The national anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform ranks Rep. Jo Ann S. Davis (R) "a friend of the taxpayer," but William A. Lee's ideological circle of friends might think otherwise.
Lee, an independent from Spotsylvania County, describes himself as a strict constitutionalist. He opposes the federal government creating jobs, setting a minimum wage, funding Social Security, allowing a do-not-call list and limiting campaign spending.
To Lee, the federal government has no business in state or local issues. He calls the money Davis has secured for road projects in Stafford and train station improvements in Fredericksburg "pork spending."
Lee, a technical support staff member at Advanced Pneumatics of Fredericksburg, is trying to unseat Davis in the 1st District, which stretches from Washington's southernmost suburbs to Newport News, Va.
Lee said he doesn't expect to win, with his part-time, $1,000 campaign against the Gloucester County Republican who sits on the House Armed Services Committee and was recently named to the committee that oversees the government's intelligence community. Davis also chairs the House subcommittee that deals with federal workers' benefits.
The obscurity of Lee's campaign is partly a result of little money and a lack of endorsements from organized groups, but it also speaks to Davis's relative security in her conservative, military-oriented district.
The 1st District runs from Hampton Roads north along the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River, including Williamsburg and the rural Northern Neck, into greater Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania and Stafford. It has about 700,000 people, including 40,000 federal workers -- active and retired -- and nearly a dozen major military installations, including Quantico Marine Corps Base and Langley Air Force Base.
Although Davis was initially known as the rural Virginia real estate agent who beat four Republicans in the 2000 primary, she now gets praise from Republicans and some Democrats for her doggedness on issues, such as trying to curb Virginia's massive trash industry, and for being willing to challenge her party on behalf of federal workers.
Davis, a supporter of the war in Iraq, calls defense her No. 1 issue and has fought to keep stable, and even increase, the size of the Navy.
One of her pet issues is the "ghost fleet" of dilapidated ships off Newport News. She got $48 million to remove the ships, many with fuel on board, from the James River.
Some environmental groups praise her work on the ghost fleet and the trash industry and her opposition to a reservoir in King William County that critics say would flood 300 acres of wetlands. But the national League of Conservation Voters says that Davis voted the wrong way, in its opinion, on 95 percent of key environmental issues.
Lee doesn't quibble with specific votes, saying his objection to Davis is that she has generally abandoned her constitutional duties.
He also supports the war in Iraq, although he said Congress abdicated its authority by authorizing President Bush to use force rather than formally declaring war.
Like Lee, Davis is against gay civil rights and abortion.
Davis co-sponsored a proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and her Web site touts her introduction of legislation that would require women who go to family planning clinics to get information about adoption. Davis said she wants to pass legislation keeping U.S. servicewomen from having abortions at military-funded facilities.