The first time that U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) ran for office in 1979, he woke up at 6 a.m. every morning and jogged two miles before beginning his day campaigning for a seat on the Alexandria City Council. In 1985, he ran a controversial independent candidacy for mayor, knocking off a longtime incumbent Democrat Charles Beatley. In 1990, he took on a popular Republican incumbent Stan Parris in a race for the House of Representatives that many people felt was an impossible challenge.
“The guy’s got guts,” said Alexandria Deputy City Manager Mark Jinks. “There were a lot of other Democrats who didn’t run in 1990 because they didn’t think they could win. But Moran knew that he could win and, as it turns out, he was right.”
This year’s race has not been as challenging for the eight-term incumbent congressman. He had no opposition in the summer primary, and he enjoyed an 18 to 1 fundraising advantage over his Republican challenger. Campaign finance reports show that Moran raised $1.3 million.
Election-day totals show that Moran took 65.6 percent of the electorate with 139,856 votes.
"We want to bring our troops home from Iraq," Moran said in a speech at the Alexandria Democratic Committee's victory party.
<b>MORAN’S TEAM</b> took nothing for granted, and they waged an aggressive campaign even though most analysts saw the race as an easy win for the Democratic candidate. In the process, Moran lost 48 pounds in an effort to help raise money for charity. He visited every Metro station in his district to shake hands of constituents and ask for their vote. And he participated in 12 candidate forums where the war in Iraq emerged as the central issue of the campaign.
"It's not been a good six years for this nation," said Moran, speaking alongside his family before thousands of supporters in Tysons Corner. "But the reality is that things are turning."
With Democrats taking charge of the House of Representatives, Moran could end up as chairman of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee. This would happen only if Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa.) won his bid to be the next majority leader in the House. Moran would probably be denied the chairmanship of the subcommittee if Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) were successful in his attempt to gain the leadership position, although he would remain a senior member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
“I promise you, with the leadership we have, you will be very proud to be Democrats and will be proud of our agenda," he told his supporters Tuesday.
<b>MORAN’S OPPONENTS</b> had little traction in Virginia’s highly Democratic eighth congressional district. Republican Tom O’Donoghue tried to use his experience as an Army reservist against Moran, saying that his experience fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq made him more qualified to understand the situation in the Middle East. Disclosure forms show that he raised $66,877 with O’Donoghue himself listed as the largest single donor, giving a total of $12,728. After polls closed, O’Donoghue took 32.3 percent with 61,609 votes.
Quality assurance consultant Jim Hurysz also challenged Moran as an independent. He raised $14,778 — $14,353 of his own money — and received 2.75 percent of the vote.