Local Commentary

Editorial: Tuesday’s Primary: Vote for Beyer

No one can argue with almost three months to make their respective cases, that any of the seven surviving candidates didn’t have an ample opportunity to put their best feet forward and their make their best arguments for why Democrats voting in the primary next Tuesday should vote for them.

Through all that, it came as no surprise to us, knowing Donald S. Beyer, Jr. for as long as we have, that our early endorsement of his candidacy was on solid ground. If elected, as he is now favored to do, Beyer will reward the 8th District of Virginia with a congressman who will make us all proud, and for a “rookie” will from Day One will wield extraordinary influence on Capital Hill.

That’s because Beyer will wield it among his Democratic colleagues, where his track record going back to his first run for lieutenant governor of Virginia in the late 1980s demonstrated his canny, his savvy, his intelligent powers of persuasion that he’s deployed to advance the cause of his party and its values ever since.

He’s also got the chops to challenge across the aisle, and to advance a progressive agenda with adept skills at forging electoral majorities. In two areas, the talents of Mr. Beyer have generally been overlooked, because they’ve not been in any spotlights.

In the first case, Beyer’s skills as a fundraiser were instrumental in two pioneering presidential campaigns in the last decade – first, the upstart candidacy of Howard Dean in the 2004 race, when a populist surge in the Democratic Party was ignited, and then in 2008, when that surge was sparked again behind the candidacy of Barack Obama.

Then, following Obama’s election, Beyer was deployed to Switzerland as the U.S. ambassador. Far from a perk, this position is a critical one, requiring enormous skills of diplomacy to work well, operating “unofficially,” as it were, to broker deals and negotiated settlements among nations behind the scenes. That’s the role of Switzerland in the affairs of the world.

But what this three-month Democratic primary campaign demonstrated, in addition to Beyer’s skills, was that there is no shortage of true talent among Democrats in this region. The seven candidates who stayed in the race to the end all demonstrated a knowledge of the issues, a power to articulate, and a passion for core values that either already or would make them formidable public officials.

Eighth District Democrats will always be deeply indebted to the leadership of Rep. Jim Moran, and also the powerful role that the late Mame Reiley, who passed away from breast cancer earlier this week, played in empowering progressives in the district to stand tall and aggressively on behalf of the compassion and resolve in defense of the downtrodden and oppressed.

America as a whole is and will always be better for what this little corner of Virginia brings, and will continue to long after next Tuesday’s primary election.