimian hosted by the Chamber Oct. 12 to be viewed on Cox’s ‘On Demand’ service available to Fairfax and Falls Church customers.
Also, Fairfax County voters for the first time will have a choice of two ways to vote, one with a paper ballot (using the Optical Scan voter machine technology) and the other the Touchscreen or Direct Recording strictly electronic method.
In the City of Falls Church, the voting locations are: Ward 1 – Thomas Jefferson Elementary, 601 S. Oak St.; Ward 2 – Oakwood Apartments, 501 Roosevelt Blvd.; Ward 3 – Scout House, 128 S. Spring St.; Ward 4 – F.C. Community Center, 223 Little Falls St.; and, Ward 5 – American Legion Post, 400 N. Oak St.
The polls will be open in all districts of Virginia from 6 a.m. To 7 p.m. Tuesday.
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