During Congressman Connolly’s first term, he has become President of the 2008 Freshman Class, voted for cap-and-trade, sent out a mailer on the taxpayers’ dime, and voted for Obamacare. In addition, he has voted with Speaker Pelosi 97% of the time. Those reasons alone are enough to replace him.
Despite this fact, this district is very unique not just to Virginia, but also to the Nation as a whole. While many Republicans are rightly running their campaigns on the economy, in Virginia’s 11th district it is a different issue, as people are simply better off in this district. The unemployment rate in Prince William County and Fairfax County is 5.8% and 5% respectively; national unemployment is currently 9.6% and the Virginia rate is 7.1%. Looking at these numbers can show what an uphill climb it can be to simply run on the economy. Despite this, the Fimian campaign remains optimistic that a strong campaign can be run on the economy.
Here’s what Fimian told me:
“People are telling me they are worried about the economy, spending and taxes. While Northern Virginia has fared better than other parts of the country, we have by no means been immune from the recession and failed economic policies of this Congress and Congressman Connolly. The real problem is politicians like Gerry Connolly think that a couple making $150,000, just middle class around here, are doing just fine. But if they are upside down in their mortgage because of dropping values, that’s a big worry. If the cost of their healthcare plan jumps 20% every year, that’s another worry. If their retirement investments lost 25% in the last two years, that’s a big problem. Unfortunately Gerry Connolly just does not understand this. He habitually votes for higher spending and taxes that hurt Northern Virginia families.”
Gerry Connolly is a smart man. His reelection campaign has been about the services that he has provided over the years to Fairfax and Prince William Counties. During a recent debate, Keith Fimian accused Gerry Connolly of poor management of Fairfax County. Congressman Connolly responded, saying, ”If I left the county so bad off, why did Fairfax County retain the AAA bond rating?” During that same debate, Congressman Connolly also accused Keith Fimian of not being involved in the local community enough.
Despite Congressman Connolly’s accusations that Keith Fimian isn’t involved in the community enough, Fimian has taken some important stances on local issues. I asked him what he thought the biggest issue affecting Fairfax and Prince William. Here is what he told me,
“There are a lot of important local issues right now, but the economy and spending are the biggest issues affecting both counties, our state and our nation. Transportation, education and public safety are all important, but the greatest concern for everyone is the economy. If we don’t get the economy growing again and get spending under control, transportation, education and public safety are all threatened.”
I also asked him about a unique issue that affects both the Federal Government and his district. I asked him about the BRAC realignment. Here’s what he told me,
“The BRAC realignments to Fort Belvoir are good because they are bringing a lot of jobs to the area, both federal and contractors. The downside is of course the traffic congestion that will accompany it. In general, Northern Virginia cannot depend of the federal government to fix traffic. We’ve been using that approach for a long time and we can see where it has gotten us. We’re routinely ranked among the most congested areas in the nation. States and localities need to take the lead. The federal government slows down construction projects and drives up the cost in many cases. This is an instance where, due to the impact of thousands of new workers coming to the area all at once, the federal government needs to help fund the road improvements.”
Despite everything that is going nationally, the district is still an uphill climb for Mr. Fimian. This district is not known for voting for political parties, but for the candidate who has more invested in the community. In the 1990s, it was Congressman Tom Davis, a former Fairfax County Board Chairman. In 2008, it was Congressman Gerry Connolly, another Fairfax County Board Chairman. In 2009, it was Bob McDonnell, who had lived in the area as a young man and who had gone to high school nearby. In addition, in 2009, the district was competitive for Ken Cuccinelli and Steve Shannon, both locally elected officials. 2010 remains to be seen. While no doubt Keith Fimian is more than qualified to be in Congress, will the national mood and Congressman Connolly’s alignment with Speaker Pelosi be enough to defeat Gerry Connolly?
The latest filing reports show a VERY competitive race. Fimian has $1,066,800 cash on hand, compared to Connolly’s $1,438,48. With so much money in race, this race will remain competitive until the bitter end. Until then, it is imperative to help Keith, whether it be phone-banking, knocking on doors, or voting for him.
Josh St. Louis writes under the name “Not Jim Moran” at http://rednova8.com