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Virginia - 11th District

Incumbent -- Gerald E. Connolly (D) ; Running for re-election

Leans Democratic
Race Ratings Key
 

Updated Oct. 14, 2010

Connolly was presumed to be relatively safe after winning this Democratic-trending suburban Northern Virginia district in 2008.

He faces a rematch from last cycle with businessman Keith Fimian, who lost by 12 points that year.

Taxes and spending are big issues in this fiscally conservative district that is one of the nation's wealthiest. That's why Connolly has spoken against the president's proposal to let Bush-era tax cuts expire for those in the highest income brackets. It's hard for Fimian to run on the same anti-Washington message many Republicans are championing, seeing as a quarter of 11th district voters work for the federal government.

Connolly has a large cash-on-hand advantage despite Fimian's personal wealth, and the Republican probably needs help from the national party or outside groups if he's going to upset Connolly. Unless a very large GOP wave develops, the party will spend its time and money on their trio of better opportunities in the commonwealth.

 

District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

Anchored in the suburbs of Washington, the 11th is home to a well-educated, professional and upper-income workforce that boasts the nation's highest median household income (nearly $104,000). Like other nearby suburban areas, the 11th has become more racially and ethnically diverse -- it has the state's largest Asian population (15 percent) and second-highest Hispanic population (16 percent).

Sixty percent of the population lives in Fairfax County (shared with the 8th and 10th districts). The balance lives in Prince William County, a fast-growing area south and west of Fairfax, or in Fairfax city, a separate jurisdiction within Fairfax County. Many residents work in Washington, either for the federal government or for private companies linked to the government. Technology contributes to local economic growth, and Fairfax County's office parks are home to dozens of companies, including energy consulting firm ICF International's headquarters and major facilities for Verizon and Boeing.

Gridlock and the state's longest commute times place traffic congestion at the top of local priorities. Although the 11th tends to lean left on social issues and right on fiscal issues, some residents here are willing to accept tax increases to pay for transportation improvements. Decades of economic growth and the related traffic woes have made telecommuting an increasingly attractive option for area workers. Local officials in Fairfax County suburbs such as Annandale hope to implement smart-growth plans for redesigned surface roads and commercial centers.

The 11th's population and economic growth has made it politically competitive. Barack Obama won 57 percent of the 11th's 2008 presidential vote, but the district only narrowly re-elected Democrat Gerald E. Connolly to the U.S. House in 2010.

Major Industry

Government, technology, service

Cities

Dale City (unincorporated), 65,969; Lake Ridge (unincorporated), 41,058; Burke (unincorporated), 41,055; Annandale (unincorporated) (pt.), 39,362

Notable

George Washington's estate, Mount Vernon, is on the Potomac River in Fairfax County.

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