In Virginia’s 11th Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly is running for a fifth term without Republican opposition. That he is running unopposed does not mean his election efforts should be ignored. His district comprises Arlington County, portions of Fairfax County and all of Alexandria and Falls Church, a formidable blue district and economic powerhouse.
In keeping with his constituency, Connolly is reliably liberal. He is pro-choice and was an early supporter of what became the Affordable Care Act. He supported the Iran nuclear deal and voted not to suspend sanctions on Iran. In June, he took part in the Democratic sit-in of the House of Representatives to push for action on gun legislation.
Connolly sometimes doesn’t vote with the majority of his party. Last year he joined with 46 Democrats and 242 Republicans to pass a bill to strengthen screening for refugees from Iraq and Syria. And he is a strong proponent of free trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He said his position on the latter just reflects his constituency. “We have economic development offices in Bangalore, India, in Taiwan, in Israel. That tells you a lot about not only the perceptions but the investments we’ve made as a community in global trade,” he told Newsweek last year.
Connolly, who is on a short list of names being talked about to fill Sen. Tim Kaine’s seat should he be elected vice president, also believes that reaching across the aisle is an essential part of politics. At a Prince William Chamber of Commerce lunch this month, he talked about fighting over issues, not the people who hold a particular position: “Our politics were created to have arguments, but not to go at the essence of the person making them,” he said. “I stipulate you’re as sincere as I am, that you mean well, too, that you want to leave it a better place than you found it. We just have a difference of opinion about how best to do that. Can we resolve that? Yes. We all have to give a little and take a little.”
That’s the part that’s broken down, Connolly told his listeners. We agree, and we support Connolly for another term in Congress.