In an exclusive post-primary interview with the News-Press this week, Falls Church businessman Donald S. Beyer Jr., the victorious Democratic nominee to replace the retiring Rep. Jim Moran in the 8th District of Northern Virginia this fall, said that Northern Virginia is going to play an even more important role, politically, in the destiny of the nation in the coming years than it has up to this point.
Firing up and getting out the vote in this region this fall will be his primary focus, he said, because even if his chances of winning to become the next congressman from the 8th District in November are excellent, the re-election campaign of Virginia’s junior U.S. Senator Mark Warner will rely even more heavily than usual on margins that can be built up in Northern Virginia, Beyer said.
Holding onto that seat and maybe picking up a seat for the Democrats upon the retirement of Republican U.S. Frank Wolf in the 10th District that runs from McLean to Prince William County will, along with his own election campaign, be Beyer’s focus over the next 20 weeks until the November mid-term elections, he said.
He kicked off the new post-primary phase of his campaign at a “unity” event this Tuesday hosted by the Arlington Young Democrats at the Carpool in North Arlington where he was joined by the two next-highest vote getters in last week’s primary, State Sen. Adam Ebbin and State Del. Patrick Hope.
The theme of the event was obvious: Now that the dust has settled from a long primary that saw 11 candidates initially file and seven fight it through to the end, it’s time for all Democrats in the district to unite behind Beyer’s general election bid, and also the fight for Sen. Warner’s re-election, and a Democratic pick-up in the 10th District behind the candidacy of Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust.
“I am planning to be at just about every event I can over the next 20 weeks,” Beyer told the News-Press. His first goal, he said, will be to “banish complacency.”
“Never trust the conventional wisdom,” he said, noting that it has been 42 years since there was no incumbent seeking the 8th District seat and 24 years since it has changed party hands. “We have to take seriously the Cantor example,” he added, noting that he lives in an era when sudden upsets can occur.
He was especially appreciative of the voter turnout for him in the City of Falls Church, which was a whopping 71 percent even with six other candidates in the field, by far the highest margin in any jurisdiction in the district. His long history as a business leader in the City was not lost on local voters, underscored by the News-Press endorsement of his candidacy.
Beyer said he looks forward to the considerable time he will be spending in the company of Moran in the coming months, too. Moran will continue to serve as the district’s congressman until January and will undoubtedly be attending many of the same events as Beyer.
He said he had a couple of private consultations with Moran during the primary season, and that, in particular, Moran’s staff has been “great” since the primary in helping prepare him for the fall election and holding the office.
But it is clear that Beyer is chafing at the bit to get into the Congress himself. He had insights ready when asked to comment about the degenerating situation in Iraq and what the U.S. should do.
He pointed to the prospects of discussions with Iran over a containment strategy. “Life is long,” he quipped, adding that if now the Iranians “can be useful as friends,” and “can be a positive factor” then so be it. “We cannot let the Isis insurgents sweep through Iraq,” he said, noting that he, himself, opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq since the beginning.
He added that the present Iraqi leadership has to do a better job of bringing Sunnis into its government, rather than upon the fall of the Hussein to go “all or nothing” for a Shiite takeover of the country.
Beyer said that he’s lost the government security clearance he had when he was the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland, a job he relinquished about a year ago. But it’s clear he can’t wait to get it back as a U.S. Congressman so he can plunge headlong into the challenging job of steering the nation in the right direction.