What does Gerry Connolly think is important?

By VA Blogger

I wrote earlier this week a response to the Examiner’s story that “outs” Keith Fimian as a Catholic business owner and wondered if Gerry Connolly really wants to run a cultural campaign. It’s clear Keith Fimian does not, and would rather focus on the issues that matter to VA-11 voters: transportation, the economy, and national security.

In the days since, Fimian’s religion has been brought up by the DCCC (which is helping bankroll Connolly’s campaign), Raising Kaine, and national blogs. Does Connolly agree with his backers that social issues are the most important things to focus on? Or will he step up and demand that this race be about the issues that matter most, as Fimian has?

This is a question of leadership, Chairman. It’s never too early to start.


  • NoVA Scout says:

    Just curious – what religion/denomination is Connolly?

  • VA Blogger says:

    He is described as an Irish Catholic, though it’s not clear to me whether he is active or not.

  • RichmondDem says:

    What, is this 1928 or something? Since when is being Catholic a political liability?

  • NoVA Scout says:

    If Connolly is Catholic, VB, this might suggest that your concern about him attacking Fimian’s Catholic activism is misplaced. This is the second time in a few days you’ve remarked on this. What gives?

  • What does Gerry Connolly think is important?

    That is such an easy question to answer – HIMSELF!

  • Gerry the Hedonist says:

    Gerry Connolly, as an Irish Catholic, is a former seminarian. Additionally, he studied at the now-demolished Mary Knoll college, a Catholic university. His wife Smitty (what a great name) is an ex-nun.

    They must have had some huge fall-out with the Church to believe what they believe now (and to call people against gay marriage “bigots”).

  • NoVA Scout says:

    That’s for sure, LI.

  • GtH, I must also add:

    (and to display such hubris and arrogance).

  • NoVA Scout says:

    GtH: what do they believe now?

  • Dan says:

    Are these posts part of an orchestrated strategy to paint Fimian as a victim who is being attacked for his religious beliefs? If that is the plan it is a pretty weak one.

    I wouldn’t argue the point about Connolly being all about Connolly. There is too much evidence to support that contention. But Connolly is not stupid.

    Connolly has near universal name recognition in the 11th CD. The district is increasingly Democratic in its electoral leanings. The economy is the issue that far and away is the greatest concern of the voters. Polls indicate that voters currently favor the Democrats on economic issues by a very wide margin.

    It would take an amazingly stupid candidate to embark on a “social issues” campaign when he holds all the high cards and the election is all about the economy. Not to mention the illogic of attacking the guy for being a Catholic when Connolly is a mick.

  • VA Blogger says:


    As I made clear, others are attacking Fimian for his faith; namely, the DCCC, national blogs, and local blogs like RK. If Connolly is uncomfortable with his backers (including his national party) attacking Fimian’s religion, he has an obligation to speak up against it. Failure to do so is an abdication of leadership, which sadly would be par for course with Connolly’s tenure.

    Regardless if he speaks out against it or not, Keith Fimian has made it clear that he’s focusing on more important issues. As a constituent of Connolly’s and a voter in the 11th, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask if Connolly will do the same.

  • Fimian needs to get on the stick! I like the guy and think he has a shot, but he really needs to get moving in introducing himself to the general electorate.

  • NoVA Scout says:

    I guess I’m hungering for a real national issue debate in this race and get a little frustrated with phantom issues. Frankly, VB, I don’t think Connolly will even be “tempted” (to use your formulation) to run an anti-Catholic campaign against Fimian. I don’t see anything at all in RK or DCCC that implies that they are egging him on to do so. What I do see is some left-wing rumbling attempting to force Fimian out on his positions on contraception and abortion. So be it. This is pedestrian, typical fare in congressional races in this silly era and I’m sure Fimian can take care of himself on those issues. But I don’t see any real anti-religious angle on this. Both sides know that when Roman Catholic (or, in some cases, other Christian denomination) candidates run for office, it’s possible to trip them up on discrepancies between policy positions and religious doctrine. The most visible example in recent Virginia history was Kilgore’s efforts to tie Kaine to the anti-capital punishment position of the Catholic church. Fimian’s tactic thus far has been to say that the race will not turn on social issues. The Dems are trying to force him to take stands on social issues figuring, probably with some validity, that his personal views on abortion and contraception are fairly out of step with majority opinion in this district. DCCC mentioned gun control in pretty much the same breath and I doubt that issue has any religious content whatsoever.

    So Fimian has a couple of choices. He can continue to take the position that the issues that matter to the voters are transportation, national security etc. or he can mix it up with these guys and try to give as good as he gets. His positions on social issues are, I’m sure, solid and, if he’s afraid they’ll lose him votes in the district, he can just be forthright and say “This is what I believe, I’m not changing it for this or any other election, but I’ll still be a better Congressman than Gerry Connolly.” Either is a legitimate approach, but if he resists addressing some of these social issues that the Dems are prodding him on, he leaves himself open to hostile forces interpreting for the electorate what his views are, rather than being able to formulate them himself.

  • t says:

    Praise God for Fimian’s pro-life position.

  • Moderate R says:

    This type of behind the scenes smear campaign is to be expected by the D trip and the blogs around the 11th. These guys are going to do their best to paint Fimian as an extremist, and out-of-touch. They know he’s outraising them in cash, and they’re trying to force him to blow his cash advantage on bio ads defining himself before they can do it for him. It’s a typical strategy in a race like this, where one candidate has 90%+ name id and the other doesn’t.

    If it weren’t this group Keith belongs to, they’d find something else. It’s funny how around election time the NRA, the Masons, the Knights of Columbus, the Federalist Society and others all become “extremists” groups. If it weren’t one thing, it’d be another.

  • novamiddleman says:

    Va Blogger
    Don’t really see where this is going.

    Trying to pin Connolly to what bloggers do is a pretty weak argument I would actually susupect that more from the RK kids

    It doesn’t suprise me that the RK kids and national blogs would pick up on the story because that is what they do. (See the enitre Feder campaign for an example)

    Unfortunatly the Connolly campaign is alot smarter, actually knows the district, knows most people could care less about blogs (and will therefore ignore all the blogs), and will run the kind of campaign that they want.

  • Gerry the Hedonist says:

    True dat, LI.

    Its obvious that Gerry’s beliefs are those that do not follow Catholicism’s social traditions, nor do they fall in line with a Biblical lifestyle…this is obvious from his positions on family, life, and ethics (I am no conspiracy theorist – but I think he has been very cautious about getting caught in his relationships with developers in this area).

    I am more concerned that he is now fighting for ideals that are against his religious beliefs.

    If that is not hypocrisy, then I’m not sure what is.

    I’m sure our Mormon friends (very many of which are die-hard Republicans) feel similarly over Harry Reid (who, as you might have guessed, is Mormon)…

  • NoVA Scout says:

    I was kind of hoping for specifics, GtH. As an amateur theologian, these things interest me immensely. You say they are “obvious.” Some of us aren’t in on it. What part of ChairGer’s lifestyle is out of synch with a “Biblical lifestyle”? What ideals is he “fighting” for that are contrary to his religious beliefs? (BTW – I’m very leery of any politician who advertises himself as “fighting for” anything unless he’s in uniform, armed and in a theatre of combat operations. Unfortunately, every 25 year old copy editor in Virginia of either party seems to think it mandatory that direct mail talk about “fighting for” this or that. I don’t want a fighter representing me in Congress. I want a persistent persuader who can master facts, has sound analytical skills, can hire and retain bright staff, and who can, through wit, wisdom, humor, cajolery, coalition-building and/or horse-trading, get something done that make the country better).

  • Dan says:

    NoVA Scout,

    Bless you for stating so clearly the attributes needed by an effective Congressman. We could use far more who fit your description and far fewer of the showboating nincompoops.

  • NoVA Scout says:

    Dan: thanks. sorry about falling short on subject-verb agreement. not really a grammar failure – more a fast typing moment.

  • NoVA Scout says:

    Hey look, Virtucon is falling for it, too. Sounds like Talking Points Gone Wild.

  • […] seen this before, in the socially-liberal DC suburbs when Gerry Connolly refused to take a position on anything (a smart move, given his status now as the most partisan Virginian Congressman), while the DCCC […]

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