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

Friday, June 16, 2006

Feder campaign poll says support for Wolf waning; B2

By Garren Shipley
Daily Staff Writer

WINCHESTER — The 10th District House of Representatives race is going to be a dogfight, according to the Demo-cratic challenger.

And her campaign says it has a poll and fundraising numbers to back it up.

Judy Feder, the dean of Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute, seeks to unseat 13-term Republican Rep. Frank Wolf. The 10th District takes in areas from Winchester to Fairfax County, including places like Manassas and McLean.

Neither Feder nor Wolf faced a primary challenge last week, so the two automatically advance to the November ballot.

It’s going to be a competitive race for the 13-term incumbent, according to Feder’s campaign. An internal poll done for the campaign in May shows the race to be a dead heat.

The poll, done by Benneson Strategy Group in Arlington, asked 401 likely voters whether they’d support Wolf and about their feelings about government in general.

Of those polled, 40 percent said they’d vote for Wolf, while 16 percent said they’d vote to replace him. Some 31 percent said they’d consider someone else, while 13 percent didn’t know.

That’s a bad sign for Wolf, pollster Pete Brodnitz says in a memo to the Feder campaign.

“This is a remarkably low figure for a ... [13-term] incumbent,” he wrote. Coupled with a 58 percent disapproval rate for President Bush, the number makes it tough for a Republican incumbent seeking re-election.

“I think it gives us a positive outlook on the race,” said Feder campaign manager Jessie Bradley. “People are pretty unhappy with the direction of the country, and that’s what was reflected there.”

The candidate herself said she looked forward to running with newly nominated Senate candidate James Webb.

“I’m really excited to be running with Jim Webb as he takes on Senator George Allen,” she says in a written statement.

“I look forward to working closely with him in the 10th District, together holding Congress accountable for allowing President Bush and his friends in the oil industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and other special interests to lead our great country into disaster,” she said.

Feder trails Wolf in total campaign money raised — $687,000 to $385,000 as of May 24 — but she did pull in about $7,000 more than Wolf during the last reporting period.

A spokesman for the Wolf campaign declined to respond to Feder’s remarks, the internal poll or her latest round of fundraising success.

But campaign officials have been quick to point out in the past that some of Feder’s fundraising success is coming from far outside the 10th District.

As of the last reporting deadline, some $37,000 of the campaign’s $356,000 in individual donations had come from ZIP codes in New York state alone, according to Federal Election Commission data.

Election Day is Nov. 7.