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Democrats shell out $1 million to boost Connolly

Ben Pershing

Updated 12:06 p.m.
Are national Democrats worried about Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.)?

The Northern Virginia freshman's reelection race has long been ranked by nonpartisan observers as a second- or third-tier contest -- a seat that could be won by Oakton businessman Keith Fimian (R), but is far less likely to flip than dozens of other districts around the country.

Now, however, the party has come in with a heavy last-minute investment to boost Connolly's campaign. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reported late Tuesday that it was putting $1.1 million into the 11th district to continue its campaign of ads and mail against Fimian, bringing the committee's total spending in the contest to $1.5 million.

The local media market is one of the most expensive in the country, so it costs a lot more here to run a basic slate of ads than it might elsewhere. And the DCCC is spending money in a broad range of seats -- on Tuesday alone, the committee put cash into 66 districts. But the fact that Connolly's race got the single biggest infusion of cash suggests Democratic strategists are more concerned about this seat than they had been in the past. No recent polls have been released in the contest.

The DCCC has already been on the air hitting Fimian with an ad accusing the Republican of lying about how he built his company, U.S. Inspect. Fimian, meanwhile, has been up with one spot suggesting Connolly is "too corrupt even for Congress" and another an ad -- not available online -- rebutting a previous Connolly spot that suggested Fimian supported an unusual bonus scheme for members of Congress.

Speaking of that second Fimian ad, it purports to use quotes from the Washington Post to bolster its claim. "Gerry Connolly's ad: The Washington Post says 'grossly out of context' and 'absurd,'" the ad's narrator says, as the quotes are shown on the screen. The ad's reference is to this piece that appeared on on Oct. 8. It was written by Paige Winfield Cunningham, who runs the blog Old Dominion Watchdog, and sometimes contributes to the Post's All Opinions Are Local blog.

In an Oct. 9 press release highlighting Cunningham's piece, Fimian's campaign referred to Cunningham as a "Washington Post investigative reporter." She is not a member of the Washington Post staff, and the post she wrote -- as the blog's name suggests -- represents her opinion. This is the only staff-written piece about the Connolly ad in question.

Correction: The original version of this post referenced a Fimian ad claiming Connolly was "too corrupt even for Congress." That ad ran during the 2008 cycle and is not on the air currently, though it was recently reposted to YouTube by the Fimian campaign.

By Ben Pershing  | October 27, 2010; 11:25 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Gerald E. Connolly, Keith Fimian  
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Maybe that tells you something about your own paper, that your staff can't be bothered investigating anything and needs guest bloggers to do "reporters'" jobs.

Posted by: Yankeesfan1 | October 27, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

This 1M will enslave Gerry more than ever. He was already under the complete control of this gang. Poor, poor Gerry. How will he ever beat his addiction? His pushers will never let him be free to represent his constituents now. I hope he gets some help soon.

Posted by: novuscg1 | October 29, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

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