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In Fairfax, Two Schools of Prep

Bill Turque

Fairfax County Board Chairman Gerry Connolly (D) and Republican challenger Gary Baise could not be preparing more differently for Tuesday afternoon's Chamber of Commerce debate at the Westin Tysons Corner.
Baise, a Republican attorney his first run for public office, said he has been meeting with advisers, studying briefing books and doing mock debates.
"It's just like I'd prepare for a case," said Baise, who mostly defends corporate clients in environmental matters. "I'm reading documents. I always do moot courts. "
And Connolly? Not much, really. The Democratic incumbent, seeking a second term, said the plan is to show up.
"If you don't know it by now, cramming isn't going to help," he said. "I usually just go for a walk in the morning to clear my head."
Baise, who is expected to attack Connolly's record on traffic and transportation policy, trails Connolly by close to a 10-to-1 margin in fundraising. Connolly has raised just over $900,000. But Baise sounded almost hopeful this week, citing private polling that shows him down 16 points but placing Connolly's negatives at more than 40 percent.
"I'm at least within striking distance," Baise said.
Connolly scoffed at Baise's numbers.
"That's quite a poll. I'd call that a wishful thinking poll," he said, adding that his negatives are closer to 14.

By Bill Turque  |  September 13, 2007; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Bill Turque , Debates  
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