- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 10, 2000

Northern Virginia's three U.S. House seats are safe this year.

How safe?

So safe that none of them has had to flood the airwaves with commercials, as is the case in other races, particularly the U.S. Senate race.

So safe that one has no major party opposition, another is running against the candidate he beat by a 2-to-1 margin in 1998, and the third is running against a default candidate after all the big Democratic names refused to jump in the race.

So safe that one incumbent plans to take time off from his own local campaign to travel the country stumping for other Republican hopefuls.

That man, Thomas M. Davis III whose 11th District covers central Fairfax County and much of Prince William County is also head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to put Republicans in the House through fund raising and recruitment.

His Democratic opponent, M.L. "Mike" Corrigan, is running a shoestring campaign, hoping to topple him but history, experience, name recognition and money are working against him.

Mr. Corrigan's campaign charges that Mr. Davis' leadership role keeps him from doing the business of his own district.

"More and more he's disappearing from the 11th as he goes out to campaign and raise money for other Republicans," said Cristophe Ramandt, Mr. Corrigan's spokesman.

Mr. Corrigan has responded with a slew of campaign signs in the district, and biked, walked and rowed his way around it. Two independent candidates are in the race as well.

Scott Kopple, Mr. Davis' campaign manager, defended the congressman's history of constituent service and pointed to his long record: county supervisor, Board of Supervisors chairman and eventually congressman.

Pundits and even some Democrats agree that Mr. Davis is a good match for his affluent suburban district. He didn't even face a Democratic opponent in 1998.

This year, Mr. Davis has not been shy about engaging Mr. Corrigan in debates and joining him in candidate forums in the district the two will have participated in about a dozen events together by Election Day, Mr. Kopple said.

Frequent debates are also the case in the 8th District, where Demaris Miller is again challenging Democratic Rep. James P. Moran. Mr. Moran beat Mrs. Miller, a retired government worker whose husband, Jim, was budget chief in the Reagan administration, by a 2-to-1 margin in 1998.

Mrs. Miller says things are different this time around.

"Just having a presidential race means more people are paying attention, and nobody needs more attention than a challenger," she said.

And, she said, with the airwaves saturated with Senate race advertisements, any ads run by congressional candidates would be lost among them. That helps challengers like herself and the two independent running.

The heavily Democratic district includes Alexandria, Arlington and eastern Fairfax County.

In Rep. Frank R. Wolf's district, the Republican faces no Democrat, just two independents. The district runs from western Fairfax County out to West Virginia.

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