IN THE past several years, Virginia’s Republican-dominated House of Delegates has passed incendiary social legislation, including new restrictions on abortion and voting. But it also gave its support to a landmark funding measure for transportation that violated conservative precepts against taxes.
On Nov. 5, voters will decide on the future political tilt of the chamber. Beginning today, The Post’s endorsements in Northern Virginia’s contested House races appear in bold type; more will appear in subsequent editions.
To determine your legislative district and candidates on your ballot, go to http://1.usa.gov/1hIuAb.
District 2: As a freshman member of the House, Republican L. Mark Dudenhefer took reliably conservative positions, including some that were over the top; he was one of a handful of lawmakers to speak out against an otherwise highly qualified judicial nominee who happened to be gay. However, Mr. Dudenhefer, a retired Marine who formerly chaired Stafford County’s Board of Supervisors, broke with many in his party — and sided with his constituents — by casting a pragmatic vote in favor of the transportation funding bill. That courageous vote, along with his deep knowledge of local issues, gives Mr. Dudenhefer the edge over Democrat Michael T. Futrell, a likable but inexperienced community activist.
District 10: J. Randall Minchew, a lawyer and freshman Republican who once chaired Loudoun County’s Economic Development Commission, took conservative positions on social issues and even voted to study whether Virginia should develop its own currency as a hedge against financial chaos — a preposterous pet issue for GOP hard-liners. But he was true to his word in supporting higher taxes to fix the state’s broken transportation system. That earns him points for pragmatism and our endorsement over Democrat Monte A. Johnson, a politically inexperienced software developer.
District 13: After more than two decades in the House, Republican Robert G. Marshall has a well-earned reputation as a culture warrior more interested in right-wing doctrine than in his constituents. His contempt for homosexuals is surpassed only by his disregard for women who have abortions; he suggested that God exacts vengeance on women who abort their fetuses by assuring that their next pregnancy will produce a disabled child. His constituents in Prince William County would be much better served by Democrat Atif M. Qarni, a personable public school teacher and former Marine whose plain sense and temperate politics distinguish him from the incumbent.
District 31: Voters in this district, many of them Prince William County residents who suffer the daily commute on Interstate 95, are badly in need of traffic relief. They didn’t get it from the 13-year incumbent, Republican L. Scott Lingamfelter, who opposed the transportation finance measure. Mr. Lingamfelter, who has tormented gays, immigrants and women with his right-wing views, has toyed with the idea of leaving the legislature. His constituents should oblige him. His Democratic challenger, Jeremy McPike, a senior municipal official, is a much better choice — sensible, detail-oriented and unusually well versed in local affairs.