Republicans overwhelmingly chose local economist and environmental consultant Charles Hernick to challenge Rep. Don Beyer (D) for Virginia’s 8th District congressional seat this fall.
The delegates to the party’s district convention Saturday nominated Hernick with 78 percent of the vote, spurning Michael Webb, a former Army officer.
Hernick said Monday that Beyer “is not in touch with what the people are focused on — transportation is a huge issue and Metro is going to need more money . . . but Metro should expect additional oversight proportional to the additional funding.”
He also said federal employees need better information technology because Metro’s recently announced repair work will “tax our ability to keep the federal government open.” Between blizzards that close down federal operations and days-long or weeks-long Metro shutdowns, federal employees need both the infrastructure and software to keep working, he said.
Hernick, a first-time candidate who has raised about $18,000 to Beyer’s $1.3 million, said he won’t match the incumbent’s campaign funds but hopes to raise enough to get his message out. He just released his first campaign ad on YouTube.
“People are attuned to this election cycle,” because of the lively Republican presidential primary, Hernick said. Likely Republican nominee for president candidate Donald Trump will have to “earn my vote,” Hernick said, because he did not support Trump in the primary, he said. But he added that both he and Trump are focused on changing the culture of Washington and getting things done.
Beyer said Monday that he intends to run a robust campaign, and treat Hernick with respect. He noted that Hernick’s website indicates he is for immigration reform and tackling climate change, topics on which Beyer said they appear to agree.
“Conventional wisdom says this is a Democratic seat, but conventional wisdom is often wrong so I’m taking nothing for granted,” Beyer said. Hernick’s charge that Beyer is not paying enough attention to transportation and Metro is “silly,” Beyer said, pointing out that he has had multiple discussions with Metro’s leaders and public statements on the issues.
The district includes all of Arlington County, Alexandria and Falls Church and a portion of Fairfax County.