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Sunday, August 24, 2014

11th congressional district: Scholte vs. Connolly

The start of the school year isn’t the only big thing going on after Labor Day; it’s also prime time for the election campaign season.

Here’s a look at the race for the 11th congressional district (which includes parts of eastern, northern and central Fairfax County and eastern Prince William County.) Future posts will cover other races.

The Democratic incumbent, Rep. Gerry Connolly, was first elected to Congress in 2008 after having served as chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for five years and as a supervisor representing the Providence District for nine years.

In Congress, Connolly serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. He has been a strong advocate for federal employees and has focused on technology, services for veterans and military families, protection of parkland, and transportation projects for Northern Virginia.

The Republican challenger, Suzanne Scholte, was selected by delegates to the 11th Congressional District Republican Convention.

Scholte has been president of the nonprofit Defense Forum Foundation for nearly 30 years, focusing on a strong national defense and promoting freedom, democracy, and human rights abroad, particularly in North Korea and the Western Sahara.

Two other candidates are also running: Green Party candidate Joe Galdo, a former official in the U.S. Department of Energy, and Libertarian Marc Harrold, an immigration attorney. Mark Gibson had mounted a campaign as an independent, but failed to attain enough signatures to get on the ballot.

According to Ballotpedia, the Connolly campaign’s cash on hand was $1.7 million and the Scholte campaign had just over $40,000 as of the most recent quarterly report released in April.

During the last congressional election, in 2012, Connolly won with 61 percent of the vote, beating Republican candidate Chris Perkins (35.5 percent), Ballotpedia reports. Galdo also ran, along with four other independents, none of whom got more than 1 percent of the vote.

In 2010, the election was much tighter, with Connolly getting 49.2 percent of the vote and Republican Keith Fimian getting 48.8 percent.

To vote in the Nov. 4 election, you must be registered to vote by Oct. 14.

Voters will need to present a photo ID at the polls. If you don’t, you’ll have to vote on a provisional ballot and will have to bring an acceptable photo ID to the Fairfax County Office of Elections by noon on the Friday following the election to have your vote counted.

This election features new voting machines purchased by Fairfax County that generate paper ballots and an audit trail that should be useful in case of a recount. The new machines will be on display over the next few weeks at locations throughout the county, including the Mason Government Center Sept. 5, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., the George Mason Regional Library Sept. 8, 5-7 p.m., and the Audrey Moore RECenter Sept. 12, 8-11 a.m.

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