UPDATED: Comment from Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
As political campaigns warm up for the 2010 election season, the race for Virginia's 11th Congressional District is already in high gear.
This week, Republican Keith Fimian accused incumbent Gerry Connolly (D-VA) of trading earmark requests for campaign contributions.
From Mr. Fimian's website, “This is just the latest revelation about Connolly's efforts to apparently pay back contributors with earmarks. Earlier this month my campaign pointed out another case of Connolly submitting earmark requests for contributors, but Connolly has remained silent.“
Congressman Connolly was unavailable for comment, but Mr. Fimian's allegations involve two earmark requests: one for the Virtual Interactive Combat Environment (V.I.C.E.) training system for the Virginia National Guard and one for the Integrated Condition Assessment & Reliability Engineering (ICARE), neither of which were granted.
Fimian has made similar accusations about Congressman Connolly's support for the recently-passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, saying in response to recent television ads thanking Congressman Connolly “It didn't take long for the DNC and labor union bosses to payback Gerry Connolly for his support of their budget-busting big government healthcare takeover. It is clear who Gerry Connolly serves“”apparently anyone who promises him campaign contributions or political favors.“
This advertisement is part of a larger campaign, funded by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) to shore up candidates in vulnerable districts.
AFSCME President Gerald McEntee told Politico, “We're going to let our friends know we are going to be there for them. We expect in three months, the American people will understand the bill and they will be happy and satisfied with it.“
Keith Fimian currently faces a primary showdown with Pat Herrity for the 11th District's Republican candidacy, set for June 8th. Mr. Fimian has been making progress with the government contracting community, hosting a breakfast meeting with business leaders at the Tower Club earlier today.
It's still unclear who will face incumbent Gerry Connolly in November, but the role of government contracting in politics is likely to remain a point of contention.
UPDATE: Comment from Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Jesse Ferguson, Southern Regional Press Secretary at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, had this to say: “Keith Fimian thought indicted former Congressman Rick Renzi was the type of person he wanted to see re-elected to Congress and gave him money.” He continued, “Renzi is now under indictment in a wide ranging Justice Department investigation into corruption, conspiracy and money laundering. If that's the type of leadership and values Keith Fimian thinks should come from Congress, then Northern Virginia families won't let Keith Fimian go to Congress.“