You may have heard that my congressional representative, Jim Moran is stepping down after serving Virginia's 8th congressional district after 23 years in office. Virginia's 8th district
has been a solidly Democratic district in a sometimes red state. This commonwealth is a swing state. This year the tide changed vastly, as Virginia Elected a Democratic Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General.
Virginia's 8th district carried all three of these officials. Virginia's 8th District represents Arlington County, parts of Fairfax County, and the independent cities of Alexandria and Falls Church. It's highly populated and diverse.
It made sense, then - when Representative Moran made his announcement that he was stepping down - there would many excellent people willing to step into his place and run for office. I personally was surprised to see how many choices we would have.
Charniele Herring: State Delegate
Patrick Hope: State Delegate
Lavern Chatman: Former northern Virginia Urban League chief
Don Beyer: Former lieutenant governor
Adam Ebbin: State Senator
William Euille: Mayor of Alexandria
Derek Hyra: Virginia Tech professor
Mark Levine: Radio talk-show host
And those are just the Democrats. There are three republicans and one libertarian candidate in the race. That will be at least 14 people in our June Primary. A Washington Post
article written in February would read like a bad joke if it weren't accurately describing our choices.
The field of Democrats who want to replace retiring Rep. James P. Moran Jr. in Virginia’s 8th District is nothing if not eclectic: a half-dozen elected officials, three African Americans, two Latinos, a talk-show host, an openly gay state senator and a car dealer who last was on a ballot 17 years ago.
However it does go on to make a salient point.
That leaves Democrats with a rare chance to make a choice about the face they want representing them in Congress — and the direction they want their party to go. But it also makes it harder for a front-runner to emerge. Youth, experience, women’s issues, gay rights: All will be accounted for on the ballot — and all have the potential to splinter the electorate, with no single candidate rising above the field.
We in this District do have a chance to help form the direction we would like to see the national party go. We suffer from a wealth of choices.
Let's compare our district to another 8th District in another swing state. Interestingly, this district elected its representative the same year as Mr. Moran. It's Ohio's 8th
, represented by Speaker of the House John Boehner. It's known that this has long been a solidly Republican district, but it is worth noting something important. In 2012 he ran unopposed in the general election and only had one primary challenger. I'm not saying that the seat could have flipped, but simply focusing on the primary, there was little to no choice except to re-elect Mr. Boehner. I am sure money and redistricting, etc, play a part in these things but the reality is this: this district was not given a choice. It's well-known how Mr. Boehner is funded in some circles.
Our Primary will be held on June 10th of this year. When is yours and do you have a choice? Choice isn't just about lady parts, it plays a vital role in changing this nation. It's what a representative democracy is all about. Bill Clinton is quoted to have said: In primaries you fall in love; in general elections, you fall in line.
It's a wonderful problem to have.