Fairfax County Board of Supervisors chairman Gerry Connolly defeated former congresswoman. Leslie Byrne in the Democratic primary to succeed retiring Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), and will be facing GOP businessman Keith Fimian in the November general election.
Connolly scored a resounding victory over Byrne by a 25-point margin, 58 to 33 percent, with 94 percent of precincts reporting. He is trying to follow in Davis’ footsteps, who also parlayed his tenure as chairman on the county Board of Supervisors to a seat in Congress.
"Gerry will be a powerful advocate for change in Washington and will use his experience to get things done for Northern Virginia," DCCC chairman Chris Van Hollen said in his congratulatory statement.
Byrne, who ran a vigorously liberal campaign, was unable to retake the seat which she held from 1992 to 1994 before losing to Davis. The first female congresswoman in the Old Dominion, she has struggled in key Congressional and statewide campaigns since then – losing a Senate primary (against Mark Warner), a lieutenant governor’s race, and now a primary for her old House seat.
One of Byrne’s major backers, EMILY’s List, attempted to attack Connolly for his close association with the area’s defense contractors, but the attacks ultimately had little impact. As county chairman, Connolly sports high name identification in an affluent, well-educated county – and his high profile within the district clearly paid off.
Connolly starts off as the favorite against the little-known Fimian, who owns a local home-inspection business. A political novice, Fimian has banked over $767,000 and has deep enough pockets to partially self-finance a campaign/
The district, which has trended in a Democratic direction over the last decade, is one of the Democrats’ top pickup opportunities in the fall. Bush narrowly carried the Northern Virginia district with 50 percent of the vote in 2004.