The D.C. Democratic State Committee, which has largely been on the sidelines in the battle for control of Congress, sent out an "urgent" appeal late Sunday night seeking volunteers who can travel to Virginia to help U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va).
Connolly is locked in a close race with Republican Keith Fimian in a district that includes much of Fairfax County and part of Prince William County. Until recently, few observers thought Connolly, a freshman who represents a District easily carried by President Obama in 2008, was in danger of losing his seat.
But the leaders of the D.C. Democratic Committee said they have received word that race is now "one of the most competitive" in the country and there is a shortage of volunteers for Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts. Last week, the Cook Political Report changed its rating for the 11th District from leaning Democratic to toss up.
Party leaders forwarded an e-mail from Moveon.org stating the organization needed 127 volunteers Monday and Tuesday in Falls Church; so far, 85 people had signed up.
With its overwhelming Democratic registration advantage, the District has long been a fertile source of volunteers willing to travel to other states to help with get-out-the-vote efforts.
In 2008, thousands of Districts residents descended on Northern Virginia to help Obama become the first Democratic presidential nominee in 44 years to win the state. In many cases, Obama field offices in Northern Virginia were so swamped with volunteers campaign officials were pleading with District residents to keep traveling to southern Virginia if they wanted to help the campaign.
Despite the concerns of elected leaders in the District about what a GOP-controlled House or Senate would mean for the city, there have been relatively few efforts this year by local officials to help Democratic candidates in other states.
David Meadows, executive director of the D.C. Democratic Committee, noted local Democrats have still been phone-banking from local offices established by the Democratic National Committee.
But Meadows added the local party is more interested in "taking care of home" this year because of the mayor's and council races.