Great Challengers

Great Challengers

For the most part, it’s unrealistic to think that as a first time candidate, one has much chance of bumping off a popular incumbent to become a member of Congress.

The traditional path to serving at the national level begins with local office. Tom Davis began as a member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Jim Moran began as member of the Alexandria City Council. Frank Wolf lost his first bid to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Service in local government is critical training for future members of Congress. It focuses their approach to using federal tools to solve local problems.

The three main party challengers to Northern Virginia’s members of Congress are all excellent candidates with much to commend them. If they fail to win on Nov. 7, we’d like to see each of them stay involved in local politics and consider running for local office in the coming year. While the challengers include two Democrats and a Republican, all three shared a strong call for reform in congress.

Judy Feder is an attractive candidate — smart, driven with great experience and ideas. Should her effort to unseat Frank Wolf in the 10th District fail, we’d love to see her stay involved, not be a one-time candidate after being a first-time candidate. As a resident of McLean, perhaps she would consider seeking the Democratic nomination for Dranesville District supervisor.

Tom O’Donoghue, the Republican challenging Jim Moran in the 8th District, graduated from West Point, has a law degree from Georgetown and an MBA from Yale. Following the attacks of Sept. 11, O'Donoghue volunteered for service in Afghanistan and served a total of 20 months in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq. His experience, education and brains make him an appealing candidate, the kind of candidate Republicans in Northern Virginia need.

Andy Hurst, a bright, young lawyer from Fairfax County, faces U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R) in the 11th District. It’s a tough challenge for a first-time candidate, but we hope that Hurst has been bitten by the political bug and will stay involved.

— Mary Kimm