News

Connolly Squeaks, Moran Glides, But GOP Tide Sweeps the Nation

img_2532Final Connolly Vote Margin Less Than 1%

While Republicans and some of their Tea Party allies made enormous gains in the 2010 midterm elections Tuesday, Northern Virginia’s two seasoned Democrats held onto their congressional seats. Rep. Jim Moran sailed to victory for an 11th term by a 61-37 percent margin, and Rep. Gerry Connolly edged out a narrow victory by less than 1,000 votes.

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Rep. Jim Moran gestures at the podium of his victory celebration tonight with his daughter Mary to his left. (Photo: News-Press)
Final Connolly Vote Margin Less Than 1%

While Republicans and some of their Tea Party allies made enormous gains in the 2010 midterm elections Tuesday, Northern Virginia’s two seasoned Democrats held onto their congressional seats. Rep. Jim Moran sailed to victory for an 11th term by a 61-37 percent margin, and Rep. Gerry Connolly edged out a narrow victory by less than 1,000 votes.

Connolly’s victory was not certified as of press time, with a canvass not slated for completion in Fairfax County until Thursday afternoon. However, the Virginia State Board of Elections web site reports that with 100 percent of precincts reporting, Connolly held a 981 vote lead over Republican challenger Keith Fimian.

Canvasses completed in Prince William County and Fairfax City parts of the 11th Congressional District yesterday, plus delayed reports from two precincts, swelled Connolly’s lead from 487 votes to 981 over the course of the day yesterday.

“Yes, we absolutely, positively won,” declared Connolly press secretary George Burke in comments to the News-Press late yesterday.

boxConnolly declared victory just before midnight Tuesday before a crowd of over 200 who began to gather at the Fairview Marriott when the polls closed at 7 p.m. and endured the long wait.

A statement from the Fimian campaign manager Tim Edson yesterday morning declared the outcome “too close to call, and that Fimian remained “confident that he will be declared the winner.”

James Walkinshaw, chief of staff for Connolly, told the News-Press in a telephone  interview yesterday, “We are confident we won the race. It would be unprecedented to slip by over 900 votes in a canvass or recount.” It was noted that under Virginia law, a recount is only a re-canvassing.

He credited Connolly’s victory against the tide of Republican sweeps elsewhere in Virginia and nationally with Connolly’s long record on the Fairfax Supervisors and as its chair, and in his first term in Congress, of “pragmatic, moderate leadership” and “his history of delivering results to protect and grow the economy of Northern Virginia.”

In the 8th District of Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and small parts of Fairfax County, Moran’s margin of victory was comparable to his previous five victories since first running in 1990.

His margin over the GOP’s Patrick Murray of 61 percent to 37 percent came with a solid 47.3 percent participation by active voters, including a 54.5 percent turnout in the City of Falls Church. Moran’s margin was slightly higher in Falls Church, 63.5 percent to 34.5 percent.

In the 10th District, ranging from Loudoun County to McLean, veteran Republican Frank Wolf again had little trouble winning another term, defeating Democrat Jeff Barnett by 63 to 35 percent.

The three Constitutional amendments on the ballot won by wide margins statewide, including in all five precincts of Falls Church.

Despite the celebratory mood of some 300 supporters at the Westin Hotel in the Ballston district of Arlington Tuesday night, Rep. Moran was thankful for his support, but struck a somber tone given the trend of results nationally.

“This is bittersweet,” he said of his victory, “Make no mistake, the next two years will be very, very difficult.” The gathering included U.S. Sen. Jim Webb and a host of local Arlington elected officials.

“While it is clear we have won tonight,” Moran told his supporters, overall “the politics of fear and divisiveness has prevailed over those of hope and unity in this mid-term election.” Later, he reiterated, “We can’t allow the politics of fear and narrow mindedness to prevail over those of optimism, progress and compassion, We must remain engaged.”

“I am proud to be a Democrat second and an American first,” he said. “This is our country, and we will see to it that it realizes its full potential.”

He said in the next two years, Democrats will be “locked in a tough fight to protect Wall Street reform, health care for all Americans and a federal government advancing equal opportunity for all Americans,” adding, “I have no regrets for what we’ve accomplished in the last two years.” He noted that when President Lyndon Johnson passed civil rights legislation in the 1960s, his party lost in the short run. “But we’ve set the nation on a new direction, away from the brink of bankruptcy.”
“The Tea Party’s view,” he said, “is that government can’t help us. Now that they’re elected, they will spend their time proving it. The American people will demand to know what the Republicans do stand for, other than taking away power from our president.”

Moran said little about his Republican opponent other than to note he voted for the first time in the 8th district just last year, and that while he ran “an aggressive campaign,” it was based on “extremist and Tea Party views.”

He quipped, “And can someone find the dumpster with thousands of our signs? Where did they put them all? I can’t imagine.” There had been widespread reports from the 8th District of massive theft of Moran for Congress signs along roadways and even on private property.