Word has it that Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerry Connolly is seriously looking at a run for the 11th District congressional seat currently held by Republican Tom Davis. (See "Connolly To Study Run For U.S. House.")
All we can say is RUN, Gerry!
Davis may yet retire from the seat, but no need to wait and see--Connolly would beat him in this year's race. (Davis has many reasons to retire: he had hoped to run for the Senate seat vacated by John Warner, but the closed club of Virginia Republicans, worried they might have a moderate--with a chance of winning--running for the Senate decided instead to fix the process so that conservative former Governor Jim Gilmore (with little chance of winning) would get the nomination instead. In addition, Davis's wife, Jeannemarie, recently lost her Virginia state senate seat in a close election, and Davis knows that his seat, in a demographically Democratic district, is increasingly vulnerable. Davis could make good money in the private sector.)
Connolly is a well-known and popular Democrat in Fairfax County, with a proven ability to raise money. If he runs, he will quickly amass a decent war chest. As we said above, the demographics of Virginia's 11th District have swung dramatically to the Democrats in recent years. If Connolly runs, we think the national pundits who rate these things will quickly put the 11th into the "leans Democrat" column. Connolly could also expect to get financial support from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which will have far more funds to spend than it's GOP counterpart.
The dynamics of the 2008 election also favor Connolly (or frankly, any Democratic candidate in that district). The way things are shaping up, Democratic turnout in Northern Virginia should be strong to support both the Dem nominee for President (whomever it is) and to support Mark Warner's run for the open Senate seat. Virginia Republicans, on the other hand, are demoralized and divided. Jim Gilmore is not going to excite Northern Virginia Republicans, and there's a good chance that whoever the GOP nominates for President will also have weak support.
So, Gerry, go for it!