Opinion: Who is Running to Represent You in Congress?

Opinion: Who is Running to Represent You in Congress?

If you only get your news from the TV and the big city newspapers that still exist, you might think that we are electing only the president of the U.S. and a U.S. senator from Virginia on Nov. 6, just 47 days from now. In fact, we’ll also be electing a new representative for Reston in Congress.

“New” because on Nov. 6 we will vote for a congressman from the 11th District, not the eighth, where Jim Moran has been our congressman for the last 10 years. Gerry Connolly is the incumbent in the 11th and, of course, he is running for re-election for a third term. But not many of us have actually seen Mr. Connolly around Reston despite the fact that we are new to his district and he needs our vote Nov. 6th.

But, with just over six weeks to go, one can expect to see more of and about him soon. Connolly, who refers to himself as a pro-business centrist, will be a change from Mr. Moran who is an unabashed progressive Democrat.

Connolly has three opponents who range from hard right to very progressive. Republican Chris Perkins is the former, a retired Army colonel who went through the revolving door to defense lobbying about six years ago. He thinks defense spending is inadequate at 27 percent of the budget, that education should be a state responsibility run on a market basis, that everything else should be slashed and/or turned over to the states. Independent Mark Gibson is sort of a compassionate businessman-libertarian. Then there is Joe Galdo, the Green candidate. Galdo is a solid progressive open to new ideas.

To date, Connolly is avoiding candidate forums, including one here in Reston sponsored in by the Reston Citizens Association and Reston Impact. His opponents all attended and gave good accounts of themselves in responding to questions from journalists from local print and online media. Given Connolly’s business orientation, if he shows up for any forum, it will likely be at a Chamber of Commerce. Or, he may not. Connolly has a huge stash of cash, $1,850,000 as of June 30, while Perkins had $304,000; Galdo had $5,000; and Gibson reported 0.0.

Given the fact that Mr. Connolly pretty much had his new district drawn to his specifications (as did other VA congressmen for each of theirs), he expects to do a lot better than the whisker’s margin he won by in 2010. Adding Reston was a coup for him, one which no doubt boosted his confidence that he will be re-elected, perhaps without breaking a sweat. Still, you can not only expect to see Gerry Connolly appearing more in person around Reston, but you also can expect to be carpet bombed through your mailbox or slot with his glossy propaganda in the remaining weeks.