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'Fairfax's Own' Pays Homage

Sandhya Somashekhar

Bob McDonnell's visit to a Fairfax County GOP breakfast pep rally yesterday was a homecoming of sorts. The Burke Fire Department hall was surrounded with those familiar "Fairfax's Own" signs, and the more than 300 activists getting pumped over coffee and pancakes were more than happy to claim him as their own.

But the visit also offered an acknowledgement of the role the county has played this year in reviving Republican hopes after a morale-crushing few years in the once-red state.

McDonnell, who leads Democrat R. Creigh Deeds in the polls, gave a particular shout-out to Fairfax supervisors Pat Herrity and John Cook, whose better-than-expected performances in a couple of elections (along with the success of Republican Frank Fannon and GOP-endorsed independent Alicia Hughes in Alexandria and a close House of Delegates special election in Arlington) helped create momentum for Virginia Republicans this year. ""Pat Herrity and John Cook, the leaders of the revolution," McDonnell said to thunderous applause.

For a little refresher, Herrity faced off against Sharon Bulova (D) in a special election earlier this year to replace now-Rep. Gerry Connolly (D) as chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Bulova squeaked out a victory, but the closeness of the race energized Republicans who worried they were all but vanquished from the blue-leaning county. Then, Cook won Bulova's old Braddock District seat.

All this after the state went overwhelmingly for Barack Obama last year, the first time in 44 years the state has supported a Democrat for president.

The reality for the GOP is that Deeds has a significant lead in Northern Virginia. And while it is unlikely that Fairfax County will actually go red this year, there's no question they have momentum on their side. Attendance at the pancake breakfast was triple that of last year; there was a waiting list to get in and alas they ran out of pancakes.

By Sandhya Somashekhar  |  October 4, 2009; 11:18 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Creigh Deeds , Election 2008/President , Fairfax County Board of Supervisors , Gerald E. Connolly , Robert F. McDonnell , Sandhya Somashekhar  
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Fairfax County is a mixed bag of independents who lean both Liberal and Conservative ways. Party alignment is not as widespread as this article suggests.

Candidates on both sides have been successful because of their abilities to connect with voters, not because of party line. Harrity, who is actually a great guy, lost because of his inexperience and arrogance to some extent. He's never on time for a meeting.

John Cook was also inexperienced, but he appeared sincere. Hopefully he won't change with time as he wears that esteemed Supervisor title.

As for Deeds vs. McDonnell, regardless of Washingtonpost's cheerleading, Independent Northern Virginians are highly intelligent voters and it is clear to us which of the two have stronger leadership attributes. Deeds, so far, has been nothing but a Dog with rabies whose radio and tv ads have gone out of control. His annoyance has lost my respect for him as a candidate.

Posted by: letsfroggy1 | October 5, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

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