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Not Just Any Phone Call

Amy Gardner

The phone's been ringing a lot in the household of Gerald E. Connolly (D), chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, who not only overwhelmingly won a second four-year term against Republican Gary H. Baise on Tuesday, but also picked up another Democrat on the board. Come January Democrats will hold an 8-to-2 majority.

But even for Connolly, one call stood out yesterday morning. It was from presidential contender Hillary Clinton, who rang up to offer her congratulations.

If you're wondering how often a former first lady and current front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination calls local elected officials to wish them well, the answer has got to be not very often. And if you're wondering if Clinton called Connolly to tap his foreign-policy acumen from his days staffing the U.S. Senate, it's probably safe to say probably not.

But if you're thinking that Clinton understands that Virginia could be in play during next year's election, and that Fairfax County, the state's largest jurisdiction, has been the engine behind statewide Democratic victories in recent elections, and that its well-funded, well-connected and politically minded chairman could come in handy to a presidential operation in a few months, I'd say: Bingo! Or at least, someone on her staff thinks so. (Can anyone say Mike Henry? Henry, Clinton's deputy campaign manager, was Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's campaign manager in 2005.)

Connolly said the call was quick and gracious. "She called to congratulate me, and I thanked her," he said. "She talked about how important it was to celebrate today and enjoy it. I told her I was watching her progress with great interest. She didn't ask for anything, and I didn't offer."

By Amy Gardner  |  November 8, 2007; 3:25 PM ET
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Election 2008/President , Gerald E. Connolly  
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