In Virginia's 11th: Lots of Activity
UPDATE: Two sources say Paul Miller decided today that he is NOT running for Congress next year.
Republican Keith Fimian, the founder of a national home-inspection business, announced this week that he is planning for a rematch against Democrat Gerry Connolly in Northern Virginia's 11th Congressional District.
But wait! Fimian is not the only Republican eager to challenge Connolly, who is just six months into his first term in Congress. Although Connolly beat Fimian resoundingly last November (55 percent to 43 percent), he did so in a historic election year when much of the heavy turnout favored Barack Obama (and therefore Connolly too).
That's one reason why Paul Miller, a Capitol Hill lobbyist, is also pondering a run. Miller hasn't formally announced, but he has set up a "Paul Miller for Congress" Facebook page.
Remember: Republican Tom Davis held the 11th District for 14 years, and Davis helped redraw the boundaries in 2001 to keep it as Republican-leaning as possible. Certainly the district, which encompasses central and southern Fairfax County and a large swath of Prince William, has grown bluer in recent elections. But it is by no means viewed as a slam-dunk for Democrats, and this race is worth watching, especially as Connolly weighs in on President Obama's increasingly controversial federal agenda, notably health care reform. Connolly also voted for tougher emissions standards, also known as cap and trade.
The National Republican Congressional Committee is also involved in Virginia-11. And some of Connolly's critics on the left and right on the blogosphere have been following Connolly around with video cameras, trying to push the congressman's buttons and posting the results (see an example below from the lefty blog firedoglake). Expect a lot more of that, too.
And expect the NRCC to spent a lot of time and money on this race. Incumbents are never more vulnerable than after their first term in office. If Connolly does win next year, he'll get to participate in the redrawing of his district boundaries after the 2010 Census. Using history as a guide, chances are good that Connolly's district will only grow safer.
July 23, 2009; 4:18 PM ET
Categories: Amy Gardner , Gerald E. Connolly
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