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O'Reilly Considering Challenge to Tom Rust

Tim Craig

Some Virginia Democrats are encouraging Michael L. O'Reilly, the former mayor of Herndon, to run against Del. Thomas Davis Rust (R-Fairfax) next year.

O'Reilly, a lawyer who was mayor from 2004 to 2006, currently serves on the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. In an interview, O'Reilly said he hasn't made up his mind about whether he wants to run for elective office next year.

"I am still heavily involved in the community and I am involved in a lot of things, but I am not a candidate for anything as it stands today," said O'Reilly, who added his wife told him he would be "crazy" if he decided to run for the House. "I am very, very busy running my law practice and very busy with the metropolitan airports board, which is almost a full-time job."

Rust, who was mayor of Herndon from 1976 to 1984 and then again from 1990 to 2001, represents a district that has been trending Democratic in statewide elections. But Rust, who is well-respected in Herndon and has a reputation as a moderate, has proven himself to be a formidable opponent.

After a nasty race against Democrat Jay P. Donahue, Rust won reelection last year with 53 percent of the vote.

The Fairfax County Democratic Committee sent out a statement Tuesday that said it would be heavily targeting Rust, who has yet to say whether he plans to seek reelection, in 2009.

"The Republican-controlled House of Delegates continues to be out of touch with Northern Virginia as is Tom Rust," said Scott A. Surovell, chairman of the Fairfax County Democratic Party.

But an O'Reilly candidacy could rekindle the debate in Herndon over government efforts to create day laborer centers. O'Relily was defeated as mayor in 2006 following a backlash over his support for a center in Herndon.

By Tim Craig  |  June 25, 2008; 11:50 AM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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