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Virginia - 8th District

Incumbent -- James P. Moran (D) ; Running for re-election

Safe Democratic
Race Ratings Key

Updated Sept. 19, 2010

Moran might have faced some difficult races if he represented a more politically competitive district. Rounding out two decades in Congress, he has a reputation for combativeness and has made a fair number of controversial remarks.

But Democrat Moran represents Virginia's 8th District, a liberal-leaning Democratic stronghold in Virginia's inner suburbs of Washington, D.C. Already quite secure after his first few terms in office, Moran shored up his position by playing an active role the last time the lines were redrawn prior to the 2002 election. And his political strength is reinforced by the seat he holds on the influential Appropriations Committee.

Though the Republican Party has shaken its fists at Moran a few times, it has failed to hold him under 60 percent of the vote in each of his past seven elections. In 2008, he took 68 percent of the vote, just a little less than the 69 percent district residents gave to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Moran will have Republican competition in 2010: Patrick Murray, a retired Army colonel and Iraq war veteran, won the party's June 8 prmary. But there's no indication at this point that the 2010 election will be any different than Moran's usual easy election year.


District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

Taking in the close-in Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, the 8th is mostly upper-income and strongly Democratic -- in no small part because of a racially and ethnically diverse population of blacks, Asians and Hispanics, who together total more than 40 percent of residents, as well as one of the nation's largest number of residents of Arab ancestry.

The 8th bustles with high-tech firms and defense contractors drawn to the district's substantial military presence, including the Pentagon and Fort Belvoir, which received nearly 20,000 new military, civilian and contractor jobs following the 2005 round of base realignments. Employers in the government, defense and technology fields rely on a well-educated workforce, and 60 percent of residents here have a college degree, the second-highest mark in the nation.

Nearly half of the district's residents live in an elongated swath of growing Fairfax County that reaches from the Potomac River, near Mount Vernon (shared with the 11th), past Falls Church and Tysons Corner to Reston. Gridlock plagues the commute into Washington, and local officials are looking to develop areas in the northern arm of the district into more self-contained urban areas.

Alexandria and Arlington tend to give Democratic statewide candidates some of their highest vote percentages. A GOP presidential candidate has not won a majority in either jurisdiction since 1972, and the 8th gave Barack Obama 69 percent of its 2008 presidential vote.

Major Industry

Government, technology, defense, service

Military Bases

Pentagon, 11,000 military, 13,000 civilian (2005); Fort Belvoir (Army), 6,691 military, 14,424 civilian; Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (shared with Washington, D.C.), 7,920 military, 1,374 civilian (2011)


Arlington (unincorporated), 207,627; Alexandria, 139,966; Reston (unincorporated) (pt.), 57,533


The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria was a World War II munitions factory that has been converted into an art school and gallery.




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