- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 5, 2005

In Virginia’s 100-member House of Delegates, Republicans hold 60 seats and the Democrats 38, with two independents. But these numbers exaggerate the Republican advantage in Richmond. On the issue of taxes — the most hard-fought issue during the previous session of the General Assembly — the Democrats are virtually united in favor of increasing them. As for the Republicans, while the overwhelming majority in the House of Delegates voted against Gov. Mark Warner’s $1.38 billion tax increase last year, approximately one-quarter of those seeking re-election voted with Mr. Warner and in favor of higher taxes.

It is no exaggeration to say that Tuesday’s election could well determine how the General Assembly splits on taxes and, perhaps, other hot-button issues. With that in mind, The Washington Times focuses on six Northern Virginia races:

• In Prince William County, freshman Delegate Jeffrey Frederick is locked in a close race with Democratic challenger Hilda Barg, a county supervisor. Mr. Frederick, a Republican, has been targeted for defeat by Mr. Warner and by Mrs. Barg — who seems to equate budget reform with raising taxes and pouring more money into the public school system. Mr. Frederick, by contrast, has fought for lower taxes and taken a leadership role on other issues, such as challenging the governor to combat illegal immigration and its effects in Northern Virginia. The Times endorses Jeffrey Frederick for re-election.

• In a district that includes parts of Western Fairfax and Eastern Loudoun counties, Republican Chris Craddock, a youth minister, won a landslide victory over incumbent Republican Gary Reese in the primary. Mr. Craddock, who made the incumbent’s vote in favor of last year’s tax increase a central issue in the primary, is an energetic, young conservative who will be a steadfast leader in fighting for lower taxes and forcing state government to live within its means. His opponent, Chuck Caputo, has been put on the defensive (see www.CaputoTaxHike.com) for a July speech in which he calls for billions of new spending, amounting to more than $1,900 per county resident. The Times endorses Chris Craddock.

• In Fairfax County, Republican David Albo — an 11-year veteran of the House who is line to become chairman of the Courts of Justice Committee — is being challenged by Democrat Greg Werkheiser. A former speechwriter for Mr. Warner, Mr. Werkheiser has received approximately $30,000 in contributions from the governor, and attacks Mr. Albo for opposing last year’s tax increase. Mr. Albo has been a solid leader on taxes and other issues in Richmond. The Times endorses David Albo for re-election.

m Michael Golden, a solid conservative, is locked in a very close race with Democrat Dave Marsden in their Fairfax County district. Mr. Golden is a critic of the Warner tax increase. Two years ago, when Mr. Golden was frustrated with liberal Republican Delegate Jim Dillard’s support for higher taxes and higher spending, he did what no one else had the courage to do: challenge the incumbent in the primary. Mr. Dillard was re-elected, but decided to retire this year. Mr. Dillard has endorsed Mr. Marsden, a liberal-leaning Democrat. The Times endorses Michael Golden.

m In a district that includes parts of Loudoun and Fairfax counties, the governor and Democratic challenger Dave Poisson are seeking to oust the Republican incumbent, Dick Black, a stalwart opponent of tax increases, from the seat he has held since 1998. Mr. Black has been a conservative leader in opposition to abortion-on-demand, homosexual “marriage” and other issues. The Times endorses Dick Black for re-election.

m In a district that includes Fairfax City and parts of Fairfax County, former Fairfax City Mayor John Mason faces Democrat David Bulova. A moderate Republican much like Rep. Tom Davis, Mr. Mason has demonstrated solid leadership. Mr. Bulova has suggested adding a local income tax. The Times endorses John Mason.

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