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Tuesday, December 6, 2022
FairfaxOpinionEditorial: Reps. Connolly, Beyer seem in no peril

Editorial: Reps. Connolly, Beyer seem in no peril

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To borrow from David Bowie, there are some ch-ch-ch-changes to the Northern Virginia congressional landscape, owing to once-every-10-years redistricting.

For starters, we at Sun Gazette opinion headquarters bid farewell to U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-10th). She’s running for re-election, but her sprawling district has been reconfigured to no longer incorportate any of our coverage area.

Wexton’s been a reliable and pliant vote for the Democratic leadership under Nancy Pelosi; no independent streak has she. In our best flight-attendant voice, we say “buh-bye” and wish her the best in her redrawn district, which at one point looked like it might be competitive but now seems safe for Democrats unless the party totally collapses in November.

In the rejiggered 11th District, former Fairfax County Board of Supervisors chairman Gerry Connolly (sometimes obnoxious yet also oddly endearing) is facing no intra-party challenges, and is unlikely to have to break much of a sweat in a district that years back offered Republicans hope but these days – again barring a Democratic collapse – is out of reach for the GOP.

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Which leaves the 8th District, the most inner-suburb-y of the trio, where incumbent Don Beyer is being challenged in the Democratic primary by relative newcomer Victoria Virasingh.

We like Virasingh. She’s got an impressive background for one so relatively young. But thus far, she’s failed to address the elephant in the room: What, exactly, has Beyer done to deserve being toppled?

We quibble at times with some of Beyer’s positions. But we’re realists and recognize that Beyer, and his 8th District predecessor Jim Moran, were faithful stewards of the general political and philosophical leanings of a strong majority of 8th District voters. And while Beyer is not quite as much a retail politician as Moran was, he’s active and visible, and his staff is responsive.

We’re doubtful Virasingh will make much of a splash in next month’s primary; even if some voters go for the new, bright, shiny object du jour, three-quarters can be expected to cast ballots for the incumbent.

That sends Beyer to the general election, where, like Connolly, we’d not expect him to have to break much of a sweat. Demographics of the districts will carry the day.

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