Newspaper article Roll Call

Northern Va. Dems Opt for Nominating Convention for Wolf Seat

Newspaper article Roll Call

Northern Va. Dems Opt for Nominating Convention for Wolf Seat

Article excerpt

Northern Virginia Democrats are utilizing a nominating tactic more commonly associated with state Republicans to choose the party's nominee in a nationally targeted district.

Seeking to bolster its chances at winning the open 10th District seat, the local party decided last weekend to choose a nominee by convention rather than a primary. The rare move limits the number of people who will decide the party's general election candidate and moves up the nomination process by nearly two months.

Party leaders in Virginia's 10th Congressional District Democratic Committee hope the earlier date and limited universe of voters will allow their eventual nominee to avoid a costly primary and instead focus on the November general.

"Our committee had a very thoughtful conversation about this, and we just feel very strongly that we need a nominee as soon as possible, and we need to help our eventual nominee conserve resources," said Charlie Jackson, chairman of Virginia's 10th District Democratic Party. "Whoever our nominee is can conserve those resources so we spend them in a general election and not against ourselves."

Conserving resources for the general will be paramount in the 10th, which has been held by retiring Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., for more than three decades. The suburban and exurban district resides within the Washington, D.C., media market, where TV airtime comes at a premium.

A number of Democrats are vying for the seat, and more could enter before the March 27 filing deadline. But local and national Democratic operatives are coalescing around Fairfax County Commissioner John Foust. Those operatives say that holding a convention in early spring -- rather than the regularly scheduled June 10 primary -- will give Foust the best shot against whoever emerges from the GOP field.

Foust, who entered the race a week before Wolf's Dec. 17 retirement announcement, raised $217,000 in the fourth quarter. He far outpaced two other Democrats in the race, attorney Richard Bolger and architect Sam Kubba.

"I think if you saw a number of folks running for this seat and they were viewed to be competitive and had strong candidacies, I imagine a primary would have been picked," said one local Democratic operative. …

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