GOP primary looms for ballot hopefuls

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Voters will decide on Tuesday who gets to challenge Rep. Jim Moran (D) for the 8th District congressional seat as Republicans Mathew Berry and Patrick Murray enter into the homestretch of j4their dueling campaigns.

Whether Berry, an Arlington resident and former Justice Department lawyer, or Murray, an Alexandria military veteran with several years of international diplomacy experience, comes out on top, the perennial Hill fixture of Moran and his 10 terms will become the challengers focus.

Theres a huge dissatisfaction over the past performance of Jim Moran, said Tom Fulton, a vice chair of the Alexandria Republican City Committee. Hopefully that level of dissatisfaction will be sufficient enough that change will occur.

That dissatisfaction has not changed the minds of voters in the last 20 years but both candidates make Morans experience out to be a liability rather than an embodiment of reliability. 

I think a great number of voters will be willing to vote past the D and the R and look at the individual to see who is best suited to turn this ship around, said Murray of the high-spending and all-encompassing direction he believes the federal government is heading.  

[Moran] is one of 15 members of Congress who thought he needed a pay raise, Berry said. And he thinks we can borrow and spend our way to better government.

Berry and Murray played up the importance of their respective campaigns heading into Election Day, each focusing on why they are the best candidate to defeat Moran in his stronghold of Northern Virginia.

Berry says his campaign has been more specific in dealing with reforming the fiscal habits in Washington, as well as a culture of corruption.

Murray, who will be touring Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax and Falls Church in a bus for the remainder of his campaign (Think, Straight-talk Express, he said.)  wants voters to see him as an atypical politician who has put my life on the line for the country.

I have extensive experience in the real world unlike my opponent who was in federal government, Murray said. 

Regardless of the victor, turnout is expected to be low in Alexandria. The 2008 Republican primary saw 1,500 voters and Alexandria Registrar of Voters predicts the numbers to be similar.

The only thing that would make me think there would be more voters turning out is theres certainly been a lot more polarization, Parkins said.

Primaries rarely get many voters to the polls. There have only been 75 absentee votes submitted so far less than 100 in 2008 and no bump in new registrants, which Parkins said is usually an indicator of voter excitement.

Fulton said that although turnout will be low, there will be a higher concentration of highly informed voters active Republicans who vote in an off year.

I think theyve been offered up spirited campaigns and theyre both well-qualified individuals, Fulton said. This election provides opportunity for Alexandria and for either candidate to provide a real change in the districts leadership.

Polls open at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, June 8, and close at 7 p.m.

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