Even before longtime U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) announced that he would be retiring earlier this year, former Marine officer Micah Edmond was planning to run for Congress — talking to party leaders and beginning to line up support. After Moran's unexpected decision, though, the race became more competitive. Congressional staffer Dennis Bartow entered the race, as did former Texas legislator Paul Haring. But when Republicans assembled for their nominating convention last weekend, Edmond was able to secure a victory.
"Micah Edmond is a breath of fresh air inside the beltway, and he's going to make a fantastic congressman," said Pat Mullins, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, in a written statement. "Virginians in the 8th Congressional District have suffered long enough with embarrassing Democratic leadership in the form of Congressman Jim Moran, and the raft of far-left liberals running for their nomination offers little hope for change."
Edmond served as a defense legislative assistant for two subcommittee ranking members of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.). Before that, he was a speechwriter for the Marine Corps service chief and aide-de-camp for two senior general officers. More recently, he served as a national security advisor for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction in 2011 and the Simpson-Bowles Commission in 2010.
"Although I worked tirelessly for two years to help generate the tough choices necessary to produce a comprehensive long-term budget plan that would solve our current fiscal crisis, both efforts failed because members of Congress chose to represent the status quo rather than the interests of their constituents," he said in a written statement announcing his campaign. "Congress’ continued lack of action forces us to navigate from fiscal crisis to fiscal crisis without a long-term comprehensive budget plan and it is undermining our economic growth and national security."
ALTHOUGH DEMOCRATS are selecting their candidate in an open primary that's available to all voters, Republicans selected to choose their candidate in a convention of party insiders. Alexandria Republican City Committee Chairman Chris Marston says the use of conventions to select candidates is nothing new, adding that the party uses primaries about half the time. In the last nine congressional cycles, he said, primaries have only been held only four times.
"In this case, when the decision was made to hold a convention over a primary there had only been one person who expressed an interest in running," said Marston, adding that the lone candidate at that time was Edmond. "And we thought the chance to have the nomination completed earlier would be an advantage."
Campaign finance records show he raised a little more than $44,000 in the first quarter of this year, well behind most of the 10 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination. The district includes Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County — a solidly Democratic area where President Obama won with 68 percent of the vote in 2012. That means most of the attention in this race will focus on the June 10 Democratic primary. The winner who emerges from that race, which features 10 candidates, will be viewed by many as the odds-on favorite to win.
"The Democratic primary is tantamount to winning this election," said Stephen Farnsworth, professor at the University of Mary Washington. "So that's why we are seeing so much attention to the Democratic primary right now."