Candidates Jump Into Races for Congress

By Lisa Rein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 23, 2006

A field of challengers is lining up to take on Northern Virginia's incumbents in Congress in November, with Democrats hoping to capitalize on their party's recent regional success at the polls.

The Democrats appear ready to invoke GOP corruption scandals in their races against Reps. Thomas M. Davis III and Frank R. Wolf, two popular, longtime Republican incumbents.

Wolf, the senior member of the Virginia delegation, has represented Loudoun, Fairfax and Fauquier counties for 13 terms. Democrat Judy Feder of McLean has announced that she'll run against him.

Feder, dean of Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute, was a senior official in the Department of Health and Human Services in the Clinton administration. This is her first run for office. She called Wolf "part of the leadership team in Congress . . . that is favoring their friends more than our families." One of the issues she said she will focus on is what she described as the troubled Medicare drug program.

Wolf's office declined to comment on the race.

Davis, serving his sixth term, will face the winner of a June 13 Democratic primary. So far, retired foreign service officer Ken Longmyer of Falls Church, who lost to Davis in 2004, and lawyer Andrew Hurst, a first-time candidate from the Springfield area, have announced challenges. Democratic leaders this week decided on a primary over a party caucus or convention, because the candidates wanted one and the state is holding a primary for U.S. Senate, activists said.

Ginny Peters, the Fairfax County Democratic chairman, said the Democratic challengers believe Davis to be "a little more vulnerable this time, because of all the scandals and indictments" involving national GOP leaders. She also said that with the exception of recent hearings on the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, the House Committee on Government Reform, which Davis chairs, has failed to investigate the corruption scandals. "People are angry," Peters said. Davis "has had the opportunity to investigate many things, and he hasn't done it."

A spokesman for Davis, Robert White, said, "Tom is always pleased when people get involved in public service, and he looks forward to the campaign in the fall."

In the 8th District, which straddles Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria, at least three Republicans have announced challenges to eight-term Democrat James P. Moran Jr. They include Tom O'Donoghue, an Alexandria business consultant and Iraq war veteran, and Mark Ellmore of Alexandria, a supporter of the Iraq war who would crack down on illegal immigration and make President Bush's tax cuts permanent, according to his Web site.

A third Republican candidate, Robert Pasikov, said late Tuesday that he planned to challenge Moran.

Democrats' hopes in November are buoyed by their strength in recent elections: Fairfax went for Democrat John F. Kerry in the 2004 presidential race, Democratic Gov. Timothy M. Kaine won Fairfax and Loudoun last fall, and Democrat Mark R. Herring solidly beat Republican Mick Staton Jr. last month in Virginia's 33rd Senate District, which covers parts of Loudoun and Fairfax counties.

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