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Fairfax Man May Take on Mark Warner

Tim Craig

A Fairfax County man has filed paperwork to challenge former governor Mark R. Warner for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, which could set up a potential June primary.

Julien Modica, of Fairfax, said he is running on a platform of securing more federal funding for veterans who return from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with brain injuries.

"These kids are 19 and 21 years old and they are going to be alive for another 50 years," Modica said in an interview. "These are celebrated veterans, but when they are back here in the United States, Americans have to realize these people need to be properly taken care of."

Modica, whose never run for office before, filed his statement of candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission Oct. 22. Modica will have to collect 10,000 signatures, including 400 from each of Virginia's 11 congressional districts, if he wants to appear on the ballot.

If he succeeds on getting on the ballot, the Virginia Democratic Party will hold a June 10 primary to select the nominee. The primary will be cancelled if Modica fails to get on the ballot.

Modica is chief executive officer of the Brain Trauma Recovery & Policy Institute, but little about the organization's track record could be determined.

In 1976, Modica received brain injury as a pole vaulter at Herndon High School. He said he later attended the U.S. Naval Academy, but was discharged due to the severity of his injury.

Modica later graduated from American University. He went on to receive graduate degrees from George Mason University and Eastern Virginia Medical School earlier this decade, according to his biography.

Modica concedes he will face an uphill battle to defeat Warner, a popular former governor who has already raised more than $1 million for his Senate bid.

But Modica says he's "not running for second place."

"I have the fortitude, I have the intellect and I have the guts to run this race and win, Modica said.

In the interview, Modica began attacking Warner, saying he is a wealthy businessman who broke his pledge in 2004 not to raise taxes.

"I think it is outrageous someone can actually expect to buy a U.S. Senate seat," said Modica, noting Warner is worth an estimated $200 million. "He likes to brag, when he was governor, Virginia was the best managed state. How did he achieve that? He raised taxes after he said he wouldn't."

Kevin Hall, a Warner spokesman, declined comment.

Republican operatives were promoting Modica's candidacy to reporters Monday, causing some Democrats to speculate he is being forced into the race to distract Warner from the general election.

But Modica said, "no one from the Republican Party has contacted me directly."

By Tim Craig  |  December 3, 2007; 5:30 PM ET
Categories:  Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Mark Warner , Tim Craig  
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"no one from the Republican Party has contacted me directly."

Which leaves "indirectly" as an option.

I would have to consider a contested primary as Spring Training for Gov. Warner, getting him in shape for the run against Gov. Gilmore.

Posted by: NoVA | December 3, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

nice to see some competition from another dem. warner squeezed enough money out of the suckers called voters in virginia.

Posted by: dwight | December 3, 2007 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Modica needs to do his homework if he even hopes to be a credible challenger to Warner.

Warner has been raking in donations so he won't have to dip deeply into his personal fortune to fund his Senate race. Even if he did, Warner wouldn't be the first candidate to do so, which makes Modica's point here a non-starter.

Modica's charges on taxes are also a non-issue, given that Warner was able to preserve Virginia's AAA bond rating, after Gilmore's policies left the state financially unstable.

Modica's interest in TBI is both personal and genuine but isn't a sufficient platform to support a Senate campaign. After all, Jim Webb is very active on veterans' issues so why hasn't Modica been in touch with Webb to advocate this issue?

Posted by: cab91 | December 4, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I personally am sick of "carpetbaggers" coming to Virgnia and running for the state's political offices to further their ambitions on a federal level. Jim Web is from Missouri, Mark Warner is from Indiana, and Tim Kain is from Minnesota. It also disturbs me to know that most Virginians don't bother to find out about the candidates - just vote party lines. Or maybe just don't care, which is pathetic. I might also add the (3) individuals mentioned are Democrats. All have the "TAX AND SPEND" philosophy. Web is a complete imbecile with Kain running a close second. Surely we can find some native sons that know what Virginians want and need and will vote accordingly. I say - WAKE UP MY FELLOW VIRGINIANS and sent these "outsiders" packing.

Posted by: nightowl | December 14, 2007 1:36 AM | Report abuse

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