War and Oil Fuel Challengers' Runs for Congress

By Tim Craig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 3, 2006

The war in Iraq and high gas prices are becoming major issues in the four Northern Virginia congressional races, where challengers are hoping to unseat well-entrenched incumbents.

The incumbents -- Republicans Jo Ann S. Davis, Frank R. Wolf and Thomas M. Davis III and Democrat James P. Moran Jr. -- begin their general election campaigns with built-in advantages, such as name recognition, years of constituent outreach and, in most cases, a lot more money.

With polls showing widespread frustration with the GOP-controlled Congress and President Bush, Democrats say there could be a few surprises on Election Day. But Republicans, who have piled up easy wins in recent years, remain confident.

In District 1, a swath of land from the Chesapeake Bay to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains covering all or part of Fauquier, Prince William, Stafford, Spotsylvania and 15 other counties, longtime Democratic activist Shawn O'Donnell is challenging Jo Ann Davis.

In District 10, which includes Loudoun and parts of Fairfax, Prince William and Fauquier counties, Judy Feder is running against Wolf, a 26-year incumbent. Feder is dean of Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute and worked as a health policy specialist in the Clinton administration.

In District 11, which covers central and southern Fairfax and northern Prince William, lawyer Andrew Hurst is running against Thomas Davis.

Moran, who represents the 8th District, which includes Arlington County, the city of Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County, is challenged by Republican Tom O'Donoghue, an Army reservist who recently completed tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In each of the races, the war is shaping up to be a major issue. O'Donoghue wants to stay the course in Iraq. Moran was an early and vocal opponent of the war.

Thomas Davis, Jo Ann Davis and Wolf all voted in 2001 to authorize the war. Their opponents say that decision was a mistake, and they are trying to connect the incumbents to the president.

"An overarching issue is support of the Bush administration," Hurst said. "You will hear that from us over and over again."

Feder said Wolf "has failed to stand up to Bush."

O'Donnell said Jo Ann Davis, who was first elected in 2000, "has been nothing more than a rubber stamp of the Bush administration."

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2006 The Washington Post Company