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Hurt signs up LaCivita

Anita Kumar

State Sen. Robert Hurt has hired veteran Republican operative Chris LaCivita to manage his campaign for Congress next year.

LaCivita is fresh off a big win -- helping conservative Sen. Ken Cuccinelli defeat Steve Shannon in the race for attorney general.

But some political insiders are speculating that Hurt hired LaCivita to shore up his conservative credentials in what is expected to be a tough primary for the GOP nomination.

Hurt is the best known of the five Republicans running against Democratic U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello, but some GOP activists question his conservative credentials because he voted in favor of former governor Mark Warner's 2004 tax increase -- one of the defining moments of modern Virginia politics.

LaCivita declined to comment today. Hurt did not immediately return calls for comment.

Other Republicans running include Feda Kidd Morton, a teacher in Fluvanna County; Michael McPadden, an Albemarle County pilot; Laurence Verga, an Albemarle real estate developer and consultant; Ken Boyd, a member of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors; and businessman Ron Ferrin. Republican Bradley Rees of Bedford County recently announced that he will run as an independent.

Democrats are hoping that the GOP primary in the 5th Congressional District will turn moderates and conservatives against each other, weakening the nominee before he faces Perriello. (Similar to last week's special election in New York's 23rd congressional district).

LaCivita worked for George Allen and was behind the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004 and the first ads about Barack Obama's connection to Vietnam War-era radical William Ayers last year.

He also recently signed onto Jeff McWaters's campaign to replace Sen. Ken Stolle, who was elected last week as Virginia Beach's new sheriff. (If you've been anywhere near Virginia Beach lately, you can't help but see McWaters's signs everywhere).

Republicans think they have a good shot of picking up Perrielo's seat because he represents a fairly conservative district and he supported a pair of controversial Democratic proposals -- the healthcare reform and cap and trade climate control bills.

Perriello beat longtime incumbent Virgil Goode in a district that runs from Charlottesville to the North Carolina board.

By Anita Kumar  |  November 9, 2009; 4:33 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2010  
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