It’s not exactly a heartfelt, ringing endorsement, but former GOP candidate for congress Matthew Berry has written a letter to supporters saying that he will vote for Patrick Murray.
Murray, who defeated Berry in June’s Republican primary, raised the ire of many local Republicans by sending out a controversial last-minute mailer about Berry. One local conservative blogger called the mailer “foul” and “disgusting,” although Murray maintained that his campaign’s conduct was aboveboard.
Nonetheless, two months after the mailer went out, Berry appears to be trying to bury the hatchet.
In the letter, Berry writes that “Patrick is generally on the right side while [incumbent Democrat] Jim Moran and [Green Party candidate] Ron Fisher are generally on the wrong side.” He also notes that “Patrick is the only candidate who will vote to give Republicans control of the U.S. House of Representatives.”
One month ago, Berry would only go so far as to tell an audience of Arlington Republicans that Murray “deserves our respect.”
(Earlier we mentioned the conspicuous lack of the word “endorse” in the letter, but it turns out the subject line was “Endorsement.”)
One month after an otherwise low-key primary ended with a smoldering intra-party controversy over a last-minute mailer, former GOP congressional candidate Matthew Berry is calling on supporters to “move on.”
Speaking at a recent Arlington County Republican Committee meeting, Berry — whose narrow loss to retired Army colonel Patrick Murray surprised some local political watchers — said it’s “very important” for the party to unite with the goal of retaking control of congress. But while he said that Murray “deserves our respect,” Berry stopped short of endorsing Murray or pledging to help his campaign.
Murray, who will face incumbent Rep. Jim Moran in November, seems eager to put the controversy behind him. (For the record, he says he “would very respectfully but strongly disagree” that his campaign’s controversial mailer tried to exploit the fact that Berry is gay.)
Murray met personally with Berry last week in an effort to smooth things over.
“Matthew acknowledges who our adversary is, and our adversary is Jim Moran,” Murray said. “We’re both on the same sheet of music strategically, which is to turn around congress.”
With the primary behind him, Murray says his primary focus is to win over independents and moderate Democrats. Still, he realizes there is some work to be done if he wants Berry supporters to do more than just vote for him.
“I’m sure there were some raw feelings right after the [election], and that’s to be understood,” Murray said. “People pour a lot of energy and emotion into campaigns… and I respect that. I just hope that moving forward we can harness that energy together and move forward against our common adversary.”
Murray will need to raise a lot of money — quickly — in order to be competitive with Moran, who already has $527,348 cash on hand, according to OpenSecrets.org. That fundraising will be especially hard if the 6,651 Republicans who voted for Berry are reluctant to open their wallets and donate their time to Murray’s campaign.
Murray spent most of the $70,846 he raised during the primary. He had $14,816 in the bank as of May 19. His campaign has raised another $10,975 online since the election, a fraction of Moran’s war chest.
Mike Lane, Murray’s interim campaign manager and the only nominated Republican to win an election in Arlington in a generation, says fundraising will be the campaign’s biggest challenge. Lane says he’s confident that voters will respond to the campaign’s message, which will be heavy on fiscal issues and light on social issues.
“You have to make the case that the incumbent, or the monopoly party, is not getting the job done,” Lane said. “I think it’s going to be an easy case to make. The question is: will we have the resources to reach the number of people that will be able to listen to it.”
“Fundraising has gotten diametrically better” since the primary, Murray notes. He expects to get another boost from some of the state’s Republican luminaries, who have pledged their support.
Murray will hold a campaign kickoff event with former Virginia governor and current author George Allen at Army Navy Country Club on July 15. An event with controversial state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is planned for July 26. Gov. Bob McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling have also offered to help.
“They believe that this year, all bets are off,” Murray said. “I am excited and very optimistic about the chances we have.”
Patrick Murray is gearing up for a tough general election fight, but many supporters of the candidate he defeated in Tuesday’s GOP primary still haven’t moved on from what they say was a dishonorable finish to the campaign.
Supporters of Matthew Berry have taken to the comment section of the local Republican politics website RedNoVA to vent their frustration.
Said one: “People I’ve spoken to in the last three days are shocked and disgusted by Murrays tactics… There is no better chance that I will [support] Murray than there is of Murray defeating Moran. Period.”
Another wrote: “Upon losing you pause for a moment and then shift gears to throw your support behind the winner. In the end, we’re all Republicans, right? Well not this time for me. I saw the ugly, inside game Murray put up especially the final 96hrs and I refuse to reward that with my vote in the fall.”
Much of the controversy revolves around a mailer sent out by the Murray campaign on the eve of the election. The last-hour mailer didn’t explicitly point out that Berry is openly gay, but it included statements like “Matthew favors Gay Marriage in Virginia,” and “Matthew, who has never served in the Military, supports change of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
RedNoVA called it “one of the most foul mailers ever.”
Murray, however, disputes the notion that his campaign did anything morally objectionable.
“I want us to be nothing but positive,” Murray said during an interview at his victory party in Alexandria Tuesday night. “There was a little ugly back and forth… but I’m very confident and comfortable that we stayed on the high ground the entire time.”
Murray had an explanation for the last-minute timing of the mailing.
“I delayed the sending of our one mailer — we only did one mailer — I delayed it for days to the aggravation of my campaign staff… because I got involved to investigate in painstaking detail that we were being accurate with my opponent’s position… and we were,” he said. “I feel comfortable about what we did, and I wouldn’t do it otherwise.”
Murray campaign manager R. Brandon Shultz’s view of why his candidate won had nothing to do with the mailer. In an email, Shultz touted the campaign’s grassroots support.
Our campaign was about bringing in people that are not the party insiders. We wanted to expand the volunteer group to average citizens not just those who go to the usual meetings. We brought in a lot of volunteers who had never gotten involved in a campaign before. We had a lot of precincts covered in the morning and afternoon, many of which did not have any Matthew [Berry] supporters there working the poll.
Murray said his campaign is now focused on the November face-off with ten-term incumbent Democrat Jim Moran.
“We don’t have any time to waste, we’re going right back to work and retooling our campaign for the general election,” he said during an interview with WTTG (Fox 5) the morning after the election. Murray says his campaign will retool by trying to attract a different voter than the typical primary voter.
“As far as policy, nothing changes — I am who I am. But there’s a different focus on different voters now. I’m going to go after independents and moderate Democrats. And you know what? I am very, very confident that when I sit down and talk to them over the course of the summer, we can bring votes our way.”
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.
The former government lawyer has a more than 2-to-1 fundraising advantage over his opponent, retired Army colonel Patrick Murray, and Berry says his campaign’s internal numbers “look very good.”
Voters “seem to be responding well to our positive message,” Berry said. He has spent much of the past 48 hours knocking on doors, calling likely voters and attending events.
One might think Berry would be envious of Murray’s slick, air conditioned campaign bus, which has been making dozens of stops around the 8th District over the past five days, but Berry insists that old-fashioned door-to-door campaigning is actually more effective.
“My focus is on targeting likely primary voters,” he said in a telephone interview conducted Sunday night. “I personally don’t think the best way to do that is get on a bus and wander around the district, but everybody makes their own campaign choices.”
Berry, an unabashed policy wonk whose main campaign focus has been on fiscal issues, says Republican voters should support him because he has more specific solutions to the country’s problems than his opponent.
He also says that he would be more electable in the general election (a claim also made by Murray).
Berry points to the Murray campaign’s attempts to paint him as the “establishment” or “insider” candidate as an indication of why Murray may be vulnerable in the fall.
“He’s said that I spent too much time inside the Beltway — and the last time I looked at a map most people in Virginia’s 8th District happen to live inside the Beltway,” Berry said. “If his strategy for getting elected in the 8th District is to denigrate people who live inside the Beltway, then he’s going to get slaughtered in the general election.”
Arlington Science Teacher Wins Presidential Award — A beloved H-B Woodlawn High School biology teacher has won a prestigious honor from the White House. Dat Le is among the 103 recipients of the 2010 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Teachers from Huntingtown, Md. and Bristow, Va. are also among the recipients, although Le is the only inside-the-Beltway award-winner. He will receive a $10,000 prize from the National Science Foundation and a seat of honor at an awards ceremony later this year.
Republicans Voters to Choose Congressional Nominee Today — Voters in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District are heading to the polls to choose which GOP nominee will face incumbent Rep. Jim Moran (D) in the fall. The Associated Press wins the award for the most concise, cynical take on the race:
In the 8th District, little-known candidates Matthew Berry of Arlington and Alexandria’s Patrick Murray, vie for the right to challenge 10-term Democratic Rep. Jim Moran in the heavily Democratic inner suburbs of Washington, D.C.
Polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. today. Click here for a list of polling place.
Maggie Moo’s Closes in Shirlington, Yogiberry Moving In — Via Shirlington Village Blog, we learn that the Maggie Moo’s ice cream shop in Shirlington has closed. A Yogiberry frozen yogurt store will be moving in. Sign of the times?
“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.
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.
Murray and Berry have both emphasized the economy during the course of the campaign, but Murray has adopted a more hard-nosed brand of fiscal conservatism — criticizing the IRS, voicing support for a flat tax and calling for “hard decisions” on entitlement reform.
Both candidates have called for a stronger national security policy, but Murray touts his military experience as evidence that he’s the better man for the job.
Although neither candidate has made social issues a significant part of their campaign, it’s one area where each strays from Republican orthodoxy in one way or another.
On the issue of abortion, Murray has previously said that he’s pro-choice, although he has been vague at times about his exact stance. Berry, by contrast, has declared himself “the only pro-life candidate running for Congress in Virginia’s Eighth District.”
Murray opposes gay marriage and has said that the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy should remain in place pending the results of a Department of Defense study. Berry, who is openly gay, supports the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and opposes any other discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
After Friday’s interview, Murray scanned a list of names and phone numbers prepared by his staff. On the list were veterans who are registered to vote in the eighth district.
Murray took out a cell phone and called a number — something he says he often does between campaign stops to supplement the campaign’s volunteer phone-banking efforts.
“I haven’t had one negative call yet,” he said between rings.
Eat Cheap in Arlington — Eleven Arlington County restaurants made Washingtonian magazine’s annual “Cheap Eats” list, reports the Sun Gazette. Counted among the 100 top food bargains in the area: Columbia Pike’s Bangkok 54, Lyon Village’s The Burger Joint, Courthouse’s Chez Manelle, and eight other Arlington eateries.
Berry Blasts Moran After WaPo Article — With less than two weeks to go before the local Republican congressional primary, GOP hopeful Matthew Berry wasted no time slamming incumbent Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) after a Washington Post article detailing Moran’s very active stock trading habit. Berry is calling for the House Ethics Committee to investigate whether Moran violated congressional rules by requesting earmarks for two defense contractors he and/or his wife owned stock in. “It was bad enough knowing that Jim Moran was trading earmarks for campaign contributions,” Berry alleged in a statement. “But obtaining earmarks for companies in which he has a financial interest takes the corruption to a whole new level.”
Changes at ARLnow.com — We’re always evolving, but you’ll notice two changes as of late. First, we’re joining the rest of the online news world by filing a morning news roundup instead of our usual end-of-day “afternoon notes.” Second, we changed our Twitter handle to @ARLnowDOTcom from the less aesthetically-pleasing @arlnow_dot_com. If you don’t already, follow us and be the first to know about everything worth knowing in Arlington. And as always, please send feedback and tell us what we can be doing better.
Last Chain Bridge Closure — Starting around 9:00 tonight Chain Bridge will once again close completely to traffic and pedestrians. Crews will be working to repave the bridge deck, the Washington Post reports. The bridge is expected to reopen on Monday morning. This should be the last full closure of the bridge, which has been undergoing a year-long rehabilitation process.
Berry Officially Joins Young Guns List — GOP congressional candidate Matthew Berry has been officially listed as “On the Radar” on the National Republican Congressional Campaign’s “Young Guns” website. The list recognizes congressional contenders who have achieved certain fundraising goals.
Murray Objects to Straw Poll — Patrick Murray, Berry’s competitor for the eighth district GOP nomination, sent a strongly-worded email to supporters calling a straw poll that will be conducted at Saturday’s district Republican convention “illegitimate.” Murray says charging $20 for votes and not limiting the number of votes conflicts “with many principles for which our Republican Party stands.” Murray’s campaign also objects to the possibility of illegal aliens voting in the straw poll, since identification won’t be required.
Slapsticon Returns to Rosslyn Spectrum — The Slapsticon vintage comedy film festival is returning to Rosslyn this summer. The Spectrum Theater will host the festival from July 15-18. Read more here.
County Government’s Michael Brown Era Begins — Former Savannah, Ga. city manager Michael Brown was officially appointed as Arlington’s new County Manager today, a month and a half after his hiring was first announced. Brown’s first order of business this morning was meeting with County Board Chairman Jay Fisette. He also met with his staff and spent much of the day preparing for his first board meeting, coming up this weekend. A public reception will be held in the lobby of 2100 Clarendon Blvd next Monday (May 24) from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. to welcome Brown to Arlington.
Iota Jam Session Reviewed — On Thursday night, The Infamous Stringdusters rocked Iota Club and Café in Clarendon. It may be the first time a band that includes a mandolinist, a dobro player, a fiddler and a banjo player started a performance with a “six-way fist bump.” More from jambands.com.
Endorsements for Berry, Murray — Conservative Virginia politics website Bearing Drift has endorsed Matthew Berry as the only GOP candidate who “has the capacity and wherewithal to give Jim Moran a run for his money.” Meanwhile, former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi has endorsed former Army colonel Patrick Murray, Berry’s opponent in next month’s eighth district primary.
DCist Does Brunch at Tallula — If you’re looking for a lumberjack-sized plate of pancakes, eggs and bacon, Tallula is not the place to find it. But the Lyon Park eatery does serve up some very artistic-looking brunch dishes that — when paired with one of Tallula’s dessert options — should satisfy all but the most voracious eaters. More from DCist.
Congressman Jim Moran, who has heretofore ignored the challengers who hope to unseat him in November, fired the first salvo of his 2010 campaign last night at a forum sponsored by the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce.
Following a short debate between GOP candidates Matthew Berry and Patrick Murray, and Green Party candidate Ron Fisher, Moran took the stage for a brief solo question and answer session with debate moderator and ABC7 reporter Scott Thuman.
“I give these three guys credit,” Moran said wryly in his opening remarks. Having spent ten years as a city councilman and mayor in Alexandria before running for national office, Moran said he “would have never had the gall” to run for congress without local government experience, as his opponents are doing.
The comment garnered a smattering of intended laughter from the buttoned-up crowd at the Pentagon City Ritz Carlton.
Prior to Moran’s question and answer session, Berry and Murray took turns swiping at the ten-term congressman’s policies but largely avoided criticism of one another. Fisher was a full participant in the debate, but his pacifist, pro-tax message did not receive a very warm welcome from an audience full of businesspeople.
“I’m running for congress because as someone who has served in places that don’t have the blessing of liberty, I see we’re heading in the wrong direction,” he said.
Murray and Berry emphasized their belief in strong national security and conservative fiscal policies.
“We need pro-growth policies,” Murray said. “Let’s keep taxes low, let’s keep regulations to a minimum.”
“This is not a business as usual year,” Murray repeated several times.
Berry said he wanted to cut the corporate tax rate so America could be more competitive in the world economy.
“When it comes to business, we should adopt a ‘do no harm’ policy,” he said.
As for Moran’s decision not to participate in the debate, Berry, a former top Federal Communications Commission official, was waiting with a broadcast-ready jab.
“Quite frankly, if I had his record, I wouldn’t want to appear on stage with my opponents either.”
Middle photo courtesy of Mike Lane.
Incumbent Rep. Jim Moran (D), whose eighth congressional district includes Arlington, will take the stage tonight with the men hoping to unseat him in the fall.
Republican primary opponents Matthew Berry and Patrick Murray are expected to participate in tonight’s debate, as is Independent-Green party candidate Ron Fisher. ABC7 reporter Scott Thuman will moderate.
The debate is sponsored by the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce in partnership with a number of other local chambers of commerce. Tickets are $35 for Chamber members, and $45 for everyone else.
It will take place at the Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
It’s the first broadcast spot launched by the campaign of Matthew Berry, who’s running in the upcoming eighth district primary.
The ad portrays a couple discussing a campaign mailer from Berry.
“Ugh, Moran, he’s corrupt and doesn’t represent anyone but himself,” one of the actors says. “Moran’s answer to everything is ‘more, more, more’ — more borrowing, more spending, more taxes and more government intervention in more sectors of our economy.”
Later, the other actor says of Berry: “He’s right on the issues and understands that voters like us are sick of politics as usual.”
The spot will air during conservative talk shows, a campaign spokesperson said.
On his campaign blog, Berry said the ad fulfills his promise to “wage an aggressive effort to unseat Jim Moran.”
“I look forward to continuing to escalate our campaign in the weeks and months ahead,” Berry writes.
Berry, a former general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission under the Bush administration, will face retired U.S. Army colonel Patrick Murray in the GOP primary, held on June 8.
Murray, who is challenging Matthew Berry for the right to face incumbent Democratic congressman Jim Moran in the fall, sent an email to his supporters today blasting Moran and the Obama administration.
Murray said defeating Moran would “restore honor and dignity to representation for Virginia’s 8th Congressional District.”
Murray, a retired U.S. Army colonel, wrote about the need to reverse “the dangerous course that the Obama administration has carelessly taken us on.”
Also in the email, Murray sounded a bit Ted Stevens-esque when he referenced our “our innovative use of every modern communications tool at our disposal.”
“Two of those tools are Facebook and Twitter!” Murray wrote. “You have probably heard of them (Obama’s use of these new media techniques was widely publicized during his campaign).”
Murray has largely avoided mentioning Berry during the course of his campaign. He has, however, repeatedly criticized Moran and the Obama administration, and has focused much attention on the issue of securing the country’s borders.
On Monday he said on Twitter: “Times Square terrorists have international links. Now can we focus on securing the border?”
On the recent anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, Murray released the following statement:
On this sad day remembering the 15th anniversary of the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City we are reminded of the need for increased vigilance on the part of all Americans to combat domestic acts of terrorism. Unfortunately, we live in an increasingly dangerous world with no shortage of people with extreme ideological philosophies who wish us harm. In a free society like America, our natural vulnerability can be protected only by combining an aware and observant people with government determination to secure our borders and keep terrorists out of our country.
I am disappointed in the current direction of the Administration which has abandoned programs to secure our borders and defunded the border fence. I call on Congressman Moran to introduce legislation to appropriate the funds necessary to secure our borders for the safety and security of the American people.
Murray, Berry and Moran will soon face off in a three-way debate sponsored by the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce. The debate will be held at the Pentagon City Ritz-Carlton on Thursday, May 13.
On a sunny Saturday afternoon, in the conference room of Marymount University’s Ballston campus, Matthew Berry officially kicked off his bid for congress. Most people expect Berry to win the primary. Virtually no one expects him — or any other Republican — to win in the general election.
The eighth congressional district of Virginia, which Rep. Jim Moran (D) has represented since 1991, is considered one of the safest Democratic seats in the House of Representatives.
This year, however, with political discontent over the Democratic health care reform effort nearing the boiling point, Republicans see an opportunity to, at the very least, force Democrats to devote more resources than usual to re-electing Moran, at a time when they can least afford it.
“Unlike in past election cycles, the eighth district does not have to be an afterthought,” Berry said, promising to “wage the most competitive general election campaign that this district has seen in almost a generation.”
Berry spent nearly 20 minutes on Saturday delivering a speech blasting “Obamacare,” advocating fiscal responsibility, and calling for a more muscular national security policy. Social issues — abortion, gay marriage, immigration — were never mentioned.
The speech was short on rhetorical flourishes, although a comparison between President Obama’s foreign policy and Barney the dinosaur did draw laughs among the gathered crowd of about 30 supporters.
“Some people say that when I speak, like today, I come across as maybe bit too wonky,” Berry later admitted, to more chuckles. “But to paraphrase former president George H.W. Bush, I prefer to think of it as being fair to the other side by keeping my charisma in check.” (See video of the speech, after the jump)
For now, Berry is engaged in a low-key primary contest with Patrick Murray, a retired U .S. Army colonel.
Berry, the former general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission, has out-fundraised Murray nearly 3-to-1. Still, the $80,574 cash that Berry had on hand, as of the most recent FEC filing, pales to Moran’s $510,583 war chest. And Moran is not facing a primary challenge.
Berry’s selling point in the primary has been that he’s the strongest candidate. To reinforce that, he points to a poll, conducted by a Republican polling firm, suggesting that he’s within striking distance of Moran in a theoretical match-up.
Berry’s campaign has also touted his enrollment in the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns” program, describing it in a press release as a “top-contender program,” although the level which Berry is currently at is open to any Republican congressional hopeful who applies.
Murray also plans to join the program.
“I hope the public doesn’t think ‘oh he’s the winner’ because he’s the first one to send out a press release,” an individual associated with the Murray campaign said.
Over the next month Berry will be holding several “meet and greet” events around the district, including events in Clarendon and Crystal City.
The primary will be held on June 8.