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NoVa airwaves thick with ads from 11th district race

Ben Pershing

Updated 12:50 p.m.
If voters in Northern Virginia didn't know before that a heated race is underway between Rep. Gerald Connolly (D) and Oakton businessman Keith Fimian (R), they surely do now -- unless they don't own a television.

Well over $1 million worth of ads are currently coursing through the airwaves in the 11th district, which includes parts of Fairfax and Prince William Counties. At least four different spots are running, all of them negative. Connolly and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee are both on the air attacking Fimian, while Fimian and the American Action Network are firing back at Connolly. Some spots are just on local cable stations, and some are on broadcast television throughout the Washington, D.C. market.

AAN made the biggest buy -- the conservative group reported to the Federal Election Commission last week that it had spent $850,000 to run ads against Connolly. The group's spot, showing children struggling to carry heavy backpacks, says the Democrat "loaded our kids up" with huge amounts of spending and debt.

Fimian, meanwhile, has been on the air since last week with an ad accusing Connolly of a "disturbing pattern" of reckless spending:

The DCCC is also getting in on the act. It has now spent close to $350,000 on the race, some of it on ads and some of it on anti-Fimian direct mail. The committee's current spot attacks Fimian for his business record, accusing him of lying about how he built his company -- U.S. Inspect -- and facing lawsuits and tax liens:

For his part, Connolly has already spent at least $500,000 on broadcast ads. He has run a negative ad slamming Fimian for allegedly supporting an unusual bonus system for members of Congress who balance the budget. Now Connolly has a new spot on the air attacking Fimian for opposition to abortion and embryonic stem cell research:

By Ben Pershing  | October 21, 2010; 10:05 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Gerald E. Connolly, Keith Fimian  
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We need to focus on the real issue. Gerry needs our help.

Posted by: novuscg1 | October 21, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

In the few moments when I've had the TV on and been away from the remote control, I've been bombarded with ads for both VA and MD races -- and every one an attack ad. Thank goodness for my "mute" and "channel changing" buttons, which I'm now using even more quickly and frequently during election season than I usually do.

I look forward to the day when enough people "vote with their remotes" by tuning out political attack ads so that the campaigns stop running them.

Posted by: nan_lynn | October 21, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Fimian has two ads that criticize the votes and policies of Mr Connolly. Gerald has indeed burdened out children with outrageous debt and the pattern of uncontrolled spending he has voted for is fact. Mr. Connolly doesn't have an issue to campaign on--at least one that the voters approve of--so he goes for character assassination in one ad and abortion in the other. I'm sorry for the haggered face woman, but abortion is not even in the top 20 of concerns in this election. And, as for the character assassination in the other--well that tells you more about Connolly than it does about Fimian.

Posted by: lleatwo | October 22, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

The first time I saw Gerry Connolly's ad calling himself "The Tax-Cutting Democrat" I almost threw my coffee cup at the television.

After living in Fairfax county for 40 years I know very well that calling Gerry Connolly a "Tax Cutting Democrat" is like calling Marion Barry an undercover DEA Agent.

Posted by: priveye | October 22, 2010 4:41 AM | Report abuse

The Gerald Connolly ad where Keith Fimian is walking around through an old broken down house with superimposed accusations plastered all over the field of vision is the most laughable. Who did they get to make that? Some seventh graders? Plus the accusations are trotted out from the first the candidates' first match–and have been thoroughly and factually discredited. Much is made of the "highly-educated" and "highly-functioning" denizens of the 11th district, and if they buy this sophomoric stuff it will be too funny.

Posted by: mirabeaulamarr | October 22, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Gerry "The Tax King" Connolly sucked up and voted with Pelosi and Obama 97% of the time. Pitty he can't think for himself...well...that is other than raising taxes.

Posted by: priveye | October 25, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

It's too bad WaPo doesn't expose AAN, one of those shadow "Citizens United" groups exempt from campaign limits and disclosure - what many people now call the unseemly merger of Republicans and crass corporate interests: "RepubliCorp."

Factcheck doesn't think highly of AAN's ads and some have been pulled as unethical.

It is not required to disclose its donors, but some major GOP fundraisers and donors sit on the network’s board of directors. They include: New York venture capitalist Kenneth Langone, who has donated nearly $500,000 to federal candidates and parties since 1989, and Fred Malek of Virginia, who served as a co-chairman of McCain’s fundraising committee in 2008 (and who chairs the boards of both the network and the forum.) Langone is co-founder of Home Depot. Malek is founder of Thayer Capital Partners. Prominent board members of the network also include Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Ed Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Posted by: saymyname | October 28, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

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