Connolly Beats Byrne in Virginia Primary

Posted June 10, 2008 at 8:34pm

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerry Connolly beat out former Rep. Leslie Byrne on Tuesday to earn the Democratic nomination — and frontrunner status — in Virginia’s 11th district race to replace retiring Rep. Tom Davis (R). With 80 percent reporting, the Associated Press called the race for Connolly with 57 percent to Byrne’s 34 percent. Though Byrne had received endorsements from several sitting Members of Congress in recent weeks as well as the support of several liberal Virginia blogs, she was unable to overcome the political machine that Connolly has built in the Fairfax County-based district since the mid-90s. Byrne had been seeking to regain the Congressional seat she lost to Davis in her first re-election campaign in 1994. Now that the contentious primary is behind him, Connolly will go on to face Republican Keith Fimian in the November general election. Fimian, a businessman, has very little name identification but he has proved to be a powerful fundraiser. Fimian has raised more than $900,000 since entering the race (including $325,000 in personal loans). According to his pre-primary report, Connolly raised about $654,000 total for his primary campaign, but much more money is sure to flow in now that he’s won the primary in this battleground district.