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Last month we asked the four candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, Eighth District of Virginia, to write a sub-750 word essay describing why the county’s residents should vote for them on Election Day (Nov. 6).

Here is the unedited response from Patrick Murray (R):

Although Jim Moran can point to a number of accomplishments in his thirty plus years as an elected official in Northern VA, his tenure has also been haunted with repeated instances of divisive language and questionable ethics, largely self inflicted. Despite the latter, Jim’s 8th District seat has always been considered “safe,” owing to the majority of Democrats who live here. I get that, probably better than most having run twice now for this seat.

The favorite question I get from members of the media is “Why are you doing this?” The answer is that I want to put people over partisanship and forge bipartisan solutions so that we can move this country forward.

I don’t seek big government or small government; I seek good government. I have taken no oaths or pledges other than the one I took to support and defend the Constitution when I joined the Army in 1985.

I want to balance our budget, but not on the backs of government employees and veterans. I do not support amnesty for illegal immigrants, but I do believe we need a solution toward residency their children who find themselves here through no fault of their own. I am a pro-Life individual who also finds the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional.

I’ve met President Obama and find him to be a good man who wants the best for America but whose policies I differ with. If he is reelected I will be the first to volunteer to work with him to find solutions that move America forward. I’m not interested in playing politics; I’m interested in solving problems.

Jim Moran has done some good things for our District, but as can happen when someone’s tenure extends too long, his actions attest to the fact that his head and his heart are no longer in his work. He is missing votes at double the rate of all other Members of Congress despite representing the District next door to Washington, DC. He has been completely absent on the critical issue of Sequestration even though our District will be among the hardest hit in the entire nation. Given this issue and many others, he has not even bothered to hold a town hall meeting for his constituents in almost 600 days.

Now Jim Moran is embroiled in a highly disturbing voter fraud scandal, with two (as of now) separate criminal investigations probing his campaign. Enough is enough. Jim has had his turn, but it is time to move on. I intend to put people over partisanship; to do that, I need your vote on November 6th.

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As predicted, retired Army colonel Patrick Murray is preparing for an electoral rematch with Rep. Jim Moran in 2012.

Murray has announced that he will again seek the Republican nomination in the upcoming Virginia 8th District House of Representatives race. After losing to Moran by a final vote of 61 percent to 37 percent in 2010, Murray is pulling no punches in his criticism of the ten-term Democratic congressman.

Murray sent the following email to supporters last night.

Today I’m announcing my candidacy for US Congress in the 8th Congressional District of Virginia. This decision to run for a second time took much soul-searching, thought and prayer. Campaigns are a crucible, but, just as with my military service, this is a matter of duty for me. If I thought our nation was on the right track, that we had leaders who were governing with the Constitution and our children in mind, that we were secure and prosperous, then I would happily pursue other goals.

But we are not on the right track, and I’m willing to bet that you agree with me. In fact, our nation is losing its way, largely because of bad decisions made in Washington, DC. With $15 trillion in federal debt, we are handing our kids and grandkids a bill they can’t pay, yet out-of-control spending continues unabated. The only thing being cut is Defense, which is one of the few things that, in accordance with our Constitution, we should be ensuring for. The economy is stagnant. Unemployment is soaring. Meanwhile my opponent Jim Moran, who likes to call Republicans the “Taliban,” is focused on keeping just one job: his own. And here in Northern Virginia our traffic debacle has somehow gotten worse, especially with the mammoth new Mark Center building (supported by Moran) opening for business on I-395.

Hyper-partisanship. Traffic Gridlock. Out-of-control spending. Or as I prefer to call it: “Jim Moran’s playbook.”

When I joined the Army some 26 years ago I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution – there is no statute of limitations on that oath. So I told myself that I could sit around and complain about it or I could roll up my sleeves and try to fix the problems and find a way back to who we are. And that’s what I intend to do.

Winning will not be easy. I am a decided underdog in a tough Congressional District running against a career politician who is very good at bullying, intimidation and self preservation. That’s the bad news.

On the flip side, there is much to be optimistic about. In 2010 when I ran, I started at ground zero, freshly out of the Army with no campaign experience, no name recognition and only a handful of supporters. Well, I’m very proud of what we accomplished; over 72,000 people voted for me, we raised a substantial amount of money, and we had legions of energetic volunteers out knocking doors, making phone calls, putting out signs and stuffing envelopes. Now we have that firm foundation to stand upon, and redistricting should also help our side. Combine all of that with Party backing and a dynamic, professional campaign team with national experience and a solid record of winning difficult races in tough Districts and we are light years ahead of where we were last time.

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Even more local, state and national Republican stars are lining up to help congressional candidate Patrick Murray raise money for his campaign to defeat incumbent Jim Moran.

Former presidential candidate Sen. John McCain headlined a private fundraiser in Alexandria on Monday.

Next week, on Tuesday night, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) will attend a private fundraiser. Two days later, former Arlington School Board Chairman Dave Foster will be the special guest at a Murray reception at a house in Arlington.

And on Tuesday, Oct. 5, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will attend a breakfast fundraiser for Murray at Army Navy Country Club.

For his part, Moran is bringing in former vice president and climate change activist Al Gore for a fundraiser at a private home in Reston on Sunday.

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Republican congressional candidate Patrick Murray is calling on one of his party’s biggest names to help with fundraising.

Murray, facing a steep uphill battle in his fight to unseat incumbent Democratic congressman Jim Moran, will be joined by part-time Crystal City resident and one-time Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain at a private fundraiser in Alexandria next week.

Tickets for the fundraiser, which will be held Monday night, range from $250 to $2,400. Republican operative Charlie Black and former Ross Perot presidential campaign spokesperson Orson Swindle are among the bold-faced names on the guestlist.

Sen. McCain isn’t the only family member helping Murray. His younger brother, Joe McCain, was an early supporter of the campaign. At Murray’s primary victory party, AlexandriaNews.org quoted the younger McCain as shouting: “I’m so tired of losing! We’re going to win this one, I know it!”

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Despite a lopsided fundraising disadvantage, retired Army colonel Patrick Murray managed to narrowly defeat his organized and well-connected opponent, government attorney Matthew Berry, in a contest to see who will face ten-term Democratic congressman Jim Moran in the fall.

Berry called Murray to concede the race just before 9:00 last night. Murray won with 7,133 votes, or 51.75 percent of the vote, to Berry’s 6651 vote, or 48.25 percent.

Berry had an edge in Arlington and Alexandria, but unofficial voting numbers show that Murray won by a relatively wide margin in Falls Church and Fairfax County.

Murray issued the following statement today:

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for the faith and trust you have shown by nominating me as your candidate to restore honor and dignity to the representation of Virginia’s 8th District seat in Congress.  I pledge to you my best effort to reward your trust come November.

I thank Matthew Berry and his supporters. Matthew has my appreciation and congratulations on an energetic and spirited campaign.  His commitment to the Republican principles of limited government and individual responsibility energized an army of Republican voters eager for change from profligate spending policies of the Obama-Pelosi-Moran regime in Washington.

The press has taken notice there were almost 14,000 voters in this Republican Congressional Primary.  This clearly shows the high level of discontent among 8th District voters with Jim Moran’s long record of divisive and partisan representation.

We kicked off our campaign this morning on FOX5 at 9:00am this morning.  Join the Murray Momentum as we work together to take our country back and send Jim Moran into political retirement.

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Republican congressional candidate Patrick Murray may be a 24-year veteran of the U.S. Army, but he’s only a three-month veteran of electoral politics. And that doesn’t worry him one bit.

“I think [voters] like the fact that I’m not a politician,” Murray said on Friday, during an interview on board his newly-rented campaign bus. “People talk to me and they say, ‘you don’t talk like a politician,’ and I take that as a compliment because I’m not.”

Murray says his ‘Time to Lead’ bus tour, on which he embarked Thursday and will continue through Tuesday’s GOP primary, is part of an “insurgent ground campaign.” He’s visiting Metro stops, grocery stores, farmer’s markets and other high-traffic spots in an effort to get out the vote.

“We are cautiously optimistic but we’re running like we’re 50 points behind. We’re getting up before dawn and going to bed after dark. Our goal is to get to all 151 precincts in the eighth district.”

Murray may not be 50 points behind, but his fundraising has consistently lagged opponent Matthew Berry, a former general counsel at the Federal Communications Commission.

“My opponent has raised a lot more money than I have but he’s raised it from the outside,” Murray said. “He’s definitely the establishment guy.”

Later, Murray took another shot at Berry’s inside-the-Beltway career.

“I have a lot of experience in what I like to call the real world,” he said. “My opponent has none, he’s a federal government lawyer. There’s nothing wrong with federal government lawyers but that’s his sole perspective.”

“This is a year where we need some maturity, some leadership, and somebody in there who can stand up to both sides and get some things done,” Murray said.

Murray insists that he would have the best shot of defeating incumbent Rep. Jim Moran in the fall — a feat that no Republican has managed since Moran first won the eighth district congressional seat in 1991.

“I feel very strongly with my head and my heart that I’m the best candidate,” Murray said.

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Former Army colonel Patrick Murray, who’s facing Matthew Berry in the VA-8 GOP primary on June 8, appeared on Fox News’ Strategy Room show on foxnews.com this morning.

Murray said his biggest issue is “the fact that we have misplaced our Constitutional values.”

“I believe we’re ignoring the Constitution,” Murray said. “I am a big believer in the 10th Amendment… I think our footprint for the federal government has gotten way too big.”

Murray also discussed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as his own military experience.

See the clip here.

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Republican congressional candidate Patrick Murray is responding to a letter incumbent Rep. Jim Moran (D) sent to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) on the topic of sequestration.

Moran asked McDonnell use his position in the Republican party to pressure GOP congressional leaders to support a “balanced approach to deficit reduction” that could avoid sequestration. Murray has responded with a statement criticizing Moran’s leadership on the issue.

For months and months, Jim Moran has done exactly nothing while this debacle unfolded. Moran offered no legislation and he refused to sign on to existing legislation. He didn’t even bother to have a town hall meeting to inform his constituents about how heavily we are about to be impacted.

Moran’s only recommendation is to raise taxes on the middle class at the end of the year, a tax increase of almost $3 trillion that would impact 83% of American households.

We expect our elected representatives to put people over partisanship and to find solutions to problems, not to complain and point fingers. Instead of Moran’s angry hyper-partisanship, we need a congressman who will work across the aisle and put the people of the 8th District first. Instead of political posturing, I’ll stand up for the workers of the 8th District and not let petty politics stand in the way of meaningful legislation.

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(Updated at 5:20 p.m.) In a bout of bizarro bipartisanship, a former top advisor to President George W. Bush has offered praise for Rep. Jim Moran (D), and a former Democratic congressman is headlining a fundraiser for Moran’s Republican challenger, Patrick Murray.

Today the group No Labels, a “grassroots movement of Democrats, Republicans and independents dedicated to the politics of problem solving,” announced that Moran has earned its “official Problem-Solvers Seal of Approval.” No Labels co-founder and former Bush advisor Mark McKinnon said Moran “emphasize[s] working together and solving problems, not scoring political points.”

“Throughout his career in Congress, Moran has shown a continued willingness to work across the aisle and find common ground with members of the opposite party on important issues,” McKinnon said in a press release (below, after the jump). “His attitude is what Congress needs more of.”

Meanwhile, Artur Davis, a former Democratic congressman and a national co-chair of President Obama’s 2008 campaign, is headlining a private fundraiser for Murray in Alexandria on Oct. 15. Davis, who lost his bid to become Alabama’s first black governor in the state’s 2010 Democratic primary, recently switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican and spoke at this summer’s Republican convention.

Murray’s campaign said it’s “proud to have the support of Congressman Davis” and “common sense voters of all partisan backgrounds.” It also commented on the No Labels award and this week’s endorsement of Moran by the Washington Post.

In a one-paragraph endorsement that called Moran “conscientious and constituent-oriented,” the Post also noted that the 11-term congressman “has embarrassed himself, and his constituents, with ill-considered comments in the past.”

“If voters want a common sense Congressman who will find solutions and won’t embarrass his constituents, their choice is Colonel Patrick Murray,” said Murray campaign spokesman Reece Collins.

Independent Jason Howell has previously described himself as the true non-partisan candidate in the congressional race, which also features Independent Green candidate Janet Murphy.

“The ability to go in there and create relationships without parties’ strings is what I bring to the table,” Howell told ARLnow.com in June.

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The congressional campaign of Patrick Murray (R) blasted the campaign of incumbent Rep. Jim Moran (D) over the weekend for what is — at least for now — a factual statement.

“We are not in a recession,” Moran campaign spokesman Austin Durrer was quoted as saying, according to the Murray campaign. The remark was made at the 2012 Northern Virginia Asian Pacific American Candidates Forum in Fairfax.

In response, the Murray campaign issued a blistering press release.

Jim Moran’s spokesman, Austin Durrer, had the audacity to tell the audience that our economy is fine and we have nothing to worry about.

“We are not in a recession,” said the Moran spokesman.

One might think that it was just a slip of the tongue or a slight miscommunication, until you realize that this is the conventional thought at Team Moran.

On June 29 of this year, Jim Moran went on the Martin Bashir show to say, “people are not going bankrupt…This is a wealthy country, we’re not broke.”

In response, 8th District congressional candidate Patrick Murray said, “How can Moran’s campaign say that to the 20 million unemployed and underemployed Americans? With the real unemployment rate over 14%, months upon months of job losses, escalating national debt, and sequestration on the horizon, the Moran campaign thinks that the economy is fine and we’re not ‘broke’. I’m not sure if this is some horrible case of groupthink at the Moran headquarters, or if he’s just that disconnected from the average American.”

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research — which is generally regarded as the authority on recessions in the U.S. — the most recent recession lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. Since then, the United States has experienced 12 quarters of positive Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. One rule of thumb for determining a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative GDP.

The Moran campaign responded to the Murray camp’s press release with a statement of its own.

Ask any reputable economist when the Great Recession ended and they’ll tell you June of 2009, over three years ago. But clearly, far too many people are still out of work and the economy needs to grow faster.

It’s troubling that our opponent continues to talk down the economy for partisan political purposes. That kind of mentality won’t create a single job and in fact encourages businesses to continue hoarding cash rather than investing in the future. We’re fortunate that Northern Virginia has been an outlier from the rest of the country over the past four years of economic struggles.

While there’s still much work to be done, we have an unemployment rate that’s half the national average and major companies like Hilton and Northrop Grumman continue to relocate here. It’s in large part due to our region’s interconnectedness with the federal government, our largest employer, and synergies that relationship creates with the private sector.

Congressman Moran has played no small part in this success, whether by protecting federal employees from draconian conservative efforts to dismantle our civil service, which would be a disaster for our region’s economy, or through his senior position on the powerful Appropriations Committee. That’s one of the many reasons he deserves to be reelected and continues to have overwhelming public support from his district.

Murray campaign spokesman Reece Collins countered:

“Some economists would argue that we’ve entered another recession. Regardless, Moran’s campaign cannot say with a straight face that the economy is fine. With sequestration around the corner, and over 100,000 Virginians who will lose their jobs, the Moran campaign hunkers down and tells everyone that we are fine, there is no recession, we aren’t broke.”

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Editor’s Note: See previous profiles of Rep. Jim Moran (D) and Jason Howell (I).

(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) Republican congressional candidate Patrick Murray says he has a better chance this time around, his second shot at unseating longtime 8th District Rep. Jim Moran (D).

He is more well known, redistricting has cut out Reston from the map and added more conservative areas near Mount Vernon, and he expects the presidential election to help get-out-the-vote efforts.

But from a practical perspective, Murray knows Moran’s more than 20 years of representing Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County is not likely to end after Nov. 6.

“I can’t help that. Just because the district is difficult, the cause is the same,” said Murray, the first Republican challenger to take on Moran for a second time since Demaris Miller in 2000. “So many people were just happy to see that somebody was running against this guy for the second time, that I had stuck around. These guys come out of the woodwork, they run once against Moran and then they vanish.”

“He scares them off,” Murray added.

That seems to be a point of pride for Murray, the retired Army colonel who three years ago passed up a chance to attend the prestigious Army War College — which trains future generals — to run for office.

(Murray lived in Alexandria for eight years earlier in his military career, but moved back there in 2009.)

In the 2010 election, he briefly vaulted into the national spotlight when Moran characterized him as a “stealth” candidate without “public service” experience. Murray said it was a criticism of his military career, which he felt was a type of public service. Moran said he was simply pointing out Murray’s lack of local service to Virginia communities.

Once that happened, campaign contributions from 26 states started coming in.

“It was mostly veterans. They’re not rich,” Murray said. “But it was $25, $50 bucks saying ‘Go kick this guy’s ass because now I see how he feels about us.'”

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