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Votes

Wolf Trounces Socas

Negative campaigning failed to lift Democratic challenger against popular incumbent.

In the 10th District, U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R) defeated his Democratic challenger, James Socas, and set the course for his 13th term on Tuesday night.

Wolf received approximately 64 percent of the vote to Socas' 36 percent, according to preliminary returns from the State Board of Elections.

The race had been the most negative since Wolf was elected in 1980 and degenerated, by the end, into Wolf's team painting Socas as a carpetbagger in ads and Socas calling Wolf “dishonorable and dishonest.” Socas also said Wolf’s Christian beliefs were "extremist."

It was an unexpectedly personal contest for an incumbent that has been praised across party lines for his humanitarianism.

"People say he's a great guy to have a drink with. Only problem is, he doesn't drink," said Lou Zone, who has supported Wolf since he ran his first race for Congress in 1976. "This guy has a spotless reputation."

"He goes to disadvantaged countries and tries to help them on his own dollar," said Tom Berezoski.

WOLF KEPT his victory comments short and to the point, thanking the largest volunteer corps in any of his campaigns since 1986. Later, he commenting on the intense nature of the contest.

"Some of the comments that were made were uncomfortable," he said, mentioning the questioning of his faith in particular.

"We turned this thing around on a dime," Wolf said.

As for the next two years, Wolf plans to continue work on two issues that have already garnered him kudos: transportation and gang prevention.

Recently, Wolf has secured funding to synchronize lights along congested Route 7. He has also been a vocal supporter of extending Metro services to Dulles International Airport, an ambitious project slated for completion more than a decade from now.

Socas refused to address a Democratic gathering in Tysons Corner on Tuesday night until all the results were in. He also refused to speak with reporters.

"James is very proud of the campaign that we've run and when the whole district has reported he'll have a comment," said his spokesman Steve Marinoff

WOLF HAS been the impetus behind the formation of a regional gang task force. He also plans to set up a national gang intelligence unit and increase the number of ATF agents and gang prosecutors across the country.

"My commitment and pledge is that I'm willing to be the same congressman in the future as I have been in the past," Wolf said.

Socas attacked Wolf's record on education and transportation. The Harvard-educated businessman served as a staff member on the U.S. Senate Banking Committee before deciding to run for Congress. He was criticized by detractors for being an outsider; not only was he a political neophyte, he leased, rather than owned, property in McLean and was still registered to vote in California.

Perhaps what sank Socas' campaign, however, was the increasing negative tone of his attacks on Wolf, an admired figure on both sides of the fence.