Virginia’s Republicans picked their candidates for the November elections yesterday:
Republicans in Northern Virginia decided Tuesday to create a rerun of 2008, nominating Oakton businessman Keith Fimian to face Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D) for the second straight cycle.
The contest in the 11th District, where Fimian beat Fairfax County Supervisor Pat S. Herrity (Springfield) 56 to 44 percent, was one of five GOP primaries held across the commonwealth and one of the most closely watched.
In a statement, Fimian congratulated Herrity on a hard-fought race and said he would “campaign on the exact same issues that carried me to victory in the primary — issues like a commitment to turning our economy around, stopping wasteful spending, and getting taxes under control.”
Herrity said upon conceding, “I entered this race to retire Gerry Connolly, fire [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi and retake the Hill, and I remain committed to that goal.”
Outside of the 11th — where Fimian was viewed as the more conservative candidate — the initial results Tuesday night suggested that candidates backed by the party establishment performed well against those supported by tea party activists.
In the 5th District, state Sen. Robert Hurt (Pittsylvania) beat six other GOP candidates, scoring 48 percent of the vote with 99 percent of precincts reporting. Hurt will face first-term Rep. Tom Perriello (D) in November.
A similar scenario played out in the Hampton Roads-based 2nd District, where auto dealer Scott Rigell was declared the winner of a six-person field angling to take on freshman Rep. Glenn Nye (D). Rigell had the support of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), helping him overcome a volley of attacks on his conservative credentials. Democrats noted that Rigell was hovering around 40 percent of the vote with 98 percent of precincts reporting, a sign that Republicans in the district were less-than-unified.
In the 1st District, Rep. Rob Wittman prevailed easily over Catherine Crabill, who received notoriety for making controversial comments and had some tea party support but barely raised any money for her campaign.
In the 8th District, Iraq war veteran Patrick Murray edged out lawyer Matthew Berry for the right to face Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D) in November. The 10-term incumbent will be the heavy favorite.
The race in the 8th was the closes of the night. At one point the candidates were only 16 votes apart before Murray pulled away for a 482 vote victory. Not much of a victory really since he’s won the right to face Congressman James Moran, who seems unbeatable this year.
Fimian, Hurt, and Rigell all strike as they right choices for their districts, and if things turn out well we could end up with three new members of the Virginia Congressional delegation on the morning of November 3rd.