U.S. Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr. handled a Democratic Party primary challenge in this Tuesday’s election, appreciative that he carried the City of Falls Church by the widest margin in his entire 8th Congressional District. With 82 percent of the vote against his sole opponent, his margin in F.C. was the widest in his district that he won, overall, with 74 percent of the vote. Also, as his race was the sole item on the ballot this Tuesday, he said he was also impressed that the voter turnout in F.C., at 14 percent of active voters, was also the highest in his district.
In total, in Falls Church’s three voting precincts, Beyer defeated first time candidate Victoria Virasingh by a margin of 1,201 to 249.
The race was the only Democratic primary contest in the Northern Virginia region. With the win, Beyer will face in November Republican challenger Karina Lipsman, chosen at a district convention last month and noted for calling for the arrest of the Biden administration’s chief health official, Anthony Fauci.
High profile races in the region this week involved Republicans seeking to unseat two Democratic congressmen considered potentially vulnerable in this November’s midterm election. State Sen. Jen Kiggans won over three opponents in Virginia Beach for the right to face Rep. Elaine Luria in November and Prince William County Board Supervisor Yesli Vega prevailed over five challengers for the right to face off against Rep. Abigail Spanberger.
Beyer told the News-Press yesterday that this race was the most fun he’s had since he began running for public office 40 years ago, because “it was entirely a grass roots undertaking” that did not rely on TV ads. He said he made over 3,000 calls and knocked on a like number of doors to engage his constituents directly.
“I set out to generate support from among the people who actually make democracy work,” he said. “This is my formula to win in November everywhere. It is to engage people face to face in conversations. This isn’t hard, it is just difficult because it takes effort, blood, sweat and tears.” His approach to Trump supporters, for example, he said is “to listen, not talk and to ask questions based on what they say, to learn why they understand things the way they do. It is called ‘guided discovery,’” he said.
As chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, he’ll be leading a delegation on a tour of the Commonwealth Fusion company in New England next week, which, he said, “Is one of two or three companies with the best shot at achieving fusion energy.”
“If we get fusion energy, then the issue of climate change will become a thing of the past. It will become man’s most exciting achievement since fire.”
Beyer is serving his fourth term as the U.S. Representative from Virginia’s 8th District, representing Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County. He serves as the Chairman of Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, on the House Committee on Ways and Means, and on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, where he chairs the Space Subcommittee. He is a Co-Chair of the New Democrat Coalition’s Climate Change Task Force.
He was the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia from 1990 — 1998, and was Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein under President Obama. Rep. Beyer’s signature work as lieutenant governor included advocacy for Virginians with disabilities and ensuring protections for Virginia’s most vulnerable populations as the Commonwealth reformed its welfare system in the mid-1990s. Rep. Beyer was Virginia’s Democratic nominee for governor in 1997.
After leaving office, Rep. Beyer spent fourteen years as chair of Jobs for Virginia Graduates, a highly successful high school dropout prevention program, and was active for a decade on the board of the D.C. Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. As Chair of the Virginia Economic Recovery Commission, he helped pass permanent pro-business reforms and was co-founder of the Northern Virginia Technology Council.
President Obama nominated Rep. Beyer to serve as Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein in 2009. He used his position to advocate for stricter sanctions to compel Iran to begin nuclear disarmament discussions.
As Ambassador, Rep. Beyer was integral to U.S. Department of Justice efforts to halt the abuses of Swiss bank secrecy by wealthy Americans. Rep. Beyer has spent four decades building his family business in Falls Church after a summer job at a car dealership in 1974. He is a graduate of Williams College and Gonzaga College High School in Washington, DC. He was named a Presidential Scholar by President Lyndon Johnson.
Rep. Beyer has four children and two grandchildren. He and his wife Megan live in Alexandria, Virginia.