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On November 4, 2008, Democrat Gerry Connolly, the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, was elected to the United States House of Representatives, defeating his Republican opponent Keith Fimian 55% to 43%.

Davis' Connolly's predecessor in the House, retired Virginia Rep. Thomas M. Davis, also previously served as Board Chairman. With Connolly now in the House, the race to succeed him as Board Chairman appears to be one of the first pitched battles of an increasingly competitive Virginia Governor's race.

The Washington Post's Tim Craig writes that all of the gubernatorial candidates from both parties - Terry McAuliffe, Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran for the Democrats, Robert McDonnell for the Republicans - are seeing the race for Chairman as an early chance to make their mark in 2009, and win both headlines and Northern Virginia support as they head toward November.

Emboldened by the near victory of a GOP House candidate in heavily Democratic Alexandria earlier this month, Virginia Republicans are hoping Fairfax Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) can defeat his Democratic opponent, Supervisor Sharon S. Bulova (Braddock), in the chairman's race.

In effort to lay the groundwork for his own campaign this fall, Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell (R) has dispatched paid canvassers and volunteers to help Herrity. By the end of the weekend, McDonnell's staff estimates they will have knocked on more than 15,000 doors. McDonnell plans to campaign with Herrity on Monday.

Not to be outdone, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is turning his McLean headquarters into a daily phone banking center in support of Bulova. While much of the work will be done by volunteers, McAuliffe plans to man the phones on Saturday.

McAuliffe's rivals for the nomination, Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath) and former delegate Brian Moran, are also dispatching resources to Fairfax in support of Bulova.

Deeds has recorded a robocall, as did Moran's wife, and Moran has mobilized staff and volunteers on Bulova's behalf.

Getting involved in a race like this makes sense for all four players.

As Swing State Project's Crisitunity notes, it is because of a Republican near-victory in Moran's old State House seat that Republicans are emboldened in Fairfax County in the first place.

In a way, it may be Moran who has the most to prove. The Alexandria race Craig refers to in the second graf was actually a special election to fill Moran's own seat in the House of Delegates (he resigned to campaign full time). As Craig explained in an earlier post, the Dems' 16-vote narrow escape was a real embarrassment given that the district had voted 75% for Obama.

That wasn't Moran's fault, per se, but a solid win for Bulova would certainly help the image of the Northern Virginia-based candidate as someone influential enough to be an effective Governor.

McAuliffe also can benefit considerably from being involved in a Bulova win. Though he has lived in Northern Virginia for decades, the New York-born McAuliffe is certain to face accusations of being a "carpetbagger" and a DC political insider. The "carpetbagger" label shouldn't stick too much - Moran himself is from the Boston area, and Mark Warner is originally from Illinois - but nevertheless, McAuliffe could gain a great deal of positive press and local support by proving his dedication to aiding local Democratic candidates in this race.

Deeds, meanwhile, could use every Northern Virginia vote he can get with both McAuliffe and Moran hailing from the region. He has little to lose, and a fair amount to gain, by helping out Bulova.

Finally, McDonnell, the Republican, has the most to gain from a Republican victory here, however unlikely. A victory for Herrity, in a county which went 60-39 for Obama, would be seen as an indicator of a coming Republican tide in November - and of McDonnell's influence. It would probably give him tremendous positive media coverage, and perhaps lead to his being anointed the frontrunner. Finally, McDonnell himself hails from Northern Virginia, and his ability to carve into Democratic margins in NoVa could determine the outcome of the race in November.

So Fairfax County becomes the first battleground of the Virginia Governor's race; we'll see who claims victory on Wednesday morning.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 09:45 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  As long as (5+ / 0-)

    a Republican victory here, however unlikely

    Creigh and Brian don't damge each other we should come out ok. Moran's ideology is closer to my own, but my gut trusts Creigh to be able to close the deal better out side blue NoVA, which, while it has a lot of influence, isn't everything.
    (There's that "electability" crap, which I hate, again...)
    I DO think either man could beat McDonnell, I just think Creigh would beat him worse.
    Thus the function of McAuliffe in the race. The Deeds and Moran supporters I've talked to, whatever else they may disagree on, do agree about McAuliffe:

    Do. not. WANT.

    I found this piece on huffpo amusing:

    McAuliffe Winning Over Virginia Netroots

    Not just for it's "yeah, right" title, but also for the fact that their idea of the VA netroots seems to be Ben Tribbett and Rick Howell, two of the least-trusted figures in the left side of the VA blogosphere.

    "Bush legacy", my ass. Criminals don't have "legacies". Criminals have RECORDS.

    by kestrel9000 on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 09:56:57 AM PST

  •  2nd para. Connolly's predecessor... nt thanks (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skywaker9, Cedwyn, The Totalizer, kat68

    The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

    by MeToo on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 09:58:10 AM PST

  •  Wednesday's news will be new poll (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    PPP is releasing head-to-head on Tuesday with carpetbagger breakdown for the AssClown.

  •  McAuliffe???!!! (4+ / 0-)

    I don't live in VA, so I really don't have a dog in this hunt.  But I find it hard to believe that the state would elect an annoying, conniving SOB like this for governor.  

    Knowing absolutely nothing about his two primary opponents, I would bet my rent money that he gets clobbered by one of them.

  •  Calling McAuliffe a carpetbagger will backfire (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skywaker9, turn Virginia blue

    BIG in Northern Virginia and Tidewater.

    I can't believe anyone would even try that in Virginia.

    Of course, it could conceivably be a Deeds strategy to paint both McAuliffe and Moran as outsiders, and himself as a "real Virginian" -- he's probably kissing of NOVA anyway for the primary.  But if he pulls that bullshit, the Republican Party is that-a-way.

    Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia. And it went Democratic.

    by Anarchofascist on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 10:15:59 AM PST

    •  You need to get out into the rest of the state (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fcvaguy, skywaker9

      It's not just him as a carpetbagger in the usual sense. It's also the fact that he has done NOTHING for Virginia or for the VA Democratic party. We all - Creigh and Brian included - worked our butts off for years to turn VA blue and where was he? Off in NY and DC and Florida. He has done absolutely nothing to earn the nomination or any position of leadership in Virginia.

      •  So not a carpbetbagger at all, (0+ / 0-)

        is what you mean.

        You're just complaining that he hasn't "earned his stripes", which is fair enough.

        And yes, here in reality, Kaine would have lost without McAuliffe dumping cash.  So saying McAuliffe has done nothing for the VA Dem Party is a complete and total lie.  CREAM, son, dollah dollah bills y'all.

        And I say that as someone who would vote for Moran if I weren't in Kansas (and whose Northern Virginian family most likely will vote for Moran).

        Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia. And it went Democratic.

        by Anarchofascist on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 10:32:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Helping one race is not the same as helping the (0+ / 0-)

          party. Sure, he gave Kaine a much needed boost. Where was he when we were trying to kick Davis out? Where was he and is he on the effort to defeat Frank Wolf? Where was he last year when we took the Senate and made gains in the House? McAuliffe may have flipped one race. That's not enough.

    •  I agree. he's lived in VA for 20 years. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that's not his problem.

  •  I've Noticed That Herrity's Mailings... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...studiously avoid the R-word.

    Is this a real holy war, or just a bunch of deluded boopholes croaking each other?

    by stevemb on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 10:16:37 AM PST

  •  We Virginia Dems never saw McAuliffe til now (4+ / 0-)

    Terry McAuliffe cannot undo in a single local election the fact that he has done absolutely nothing for Virginia or for the VA Democratic Party.

    The rest of us, Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds included, have been busting out asses for years to turn VA blue and now that the heavy lifting has been done, McAuliffe walks in and demands the laurels.

    If he somehow manages to buy the nomination, I am through with VA politics for a while. I will not volunteer and I will not vote for him. He ran the DNC into the ground, he alienated blacks while running HRC's campaign for President and I am disgusted by the idea of this man as a potential Governor of the Commonwealth that I love.

    •  Keep Bustin' (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The rest of us, Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds included, have been busting out asses for years to turn VA blue and now that the heavy lifting has been done, McAuliffe walks in and demands the laurels.

      Keep busting out those asses, pal.  ;)

      The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. -Bertrand Russell

      by littlenomad on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 10:21:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Our FCDC Chair, Scott Surovell, did an great (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, Dems2004, MeToo, brownsox

    Letter to the Editor that was published today.  Some excerpts:

    First there's the fact that Herrity is an outright liar:

    Herrity attacks Sharon Bulova for proposing the purchase of the Gatehouse II School Board complex after she made the motion, which passed unanimously to block this purchase. Mr. Herrity even sat in the boardroom and voted for her motion to block the purchase. His claims that she supports a purchase she moved to block are absolutely false and mind boggling.

    and her credentials:

    Sharon Bulova has managed Fairfax County’s $3.35 billion budget for 1,000,000 citizens for over 17 of her 21 years on the Board as Chair of the Budget Committee. Fairfax County’s budget is larger than four states and 115 countries and it employs 12,000 people plus an additional 22,000 people that work for the schools. Being a CFO of a small business with a few hundred employees is a fine credential, but this experience coupled with Herrity’s total of 13 months as a district supervisor it is not sufficient preparation to chair the governing board of one of the most complex local governments in the United States.

    Herrity's lack of experience is only matched by his total lack of interest in Board of Supervisor business:  he has missed more than 100 votes.  

    No matter what, the opposition is massing their forces for will be tough to incentivize people to vote for this special election, but we have to do our best.

    It's not whether government is too big or too small, it's whether it WORKS.

    by hcc in VA on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 10:19:44 AM PST

  •  Do have a feeling McAuliffe is more organized (0+ / 0-)

    At this point anyway, and most likely due to his fund raising prowess. I've received several calls asking me to volunteer for his campaign, one call from a paid pollster doing message testing for Moran, and nothing from Deeds.

  •  Herrity may be tough (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    His father was the chairman for years back in the 70`s and 80`s and a lot of people know the name. If I remember he was pretty moderate. Some of the old timers may vote for him just because they remember his father.
    Also Va. has the habit of always electing a governor from the party not in the white house,
    if the dems win this year maybe the state has finally turned true blue.

  •  Funny ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In effort to lay the groundwork for his own campaign this fall, Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell (R) has dispatched paid canvassers and volunteers to help Herrity. By the end of the weekend, McDonnell's staff estimates they will have knocked on more than 15,000 doors. McDonnell plans to campaign with Herrity on Monday.

    The Republican brand: "Consequences, schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich"

    by D in Northern Virginia on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 11:18:31 AM PST

  •  What??? (0+ / 0-)


  •  The most intense local race I can remember (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My Springfield-mall area neighborhood is littered with signs, and I'm getting mailers from the VA Dems for Bulova every couple days.

    If I didn't know better, I'd think it was a Presidential race, from the on-the-ground signage.

  •  46th HOD (0+ / 0-)

    district where Brian Moran was the Delegate.

    The race was impossibly close for someone who was the only one to know in August that Moran was going to retire.

    Moran retires at the last possible moment, so only those already prepared can take advantage. Republicans felt energized, partly because they couldn't believe their good fortune.

    Meanwhile, the first donation to the candidate to replace Moran was on August 29, 2008, a day or two after the Democratic Convention took place in Denver, at which time Terry Mac got lots of face time, and Brian got little, and relatively speaking, little money fundraising too.

    Last time I looked the candidate had taken over $6000 before Brian even resigned. And bought access to the voter file on October 15, 2008 for the entire 46th District, two weeks before the elections.

    Strange how Brian's resignation was a surprise to almost 'everybody'.


  •  not quite correct on Mark Warner (0+ / 0-)

    Born in Indianopolis.  While he grew up partly in IL, he also grew up after that in CT, where he graduated from high school.  But he attended college nearby Virginia - in DC at George Washington U, before going to Harvard Law.  He returned to the area when serving as a staffer for Chris Dodd (he had previously while in college worked for Abe Ribicoff).

    I'm not sure identifying  him as from IL really makes sense.

    And Tim Kaine is another - he was born in St. Paul MN, grew up in KS, after Harvard Law moved to the home state of his wife, Anne Holton, whose father Linwood largely created the modern the Republican party in Virginia, where he served as Governor.

    And as for Brian Moran being born in Boston - his father played for the Boston Redskins before George Preston Marshall moved them to DC.  


    do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

    by teacherken on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 01:26:29 PM PST

  •  What is the sense on this race (0+ / 0-)

    Will Bulova win? She has to because Herrity is hostile to Metro. I remember that his father hated Metro.

  •  I have to take issue... (0+ / 0-)

    with the assessment at the end of the post... " the most to gain from a Republican victory here, however unlikely."  It's not necessarily unlikely -- the republican in the race, Pat Herrity, is the son of the late former county board chair Jack Herrity -- who was ousted from office in the late 80s because of over-development -- and then won the post back the next time round.  he was popular since he was one of the big movers behind the effort to close the Lorton prison -- now housing developments.... years before it actually happened.  pockets of fairfax county are still verry red. and while sharon bulova's a great candidate -- and should win -- the current economic problems have left a budget mess that they're trying to blame on Connolly.  so , we'll see.

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