The Northern Virginia Daily's Political Depot

A service for our readers outside the Northern Shenandoah Valley... a sampling of The Daily's political coverage, plus unofficial, 'reporter's notebook' stuff. And occasional dry humor...

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Location: Strasburg, Virginia

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Candidates’ money race in 10th Congressional District comes in close; A1

By Garren Shipley
(Daily Staff Writer)

They’re off and running. And raising funds.

With more than half a year until Election Day, the money race in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District is a relatively close affair.

Incumbent Rep. Frank Wolf, a Republican from Vienna, finished the first quarter of the year with more than $451,000 in the bank, having raised $605,000 during the 2005-06 election cycle.

His major party challenger, Democrat Judy Feder, wrapped the reporting period with $268,000 on hand, having raised $289,000 since declaring her candidacy in January.

Libertarian Wilbur Wood of Berryville is also running, and has raised just less than $3,000.

Feder, the dean of Georgetown Public Policy Institute and a former Clinton administration official, represents the second Democratic challenge to the 13-term incumbent in as many elections.

While she doesn’t have as much money in the bank as Wolf, Feder said she’s pleased with the results so far.

“It does take a lot of money to mount a campaign, particularly in this district,” she said. Northern Virginia, together with Washington, is one of the state’s most expensive media markets. Advertising in the region was one of the major expenses in last year’s $47 million gubernatorial race.

“It is a lot of money,” she said, but people have donated for “the same reason we’ve seen changes in the elections in the district. We’ve seen the election of people like [Gov. Timothy M.] Kaine, [Del. David] Poisson, [D-Sterling] and [Sen. Mark] Herring, [D-Leesburg].”

“People want change, and I think the response I got shows that people really want a commitment” to change, she said. “The voters in the district are not happy about the people they elect not paying attention to the problems they’re facing on a daily basis.”

Neither Wolf’s campaign nor congressional office returned requests for comment on Monday.
The 10th District isn’t Virginia’s largest, but it is one of the most diverse.

From its far eastern points in McLean and Manassas, the district takes in Northern Virginia bellwether Loudoun County, along with northern Fauquier County before heading back to Front Royal, Winchester and Frederick County.

Neither candidate calls the Northern Shenandoah Valley home. Feder hails from the eastern anchor of the district, McLean.

Most of the Democrat’s money has come from individual donations — $265,000 — including a number from outside Virginia. Wolf has slightly more from individuals in campaign finance terms, $383,000, but has come up with an additional $215,000 from political action committees.

Employee groups from Microsoft, Motorola and Siemens have donated thousands to the campaign, as have the National Association of Realtors and the National Weather Service Employees PACs.

Feder doesn’t have Wolf’s PAC power behind her, but she has logged some $16,000 in donations from groups like New Leadership for America, the PAC of former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., along with Our Common Values, a PAC associated with Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., a former aide to President Clinton.

All three candidates for the U.S. Senate from Virginia are also off raising money.
According to unverified reports from both campaigns, Northern Virginia businessman Harris Miller leads former Secretary of the Navy James Webb. The two will face off in a Democratic primary in June.

Miller’s campaign reports a war chest of $398,000, while Webb has somewhere around $260,000. Both men trail far behind the Republican they hope to oust, U.S. Sen. George Allen.

Allen, anticipating a challenge from former Gov. Mark R. Warner that never came, built his war chest for years. By the end of 2005, Allen had raised some $6.8 million for his Senate campaign, and had $6.2 million left in the bank.

Election Day is Nov. 7.