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Webb Endorses Byrne

Tim Craig

Sen. James Webb said today he is endorsing Leslie L. Byrne in the race for the Democratic nomination in the 11th congressional district.

"I am convinced that Leslie Byrne is our best candidate," Webb said in a statement. " Leslie shares my values about economic fairness and the need to re-order our national security policies - both in Iraq and throughout the world. In her service as a state legislator and member of Congress, Leslie Byrne has demonstrated time and again that she is tough, fiercely independent and willing to stand up to powerful special interests. I would be proud to serve in Congress with her."

Byrne is running against Fairfax County Board chairman Gerald E. Connolly, retired naval commander Doug Denneny and Lori P. Alexander in the June 10 Democratic primary. Incumbent Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) is retiring.

Byrne, who represented the 11th district from 1993 to 1995 before Davis defeated her, was one of Webb's earliest backers during his 2006 primary against Harris Miller. Connolly supported Miller.

Webb said there are "outstanding candidates" running in the 11th, but he based his decision on whom best reflects the "values that are important to citizens in the 11th District."

Even though Webb has decided to get involved in the 11th District race, he is remaining neutral in the increasingly heated presidential race. Jessica Smith, a Webb spokesman, said he probably won't endorse a presidential candidate until later this spring or summer when a clear front-runner has emerged.

It is unusual for statewide officeholders in either party to endorse a candidate in a primary. While valuable to Byrne, Webb's endorsement has the potential to prompt other Democratic officeholers to endorse Connolly, potentially neutralizing the impact of Webb's announcement.

By Tim Craig  |  March 6, 2008; 3:16 PM ET
Categories:  Election 2008/Congress , Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , Gerald E. Connolly , Leslie L. Byrne , Tim Craig  
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The reality is that Gerry Connolly might be able to raise a geat deal of money for his campaign, but as everyone knows primaries are often won by the candidate that works the hardest and has the best ground operation. Leslie Byrne is experienced and savy, and has name recognition. I think she is going to be tough to beat.

Posted by: John | March 6, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

She'll be another one-termer. She has lousy staff and constituent management skills.

Posted by: Stick | March 6, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

It was a given that Webb would endorse Byrne. However, we'll see how much he actually does on her behalf.

Connolly is going to win this thing, and most folks know that. Webb isn't going to risk his credibility for Leslie Byrne.

Posted by: J in Fairfax | March 6, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

"Byrne, who represented the 11th district from 1993 to 1995 before Davis defeated her, was one of Webb's earliest backers during his 2006 primary against Harris Miller. Connolly supported Miller."

Thanks, Tim. That one paragraph told me everything which I need to know about this endorsement.

Posted by: NoVA | March 7, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

That's a great thing with cryptorepublican Webb's endorsement she now has bipartisan support.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

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