Wolf, Moran, Davis Retain Their Seats
Wednesday, November 8, 2006
In the Washington region's marquee U.S. House race, veteran Republican Rep. Frank R. Wolf soundly defeated Democrat Judy Feder yesterday to claim a 14th term in his Northern Virginia district.
Wolf, 67, rolled up solid leads across the 10th Congressional District, including in key Fairfax County precincts, to build an insurmountable margin, according to unofficial returns. The outcome, in a district that has grown more friendly to Democrats in recent years, underscored Wolf's popularity even in the face of one of the strongest challenges of his career.
"It's a tough political environment for a Republican," Wolf campaign manager Dan Scandling said before polls closed. But the incumbent claimed victory shortly after 9 p.m.
Elsewhere in Northern Virginia, Democratic Rep. James P. Moran Jr., 62, defeated Republican challenger Tom M. O'Donoghue, 41, an Army veteran, in the 8th Congressional District. Republican Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, 57, won in the 11th Congressional District over Democrat Andrew Hurst, 36, a Springfield lawyer.
The state's tightest House race was in the 2nd Congressional District in Hampton Roads, where Republican Rep. Thelma D. Drake, 56, narrowly beat Democrat Philip J. Kellam, 50. But the Wolf-Feder race had also been closely watched.
"We've always known that it was a big challenge against an incumbent, and I think we ran a helluva race," Feder said in a telephone interview last night. "We were hopeful that the desire for change and the campaign we were running were going to take us over the top, but it just wasn't enough."
In the end, Republicans retained their 8-3 hold on the state's House delegation.
The 10th District campaign was especially intense because of an anti-incumbent mood in the nation and Feder's fundraising success.
Feder, 59, a former Clinton administration health policy expert, took leave from her job as dean of Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute to challenge Wolf. She raised more than $1.5 million for a campaign that sought to tie the incumbent to an unpopular President Bush.
Throughout the campaign, Wolf was favored to win reelection. But he was viewed as more vulnerable than other House incumbents in Northern Virginia.
Davis, who chairs the House Government Reform Committee, raised 10 times as much money as his Democratic opponent. First elected in 1994 to a seat that represents much of Fairfax County and parts of Prince William County, Davis is one of the region's better-known politicians and is often mentioned as a potential contender for U.S. Senate.
Moran's early opposition to the war in Iraq played well in his heavily Democratic district, which includes Alexandria, Arlington County, Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County. During his eighth term, he avoided the unflattering headlines that had sometimes dogged him in years past.
Wolf, first elected in 1980 when Ronald Reagan won the White House, is the dean of Virginia's House delegation and a force on Capitol Hill. He chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Commerce, Justice and State departments. He is also well regarded by human rights advocates worldwide.
Wolf overwhelmingly won reelection in 2004, with 64 percent of the vote, and in 2002, with 72 percent. This year's race was his most competitive since he was first elected to the House, in part because of his district's recent tilt toward Democrats. The district spans Loudoun County and parts of Fairfax, Fauquier and Prince William counties and Manassas. It also reaches into the Shenandoah Valley.
Feder, in her first run for Congress, hammered Wolf for supporting the war in Iraq and for voting with President Bush more than 90 percent of the time. She also sought to tar Wolf by association with various House Republicans who have been mired in ethics scandals.
Fighting back, Wolf criticized Feder for her role as an architect of President Bill Clinton's failed universal health-care plan, and he accused her of having no transportation policy for a district in which traffic dominates voters' lives.
Late in the campaign, Wolf and Feder dueled over the airwaves and in mailboxes. They attacked each other in local TV and radio ads and through mailers, and their campaigns also called thousands of homes to seek support.