Republicans have chosen a former U.S. judge to take on incumbent Rep. Gerry Connolly for Virginia’s 11th Congressional District this fall.
Jim Myles received the party’s nomination on Saturday (May 7) following a four-round canvass that started with five candidates. He won with 959 votes: 59% of the vote.
“I’ve certainly reached out individually to each of the other candidates to thank them,” Myles said. “I was very fortunate to win, and I certainly respected all of them.”
Myles, 62, thanked his family, friends, and supporters, noting that people stood in the rain with signs during the canvass.
Energized by Glenn Youngkin’s gubernatorial win in November, Myles decided to seek office after retiring as a federal judge in December after three decades in the public sector. Friends and neighbors encouraged him to pursue the seat.
“Jim Myles has spent his entire life in public service, from defending the nation in the Air Force to adjudicating cases as an administrative law judge,” Mike Ginsberg, the GOP’s 11th District Committee chairman, said in a statement. “Now he is stepping up to serve again at a critical time in our nation’s and district’s history.
Ginsberg said Myles is uniquely positioned to speak to key issues at a time of rising inflation and economic insecurity.
“As a parent of a Fairfax County Public School student, he understands the need for quality schools focusing on education, not ideological indoctrination,” Ginsberg said.
Myles said his top concerns include inflation, crime and prosecutorial policies that he views as overly lenient, energy independence, drugs and immigration.
“I think there’s just a fear that the radical left has kind of taken over,” he said. “I think a lot of people are really scared about inflation, crime, the border, our schools. Everything is just getting really difficult.”
He said Congress should hold hearings on remote learning during the pandemic to determine how isolation and face mask requirements affected students.
“The effect was just very devastating for children,” he said. “We could conduct hearings on that and examine exactly what happened to make sure that doesn’t happen again — because students suffered.”
Myles’s past public-sector experience includes working at the Social Security Administration for roughly 20 years and as a U.S. judge for over a decade.
He also had a fellowship in 2009, working as a Republican staffer on the House Ways and Means’ Social Security subcommittee. Myles said the experience helped him show just how difficult it is to enact legislation.
His opponent, incumbent Gerry Connolly, has represented the 11th District in Congress for 13 years and chairs the government operations subcommittee for the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Connolly had $3.7 million in cash as of the last quarterly filing.
Myles’s campaign had nearly $12,000 as of mid-April, mostly consisting of donations he made. He said the GOP is now unified and has already seen an outpouring of support.
Photo via Jim Myles for Congress/Facebook
County Libraries to Resume Standard Hours — Fairfax County Public Library will once again open its eight regional branches seven days a week, and its 14 community branches on Mondays, effective this Sunday (April 3). The system truncated its hours starting in January due to the surge in COVID-19 cases and high staff vacancies. [FCPL]
Omicron Subvariant Identified in Fairfax County Patients — “BA.2 is now estimated to be responsible for about one in three COVID-19 infections in the country and one in five COVID-19 infections in Virginia. While BA.2 appears to be more contagious and can spread faster, it is not known to make people sicker.” [Fairfax County Health Department]
County Commonwealth’s Attorney Responds to Miyares Criticism — “The two powerful men have been in a feud for months. Attorney General Jason Miyares is pushing for tough-on-crime policies, while [Steve] Descano campaigned on ending mass incarceration and reforming the criminal justice system.” [ABC7]
“Coming to America” Restaurant Planned for Springfield — “Starting in May, shoppers at the Springfield Town Center can stride through the golden arcs of McDowell’s and order a Big Mick — a burger that is totally different from that other sandwich, thank you very much, because the buns don’t have seeds.” [Washingtonian]
Falls Church Approves Founders Row Part II — “The Falls Church City Council approved yet another large scale mixed use project for its downtown corridor Monday night, by a 5-2 vote giving a final OK to what has become known as the ‘Founders Row 2‘ project that will fill the space at the now vacant Rite Aid and the carpet store at the corner of W. Broad and S. West St.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Congress Members Concerned about Silver Line Phase 2 Delays — “U.S. Reps. Jennifer Wexton (D), Don Beyer (D) and Gerry Connolly’s letter to MWAA came a day after Paul Wiedefeld, the CEO and general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, said unresolved issues…are preventing a declaration of operational readiness.” [Patch]
Capital One Partners with MLB — “McLean’s Capital One Financial Corp. is Major League Baseball’s new official banking and credit card partner. Capital One announced the multiyear deal Monday…Terms were not disclosed, but reports have pegged it as a $125 million deal for MLB over five years.” [Washington Business Journal]
Reston Library to Host First Responders on Saturday — “Join us as we celebrate the brave men and women who rush to emergency situations every day to take action when disaster strikes. Meet our local firefighters as they showcase the equiptment used for respond to emergencies. 11am-2pm at Reston Library.” [FCPL]
Local Students Compete in Special Olympics — “Congratulations to the Madison Special Olympics Unified Basketball Team who competed in their first Special Olympics this weekend at Marshall HS.” [James Madison High School/Twitter]
It’s Wednesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 56 and low of 36. Sunrise at 6:57 a.m. and sunset at 7:31 p.m. [Weather.gov]
Fairfax Station Doctor Sentenced for Fraud — Physician Leonard Rosen was sentenced on Friday (March 18) to two years of probation, with six months of at-home confinement for his involvement in an $8 million fraud scheme where doctors prescribed expensive drugs to patients in exchange for bribes from pharmacists. [The Washington Post]
Connolly Announces Reelection Bid — “On Thursday, March 17, during his 28th annual St. Patrick’s Day Fete, held online, [Rep. Gerry] Connolly announced he would seek reelection to represent Virginia’s 11th Congressional District…The newly-drawn 11th District lies within the boundaries of Fairfax County…and includes Tysons, Fairfax City, Chantilly, and Reston.” [Potomac Local News]
Georgetown Pike Lane Closure Starts Today — “Great Falls: On Mon 3/21-Fri 3/25 for several hours beginning at 9AM daily, Georgetown Pike (Rt 193) will be down to one lane on the Difficult Run bridge for ongoing pedestrian crossing work. Crews will continue to stage in the @fairfaxparks lot.” [VDOT Northern Virginia/Twitter]
McLean Neighborhood Installs License Plate Readers — “Due to the fact that some high-profile people live in the area, FOX 5 is not disclosing the location to respect their privacy. Residents like Phil Horvitz, who is also an HOA board member, have been rattled after seeing an increase in crime, so they installed three high-tech license plate reader cameras.” [FOX5]
Person Assaulted with Pipe in Lincolnia — A person waiting for a rideshare vehicle in the 6200 block of Little River Turnpike on March 14 was assaulted with a metal pipe by a man who got out of an unknown vehicle. The victim was transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, and police say it doesn’t appear to have been a random act. [FCPD]
Fairfax County Firefighter Develops Behavioral Health Program — “A daily routine immersed in life-or-death situations can take a mental toll on first responders, and ‘The Mental Mayday’ program teaches members of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department in Virginia how to ask for help. It was developed by 10-year veteran of the department Lt. Adam Bartman.” [WTOP]
Fairfax Station Park to Get New Playground — “The Fairfax County Park Authority will soon begin the Popes Head Park playground replacement project, which will require closure of the playground during the construction period. Contractors will be mobilizing on site shortly, with active construction activities beginning at the end of March 2022.” [FCPA]
McLean Citizens Association Changes Presidents — “Scott Spitzer, who has served as MCA First Vice President, was elected President to replace Rob Jackson. He said, ‘Rob Jackson’s deep knowledge of community issues, his wisdom and guidance, and his repeatedly answering the call to serve MCA and our community will be missed by all of us. We thank him for his exceptional public service.'” [MCA]
It’s Monday — Clear throughout the day. High of 65 and low of 40. Sunrise at 7:12 am and sunset at 7:23 pm. [Weather.gov]
(Updated at 8:45 a.m.) Car Crash Closes Old Dominion Drive — “Old Dominion Dr is closed between Balls Hill Rd & Mottram Dr in McLean, likely for several hours. A car crashed into a utility pole. No injuries. Please avoid the area while crews work to repair the pole.” [FCPD/Twitter]
Judge Denies FCPS Request to Keep TJ Admissions Process — “A federal judge has denied the request of Fairfax County Public Schools for a stay of his order invalidating the admissions system at prestigious magnet school Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, marking another serious blow for Virginia’s largest school system.” [The Washington Post]
Reston Shooting Still Unsolved — “It’s been one year since 40-year-old Santos Antonio Trejo Lemus died from gunshot wounds he received while walking near his home in Reston’s Winterthur Apartments. To date, no one has been charged in Lemus’ homicide.” [Patch]
Rep. Connolly Tests Positive for COVID-19 — “This morning, I tested positive for covid. I am mildly symptomatic and will be self-isolating. Fortunately, I’m vaxxed and boosted. This pandemic isn’t over yet so if you haven’t gotten your booster yet please do.” [Gerry Connolly/Twitter]
Person Injured in Shooting at Springfield Residence Inn — A driver shot at occupants of another car in the hotel parking lot at 6412 Backlick Road around 7:06 a.m. on March 8, according to the most recent police weekly recap. One person was hit and taken to the hospital for injuries not considered life-threatening. [FCPD]
GW Parkway Construction Closes Turkey Run Parking Lot — “The National Park Service is imposing a temporary closure of parking lot C-2 and partial closure of parking lot B at Turkey Run Park as a part of the project to rehabilitate the north section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The dates of the closure are March 14, 2022, until further notice.” [NPS]
Former Vienna Mayoral Candidate Runs for West Virginia House — “Pasha Majdi, who served on the Vienna Town Council for six years before making an unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2020, is running for office again — in his new state of residence, West Virginia. Majdi is seeking the Republican nomination to run for the 100th District seat in the West Virginia House of Delegates.” [Sun Gazette]
Reston Real Estate Company to Expand — “Fast-growing Reston real estate firm Verity Commercial has received a ‘significant investment’ to drive its expansion into new markets. The firm…received an undisclosed amount from Germany-based RSBG Global Cos. through its San Jose-based subsidiary, Vela Tech Holding Inc.” [Washington Business Journal]
Baby Pigs Born at Frying Pan Farm — “Nike, a year and a half old Hampshire Cross sow, delivered her first litter of piglets on February 24. For her first time, she acted like a pro and delivered in less than two hours.” [Fairfax County Park Authority/Facebook]
It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 57 and low of 31. Sunrise at 7:23 a.m. and sunset at 7:16 p.m. [Weather.gov]
The field of contenders for the 11th District Congressional race is widening.
Republican Matthew Chappell has thrown his hat into the ring, giving the GOP its first primary with multiple candidates since Democratic incumbent Rep. Gerry Connolly took office in 2009.
Father of three children with wife Jacqueline, Chappell is a U.S. Army veteran who worked in counterintelligence and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has also worked as a police officer and a national security advisor with the Department of Defense.
Chappell says he decided to run for Congress after the U.S. pulled troops out of Afghanistan in August. While he conceded that the withdrawal likely couldn’t have been handled better under a different president, Chappell feels that Afghans and American soldiers were left behind and promises made had been broken.
“I have Afghan people messaging me daily on WhatsApp and my email. They’re interpreters and people who helped run infrastructure on our bases and they’re terrified for their lives,” Chappell said. “They expected something from us and we didn’t deliver. It hurt me and I’ve lost friends there.”
After his eight-year tenure in the Army, Chappell spent three years as a police officer in Georgia. His interest in the profession came in part from his stepfather, who was a police officer and instilled in him a dedication to helping others and commitment to public service.
Rather than let the job’s challenges wear him down, Chappell focused on the benefits of being a policeman, such as interacting with the community. It also enabled him to address issues like domestic violence, which he and his mother experienced when he was young.
That experience also inspired Chappell’s support for the right to bear firearms.
Chappell says he has no hesitation about calling out bad cops that target minorities and make racist comments.
“I saw a lot of police officers who care and did what they could to help people and I met officers who should have never been allowed to wear the badge,” he said. “I’ve worked with people who weren’t doing it for the right reasons, and I’ve stood at the forefront of calling these people out.”
Chappell is also concerned about the mental health of veterans and improving health care at the Veterans Association. He says he has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and has had friends die by suicide due to PTSD.
Chappell joins Democrat Ally Dalsimer in seeking to unseat Connolly. Dalsimer similarly criticized the incumbent’s record on war and claimed he has neglected constituents, especially the LGBTQ community.
“He doesn’t listen to people,” Chappell argues. “We have a very large LGBT community here in [Northern Virginia] and he doesn’t do anything for them. I’m one of the few, especially on the Republican side, that want to help that group.”
Chappell added that he opposes letting transgender people participate in single-sex sports teams but supports their right to transition.
Chappell’s views on other issues, such as abortion and education, can be found on his website.
Fairfax County voters will have at least one primary on their hands in this year’s midterm elections.
Ally Dalsimer, an environmental advocate whose experience includes work under the Obama administration, is campaigning against Rep. Gerry Connolly for Virginia’s 11th District seat, which represents most of Fairfax and Prince William counties.
Dalsimer kicked off her candidacy in June but is now ramping up her campaign, with a virtual meet-and-greet on Sunday (Feb. 6), where she hopes to be able to talk to the public and listen to their concerns.
“I would just like the chance to talk to the people, tell them my thoughts and what I can do for them. And I want to hear back from them, questions, comments, the issues they’re concerned about,” Dalsimer told FFXnow.
Dalsimer believes her professional and personal experiences have prepared her to serve in Congress as someone willing to reach across the aisle.
The daughter of a Scottish immigrant mother and a father in the U.S. Foreign Service, Dalsimer and her family spent time living in Central and West Africa before moving to Northern Virginia when she was 8.
She credits those experiences abroad with teaching her the value of respecting other’s differences and embracing other cultures, a message that she hopes to carry through efforts like her campaign sharing resources for the Afghan refugees.
“At the end of the day, in spite of the small differences between us, we’re all just people,” Dalsimer said.
Dalsimer’s career in environmental preservation began at a nonprofit foundation after she graduated from Georgetown University with a master’s degree in public policy, environmental law, and economics.
From there, she went on to manage the Department of Defense’s Natural Resources Program, co-found several national conservation initiatives, and implement policy changes for natural resources while serving on the White House Climate Council under President Barack Obama.
In addition to the environment, Dalsimer is passionate about health care, particularly after losing her husband to cancer in 2015, mere days before his 52nd birthday.
While her husband had health insurance, Dalsimer is aware that there are others who aren’t as lucky, especially after the historic job losses triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. She supports the single-payer, universal health care system touted by progressives like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“I don’t think anyone should be left without any way to get medical help just because they lost their job,” said Dalsimer.
Dalsimer also cites war as a subject she wants to tackle if elected. Her legislative goals include a law that would prohibit corporations from profiting from the sale of weapons and equipment meant for war.
“It’s one thing to sell an airplane for the purposes of travel and profit from the sale, that’s fine. That’s the free market,” Dalsimer said. “But to sell a plane meant for war and to gain a profit from it is just wrong in my view.”
Dalsimer says her interest in running for Congress grew out of the tumultuous events of 2020, including the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests in response to George Floyd’s murder, as well as the Trump administration’s actions on the environment, such as the dissolution of the White House Climate Council.
After watching “Knock Down The House,” a 2019 documentary that followed four women running for Congress, Dalsimer got her son’s support to run for office and spent the next six months asking her neighbors and county residents for their opinion of her potential campaign.
She says the response was positive, especially since those she talked to were less than positive about Connolly.
“He’s against universal health care, and said he’d never vote for it,” she said. “He’s allowed corporations to profit from the sale of weapons of war, and there are those in the LGBTQIA+ community who say he hasn’t done anything for them.”
FFXnow contacted Connolly’s office for comment but did not get a response by press time.