The good news, for Republicans attempting to rebuild their brand across Northern Virginia, is that the party’s nominee in the 8th Congressional District, Karina Lipsman, has done a solid job of getting herself in front of the public and articulating views that differentiate herself from incumbent Democrat Don Beyer.
Those efforts, a significant improvement from some iffy candidates the GOP has run in the 8th District in recent times, will perhaps bump up slightly from the 24 percent received by the 2020 Republican nominee (Jeffrey Jordan; we admit we had to look it up). Taking 30 percent from Beyer on Nov. 8 would and should be considered a good night for Lipsman, given the tilt of the 8th District, which includes all of Arlington, Alexandria and Falls Church and portions of Fairfax County.
One key problem for Lipsman, however, is that she’s another in a long line of Republican candidates who seemingly have parachuted in to make the race, and (if past history portends the future) use the campaign to get themselves noticed by the national GOP establishment.
There’s no sin in that tactic, but from an endorsement standpoint, we’d be more likely to give credence to a candidate who has spent some time building civic bona-fides in the district, and is likely to stick around for more than a nanosecond once the votes are totaled.
As for Beyer? Regular readers of this space will probably surmise that we’re not always, or even necessarily frequently, in agreement with some of his policy positions. That said, we acknowledge that (a) he is a serious person who probably is the current gold standard among Northern Virginia’s congressional delegation, and (b) his views certainly align with the significant majority in the district.
Lipsman’s complaints that he’s AWOL in his district don’t ring true; we see Beyer out and about, and while he does tend to limit himself to a few debates each campaign season, that’s the beauty of incumbency in a stronghold district. He sees no need to spend every night making the case to constituents who largely agree with his views.
Lipsman has improved the standing of the GOP in the 8th District by making this run, and we agree with her on many (though not all) issues. Were that the only criterion for our endorsement, she would have it. But there are other factors to consider.
As had been the case since his first race in 2014, we have supported DON BEYER in the general election despite our disagreements with some of his views. And we do so again. He ably represents his constituents in Congress. Teddy Fikre is running as an independent in this race. Like Lipsman, he has an interesting life story, and his views on the issues are worth listening to, but Fikre is unlikely to be much more than an asterisk in terms of vote totals.