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Democrat in special election for Fairfax House seat nabs endorsement from ex-rival

A Democratic lobbyist running for a Virginia House seat in Fairfax County picked up a big endorsement this week -- from her old political rival.

Former Republican delegate James H. Dillard II, who served as Virginia's 41st District House delegate from 1972 to 2005, endorsed Eileen Filler-Corn, a Democratic lobbyist who served as an adviser to two former Virginia Democratic governors.

Dillard defeated Filler-Corn in 1999 in a hotly contested race for the 41st House District, which is in Fairfax County and includes the areas of Burke, Fairfax Station and Springfield.

The 41st House seat opened up again when Sen. David W. Marsden (D-Fairfax), who succeeded Dillard in 2005, defeated Republican Stephen M. "Steve" Hunt by 324 votes in a Senate special election in mid-January. He resigned his House seat a day later.

Filler-Corn faces Kerry D. Bolognese, a higher-education lobbyist who unsuccessfully tried to take the seat from Marsden in November, losing by 209 votes. The special election is set for March 2.

Filler-Corn, 45, of Springfield, is the director of government relations for Albers and Co., an Arlington-based lobbying firm, and served as a senior adviser for state and federal relations to former governor Timothy M. Kaine (D) from 2006 to 2007.

Education played a big role in the 1999 race, with both Dillard and Filler-Corn campaigning for raises for teachers and zero-tolerance policies regarding weapons on school property. Dillard, a former co-chairman of the House's Education Committee and a former Fairfax teacher and school principal, said Filler-Corn was the toughest challenger he faced in two decades.

Now, Dillard is putting his money on his old opponent.

"As a Republican, I am willing to cross party lines to support a moderate who cares strongly about providing educational opportunities for our children in our public schools and institutions of higher learning," Dillard said in an endorsement letter released by Filler-Corn's campaign Friday. "Unlike her opponent, who believes we spend '-'excessive' amounts on public education, Eileen will fight to get our fair share of education dollars to maintain our superior schools in Fairfax County."

Campaign finance reports for Filler-Corn and Bolognese are scheduled to be filed by Monday.

By Derek Kravitz  |  February 21, 2010; 11:47 AM ET
Categories:  Derek Kravitz , Election 2010 , House of Delegates  
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Can you please let us know when the last time Dillard endorsed a Republican was? If I remember correctly, he endorsed Deeds, Kaine, Mark Warner, Dave Marsden and others. How is it news that he has once again endorsed a democrat?

Posted by: herb6 | February 21, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

He endorsed a lobbyist go figure, she won't win not in this political climate.

Posted by: zcxnissan | February 21, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Bolognese is the right kind of lobbyist, lobbying for higher education.

Posted by: zcxnissan | February 21, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

"Every person is at risk from a citizen carrying guns in malls, movie theaters, restaurants and on highways." -- Eileen Filler-Corn, 2000

The FBI and the DOJ disagree with her (the last decade has proven that more firearms in the hands of the law-abiding really does mean less crime), but if you think depriving people of their civil rights and endangering the innocent is a good idea, then by all means, jump on Ms. Filler-Corn's bandwagon.

Posted by: bblackmoor | February 28, 2010 2:56 AM | Report abuse

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