Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2008, 3rd term.

Born: March 30, 1950, Boston, MA

Home: Mantua

Education: Maryknoll Col., B.A. 1971; Harvard U., M.A. 1979

Professional Career: Non-profit executive; U.S. Senate aide; Defense contractor.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Catholic

Family: married (Cathy) , 1 children

Democrat Gerald (Gerry) Connolly, elected in 2008, is a former Capitol Hill staffer who remains an ardent champion of the federal workers who populate his suburban Washington, D.C., district.

Connolly grew up in the Boston area. He considered joining the priesthood and studied for six years at a Catholic seminary. But his interest in public policy led him to Washington, D.C., after college, where in the 1970s he managed the American Freedom from Hunger Foundation and the U.S. Committee for Refugees. He got a master’s degree from Harvard and worked for a decade on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he specialized in Middle Eastern affairs and foreign aid. In 1989, he left Capitol Hill to run the Washington office of Stanford Research Institute International and then became vice president of the San Diego-based defense contractor SAIC. In 1995, Connolly won a seat on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, and in 2003, he was elected board chairman, putting him in charge of a large local government at a time of rapid growth. Transportation was a major preoccupation, and his biggest project was the Metrorail extension to Tysons Corner and Dulles.

In these battles, Connolly worked with then-11th District Republican Rep. Tom Davis, who paid close attention to local issues as well as playing a major national role as the chairman of National Republican Congressional Committee in the 2000 and 2002 election seasons. But Davis, an expert on political demographics, could see that Northern Virginia was changing, and in January 2008, he announced he would not seek reelection.

In the primary, Connolly faced former U.S. Rep. Leslie Byrne, whom Davis beat in 1994. She had the backing of the national women’s fundraising group EMILY’s List, but Connolly outpaced her in fundraising, in part because of his support from defense contractors. In a low-turnout June primary—only 24,000 people voted—Connolly won by a solid 58%-33%. The Republican nominee was Keith Fimian, a businessman and newcomer to Northern Virginia politics who self-financed much of his campaign. Democrats attacked Fimian as a conservative on cultural issues, in contrast to Davis’ moderate record, and Fimian got little help from national Republicans. Connolly won by a solid 55%-43%.

In the House, Connolly joined the centrist New Democrat Coalition and established a moderate voting record. He was among the Democrats who joined a majority of Republicans in backing free trade deals with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea in 2011. He generally works well with Republicans, but when Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., criticized the heavy-handed approach of Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko in 2011, Connolly said on Twitter it was “ironic” that Issa was accusing someone else of a “bullying management style.”

In 2013, Connolly became the ranking Democrat on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Government Operations. He has blasted Republican budget-cutting efforts that he said unfairly target government workers. “Federal employees are now fair game, because they (Republicans) see some short-term political advantage in making them a scapegoat,” he told reporters in 2012. He got a bill into law in 2010 to encourage teleworking, one method to reduce traffic congestion in his district, as well as another measure in 2011 to help agencies identify qualified interns who can become full-time workers.

He also takes an avid interest in energy. He narrowly won passage of an amendment to the fiscal 2013 energy and water spending bill to slash funding for oil shale research by $25 million. In addition, he and Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner introduced bills in 2012 calling for an initiative on election reform modeled after the “Race to the Top” competition for education funds, with federal grants going to states that devise innovative efforts to improve the voting process.

In 2010, Fimian returned for a rematch. This time, Fimian did not have to rely on self-financing and raised nearly $3 million to Connolly’s $2.4 million. Fimian stuck to the national Republican message of “outrageous spending” and rising deficits and attacked Connolly as a “career politician.” The Democrat’s lead shrunk to single digits by the closing weeks of the race. Five days after the election, Fimian conceded, having won 48.8% to his opponent’s 49.2%—a margin of fewer than 1,000 votes out of 227,000 cast.

Connolly had it far easier in 2012. He took advantage of President Barack Obama’s political domination of Northern Virginia to breeze past the far lesser-known Republican Chris Perkins 61%-36%.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-1492

(202) 225-3071

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2238
Washington, DC 20515-4611

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-1492

(202) 225-3071

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2238
Washington, DC 20515-4611

DISTRICT OFFICE

(703) 256-3071

(703) 354-1284

4115 Annandale Road Suite 103
Annandale, VA 22003-2500

DISTRICT OFFICE

(703) 256-3071

(703) 354-1284

4115 Annandale Road Suite 103
Annandale, VA 22003-2500

DISTRICT OFFICE

(571) 408-4407

(571) 408-4708

2241-D Tacketts Mill Drive
Woodbridge, VA 22192-3028

DISTRICT OFFICE

(571) 408-4407

(571) 408-4708

2241-D Tacketts Mill Drive
Woodbridge, VA 22192-3028

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(703) 375-9374

3315 Mantua Drive
Fairfax, VA 22031

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

3315 Mantua Drive
Fairfax, VA 22031

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Dominic Bonaiuto
Legislative Director

Acquisitions

Dominic Bonaiuto
Legislative Director

Agriculture

Jamie Smith
Communications Director

Animal Rights

Jamie Smith
Communications Director

Appropriations

Dominic Bonaiuto
Legislative Director

Budget

Dominic Bonaiuto
Legislative Director

Commerce

Dominic Bonaiuto
Legislative Director

Consumers

Dominic Bonaiuto
Legislative Director

Education

Dominic Bonaiuto
Legislative Director

Energy

Jamie Smith
Communications Director

Environment

Jamie Smith
Communications Director

Foreign

Collin Davenport
Legislative Assistant

Govt Ops

Dominic Bonaiuto
Legislative Director

Health

Dominic Bonaiuto
Legislative Director

Immigration

Collin Davenport
Legislative Assistant

Intelligence

Collin Davenport
Legislative Assistant

Judiciary

Collin Davenport
Legislative Assistant

Land Use

Jamie Smith
Communications Director

Medicare

Dominic Bonaiuto
Legislative Director

Military

Collin Davenport
Legislative Assistant

Recreation

Jamie Smith
Communications Director

Small Business

Dominic Bonaiuto
Legislative Director

Social Security

Dominic Bonaiuto
Legislative Director

Tax

Dominic Bonaiuto
Legislative Director

Telecommunications

Jamie Smith
Communications Director

Trade

Collin Davenport
Legislative Assistant

Transportation

Dominic Bonaiuto
Legislative Director

Veterans

Collin Davenport
Legislative Assistant

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Gerald Connolly
Votes: 202,606
Percent: 61.13%
Chris Perkins
Votes: 117,902
Percent: 35.57%
2012 PRIMARY
Gerald Connolly
Unopposed
2010 GENERAL
Gerald Connolly
Votes: 111,720
Percent: 49.23%
Keith Fimian
Votes: 110,739
Percent: 48.79%
2010 PRIMARY
Gerald Connolly
Unopposed
2008 GENERAL
Gerald Connolly
Votes: 196,598
Percent: 54.69%
Keith Fimian
Votes: 154,758
Percent: 43.05%
2008 PRIMARY
Gerald Connolly
Votes: 14,233
Percent: 57.92%
Leslie Byrne
Votes: 8,196
Percent: 33.35%
Douglas Denneny
Votes: 1,508
Percent: 6.14%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (49%), 2008 (55%)

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