Connolly claims win over Fimian in No.Va. congressional district

By Ben Pershing
Washington Post staff writer
Friday, November 5, 2010; 10:02 PM

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D) claimed Friday that he had won reelection in Virginia's 11th Congressional District after election officials finished canvassing every precinct and the Democrat maintained his narrow lead.

As of Friday afternoon, Connolly led Oakton businessman Keith Fimian (R) by 968 votes, according to the Virginia State Board of Elections site. Connolly led by 487 votes Tuesday night, and that number steadily grew as the week progressed and more ballots were counted.

Connolly reiterated his "deep gratitude" Friday to voters in the district. His campaign manager, James Walkinshaw, said in a statement: "The results of the official canvasses by the electoral boards in the three jurisdictions of the 11th CD make it crystal clear that Gerry Connolly has won reelection to a second-term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Regardless of the rhetoric emanating from the losing candidate's campaign, the election is over and Connolly is the winner."

As his reelection race remained unresolved, Connolly was hospitalized for a condition his office would not disclose.

"Congressman Connolly visited his doctor for a checkup earlier this week, and his doctor recommended he be hospitalized for further testing," Walkinshaw said. "The details are a private matter, but he is doing well and will be heading home this weekend. He expects to be back to work for the people of Northern Virginia on Monday."

Fimian's campaign has not said whether the Republican will request a recount, as he is entitled to do under Virginia law, or concede. But Fimian campaign manager Tim Edson responded sharply Friday to Connolly's declaration of victory.

"Once again we see Congressman Connolly holding himself to one standard and everyone else to another," Edson said. "Connolly wants to accelerate the legal process for his own political motives instead of letting it play out according to the law. There is no reason to rush the process and take the chance of getting the results wrong. Keith Fimian is abiding by the legal process as it continues to unfold. Nothing that the Fimian campaign has done or requested has incurred one dime more of expenses to taxpayers, unlike Connolly's sordid record."

Some observers from both parties have said they doubt whether a recount would change the result, though Fairfax County Republican head Anthony Bedell issued a memo Friday raising questions about the accuracy of the vote count.

"The statements by Mr. Fimian, his campaign and other partisans suggesting that the outcome of this race can be reversed are not credible or based on the facts and statistics from the canvasses," Walkinshaw said. "It is Mr. Fimian's prerogative to seek a recount, but, quite frankly, it would be a waste of taxpayer dollars."

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