Early one rainy morning, a solitary white-haired figure in a blue blazer stood quietly at the top of the Court House Metro plaza, attracting little notice from the young professionals who passed lugging messenger bags, their iPod earphones firmly in place.
In other areas of Virginia's 8th District, James P. Moran Jr., the seven-term congressman, often is stopped by well-wishers. Not here, in Arlington's metro corridor, where many of those who dwell in its high-rise condos either hardly know their congressman's name or supported his challenger in the spring Democratic primary.
"This is my weakest area," said Moran, 59. "They're newly arrived to the district, and this is an apartment area, not many homeowners. I do think that a lot of them are going to vote, so it's important to spend time with them."
Targeting younger voters is one of several efforts Moran's campaign is making to repair relations with people offended by Moran's conduct and to counter the robust challenge he faced in the Democratic primary. Moran spent more than $900,000 to defeat a relative unknown, Andrew M. Rosenberg.
Opponents have criticized Moran for accepting, among other things, an unsecured $25,000 loan from a drug company lobbyist whose bill he supported. They also cite such incidents as a 1995 shoving match with a colleague on the House floor.
As Moran has tried to reunite the local party, his Republican challenger, Alexandria defense consultant Lisa Marie Cheney, has focused on Moran's past. Her campaign launched an ad this week with a $40,000 media buy on local cable stations.
The ad features a black-and-white photograph of the congressman with the voice-over: "Jim Moran has embarrassed us. He took loans from lobbyists. Was accused of domestic violence. He assaulted a child and has made discriminatory statements."
It concludes with Cheney, 39, joined by her husband and two children at the Alexandria waterfront. She tells voters, "We deserve better than Jim Moran."
Brent Littlefield, Cheney's political adviser, said the ad was intended "to remind people of the choices that they will make on Tuesday. Will they continue to allow this man to commit the actions he's committed or make a choice for an experienced woman?"
Mike Brown, Moran's campaign manager, dismissed the ad as "laughable."
Moran has said he did not abuse his former wife, and no charges were filed after police were summoned to their home after a 1999 domestic dispute. He also has said he did not assault an 8-year-old boy who accosted him in a recreation center parking lot in 2000 and demanded his car keys.
Brown said Moran's campaign is shifting focus this week to get-out-the-vote efforts in the Democratic-leaning district, which includes Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church and Reston.
The Cheney campaign has distributed more than 100,000 campaign brochures.
Running independently is James T. Hurysz, 57, of Arlington, a quality control consultant and Democrat. He has sought to present himself as an alternative for Democrats looking to cast an anti-Moran vote and said he has tried to stay out of the Cheney-Moran sniping.
At the Court House Metro station yesterday, Moran ran into a Democrat who told him she had been out that weekend passing out Kerry-Edwards fliers. "Hey! All right!" Moran said, holding his hand up for a high-five.
Deborah Siegel, 30, an editor and Arlington resident, shook his hand instead and later confided she had cast her absentee ballot for Hurysz. Moran's remarks at an antiwar forum in Reston in 2003 -- suggesting that the Jewish community influenced the decision to go to war with Iraq -- continue to worry many potential voters.
"I'm not the biggest Moran supporter," Siegel said. "The kind of anti-Semitic remarks he's made loomed large for me."
Aileen Winquist, 32, an environmental planner, said she would vote for Moran because of his stance on the environment. "I know he's had some issues, but I've been impressed . . . . He seems to support the environmental initiatives I do."
Gwen Mack, 39, a secretary who attended a campaign forum in Arlington this week, said that although she voted for Moran several times, she would vote for Cheney. "I was looking for a fresh perspective, a fresh take, someone who will look at things differently," she said. "I think it's time."