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

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Miller brings Senate campaign to Winchester; B1

By Garren Shipley
Daily Staff Writer

WINCHESTER — The Democratic race to face U.S. Sen. George Allen in November came to the Northern Shenandoah Valley on Friday night.

Former technology lobbyist Harris Miller spoke to Winchester Democrats as part of a daylong campaign swing that took him from Norfolk to Winchester via three campaign stops in less than 12 hours.

Miller, of McLean, is opposed by former Secretary of the Navy James Webb, a native of Gate City.

Miller told reporters before his speech there’s a very simple reason to vote for him: “Number one, I can win,” he said. “We need to beat George Allen.”

“I’m a Democrat [that Democratic voters] can count on,” Miller said. “I’ve been a lifelong Democrat. My opponent has been a Republican until recently.”

For his part, Webb gave as good as he got when it came to accusations of GOP leanings — a major occupation for both candidates on Friday.

Webb’s campaign issued a series of statements to reporters, pointing out Miller’s past financial support of some prominent Republicans — including Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., in 2000.

Miller said that’s just a symptom of his profession at the time.

“In my professional capacity, we were a bipartisan organization,” he said. “In my personal capacity, I’ve spent 30 years in the trenches try to elect Democratic candidates.”

A search of Federal Election Commission records late Friday found that Miller has given $43,000 to candidates since 2002, large sums of which went to candidates like Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., and Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill.

An identical search for Webb turned up $520 in donations to two non-candidate political action committees.

“When I was working to re-elect Senator Chuck Robb, my primary opponent was not only endorsing George Allen he was attacking Chuck Robb, a fellow Marine, for not being strong enough on national security,” Miller said. “When I was working hard to continue the Clinton legacy by electing Al Gore, Jim Webb was calling the Clinton administration the most corrupt in modern history and voting for George Bush.”

Getting rid of Allen is what Democrats should be focused on, Miller said.

“I know the issues. You can’t just be a one issue candidate and beat George Allen,” he said.
The end result, Miller said, has to be fixing a malfunctioning government.

“We just have to get rid of the partisan ship. Washington is broken, and George Allen has been a big part of the problem,” he said. “He voted with George Bush last year 97 percent of the time. I’ve been married for almost 26 years, I don’t agree with my wife 97 percent of the time.”

Fixing government means getting the national checkbook balanced, among other things.

“This country’s spending is totally out of control,” he said. “We’re on the verge of bankruptcy as a nation, and this is not good.”

The Democratic primary is June 13.