Virginia's 8th congressional district election, 2010

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Virginia's 8th congressional district election, 2010
← 2008 November 2, 2010 2012 →
  James Moran Official Congressional Portrait.jpg Patrickmurray.jpg
Candidate Jim Moran Patrick Murray
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 116,293 71,108
Percentage 61.01% 37.31%

VA-8th District-109.gif

Representative before election

Jim Moran

Elected Representative

Jim Moran

Virginia's 8th congressional district election, 2010 was an election held to determine who would represent Virginia's 8th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives during the 112th Congress. The seat contested is located in Northern Virginia, and includes part of Fairfax County, the city of Alexandria, and the entirety of Arlington County. The 8th district had been represented by 10-term Democratic incumbent Jim Moran since 1990. Moran was re-elected to an eleventh term in the November 2, 2010 general election with 61% of the vote.[1]


Former mayor of Alexandria and Democratic incumbent Jim Moran had won the 8th congressional district in every election since 1990. The district usually favors Democratic candidates, and was won by Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry in 2004, and Barack Obama in 2008 by margins sometimes approaching twenty points. Moran has defeated every Republican challenger in similarly large victories.

One Democrat, Ronald Mitchell, filed to challenge Moran for the Democratic nomination and raised over $9,000,[2] but failed to collect the minimum number of signatures required to be placed on the ballot[3] and Moran was nominated.[4] The Republican Party nomination was contested by attorney and former Federal Communications Commission general counsel Matthew Berry and retired U.S. Army Colonel Patrick Murray.[5] Several other candidates had announced their intent to run, including 2008 nominee Mark Ellmore, but they all dropped out at different times, leaving the race to Berry and Murray. Murray narrowly won the June 8th Republican primary by a margin of 52%-48%.[6][7]

Independent Green candidate and retired U.S. Navy Captain Ron Fisher was also on the ballot in 2010.[8] He took two percent of the popular vote in 2008, and received 2,700 (1.41%) in 2010.[9]


Democratic nomination[edit]

  • Jim Moran, 10-term incumbent U.S. Representative
  • Ronald Mitchell, failed to collect enough signatures to force a primary with Moran.[3]

Republican nomination[edit]

  • Matthew Berry, attorney and former general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission.
  • Patrick Murray, retired U.S. Army Colonel.
  • Mark Ellmore, the Republican nominee in 2008, announced in November 2009 that he would challenge Moran again. He dropped out of the race in March 2010 and supported Murray.[10]
  • Laurence Socci, dropped out of the race prior to the April filing deadline and supported Berry.[11]
  • Will Radle, left the race before the April 9 filing deadline. Briefly considered running as an Independent, before supporting Murray.[11]


Republican Primary results [12]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican J. Patrick Murray 7,136 51.74
Republican Matthew B. Berry 6,654 48.25
Total votes 13,790 100


Source Dates Administered Jim Moran (D) Patrick Murray (R) Undecided/Other
Pollster unavailable, results via the Washington Post October 2010 58% 31% 11%
McLaughlin & Associates September 2010 45% 32% 23%

General election[edit]


The 8th district election received national attention in October 2010 because of remarks Moran made at a meeting of the Arlington County Democratic Committee on October 6, 2010:

"What [Republicans] do is find candidates, usually stealth candidates, that haven’t been in office, haven’t served or performed in any kind of public service. My opponent is typical, frankly."

Murray told the Daily Caller that the comments insulted veterans and active duty armed service members. "To say military service isn’t public service is startling verbiage," Murray said. "For someone who sits on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee to disparage military service is amazing to me". Moran's campaign responded in a press release that "The point Congressman Moran was making is that Northern Virginia is a region that prides itself on local civic engagement – serving in the PTA, on local boards, working with non-profits to help those less fortunate and also serving in elected office. Because Murray has virtually no ties to our community – moving here a scant 18 months ago in order to run for Congress – it is difficult to see how he can adequately represent Northern Virginia".[13]

Moran defended his performance as a member of congress, saying in an interview with The Washington Post that "The message is that our unemployment rate is half what it is in the rest of the country. We've been judged the best place to ride out the recession... We have the strongest economy in the country, so we don't want to do a whole lot different than what we've been doing." He also attacked his opponent's views on social issues; saying that Murray's opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage was "out of the mainstream in Northern Virginia".[14]

Polling of the campaign suggested that Moran would win in every instance, but the Murray campaign remained hopeful; an internal polling showed Moran leading with 32.3 percent compared with Murray’s 29.7 percent. 30.5 percent were shown to be undecided. A September 22 poll conducted by McLaughlin & Associates found Moran’s support at below 50 percent, with only 42 percent of those polled rating him as good or excellent and 41 percent rating him as fair or poor. "Although he currently leads Patrick Murray on the ballot for U.S. Congress, his favorable rating, job rating and vote share fall short of the thresholds for strong incumbents," pollster John McLaughlin wrote in a memo to the Murray campaign. "Given voters’ dissatisfaction with Jim Moran’s performance as congressman and the current mood of the electorate, Jim Moran is one Democrat incumbent that could be unseated in November."[13]


Candidate (Party) Receipts Disbursements Cash On Hand Debt
Jim Moran (D) $1,312,117 $1,376,173 $424,891 $0
Patrick Murray (R) $446,468 $442,922 $3,546 $45,000
Source: Federal Election Commission[15]


Virginia's 8th congressional district election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jim Moran 116,293 61.0
Republican Patrick Murray 71,108 37.3
Independent Greens J. Ron Fisher 2,704 1.4
Other Write-in candidates 492 0.2
Total votes 233,368 100
Voter turnout 49.0%
Democratic hold

Moran easily won reelection on November 2, 2010; despite Republicans taking over the House of Representatives and several other Virginia Democratic incumbents losing their races. In his victory speech Moran said that "The politics of divisiveness and fear have gained ground on hope. We can make no mistake: the next two years are going to be very difficult". Moran also took a few final jabs at his defeated opponent, saying that the combined “lack of civic engagement” and “extremist Tea Party views” doomed Murray's candidacy.

Patrick Murray left open the possibility of another run in his concession speech: "We fought the best fight that's ever been fought in a very tough district, I think what we have here is a huge movement. So what we did is built a foundation, and we'll be back."


  1. ^ Benton, Nicholas (November 2, 2010). "Moran Claims Victory, Tells Backers 'A Difficult 2 Years Lie Ahead'". Falls Church News-Press. 
  2. ^ FEC Records -- Ronald Mitchell
  3. ^ a b McCaffrey, Scott (April 16, 2010). "In the 8th, GOP Primary Is a Go, Democratic One Is a No". The Arlington Sun Gazette. Retrieved April 16, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Democrats Choose Three For Fairfax Congressional Races". Fairfax County Democratic Committee. Retrieved June 6, 2010. 
  5. ^ Trompeter, Brian (May 25, 2010). "At Convention, 8th District Republican Contenders Take Aim at Moran". The Arlington Sun Gazette. Retrieved June 5, 2010. 
  6. ^ Virginia State Board of Elections Results -- June 8, 2010 Primaries
  7. ^ Lewis, Bob; Stabley, Matthew (June 8, 2010). "Fimian, Murray Take Va. GOP Nominations". WRC-TV. 
  8. ^ Schumitz, Kali (May 19, 2010). "Republicans vie for chance to unseat Moran in election". The Fairfax Times. Retrieved June 6, 2010. 
  9. ^ "November 2, 2010 General and Special Elections Unofficial Results". Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  10. ^ "Ellmore Out of Hunt in 8th District GOP Race". The Arlington Sun Gazette. March 7, 2010. Retrieved March 25, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b McCaffrey, Scott (January 26, 2010). "5 Republicans Now in Running to Challenge Rep. Moran". The Arlington Sun Gazette. Retrieved June 6, 2010. 
  12. ^ "2010 June Republican Primary Unofficial Results". Retrieved June 17, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b Rossamando, John (October 27, 2010). "Is long-time Virginia Democratic Rep. Jim Moran really safe this election cycle?". The Daily Caller. Retrieved November 8, 2010. 
  14. ^ Pershing, Ben (October 18, 2010). "Moran won't stray from winning ways". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 8, 2010. 
  15. ^ "2010 House and Senate Campaign Finance for Virginia". Retrieved February 15, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Official campaign sites