By Joe Beck
Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust of McLean is the apparent Democratic nominee for Congress in the 10th District after another Democrat widely expected to challenge him decided to forgo the race.
Foust's clinching of the nomination led party officials to announce Monday that they were canceling the convention scheduled for April 26.
Richard Bolger, a Fairfax County attorney who had declared his candidacy months ago, announced late last week that he was suspending his campaign, citing the need for the party to unite around Foust.
In a message on his campaign website, Bolger endorses Foust and calls him "the candidate with the best shot at winning the seat in November. That is why I have reached out to John and told him I am suspending my campaign and will be supporting his candidacy."
Foust was the only candidate to file nomination papers by the March 11 deadline.
Foust, 62, was elected to the Fairfax Board of Supervisors in 2007 and won re-election with more than 60 percent of the vote while carrying every precinct in his district, according to Democratic party officials.
Shaun Daniels, Foust's campaign manager, said in an interview that Bolger's decision to pass up the race didn't come as a complete surprise. Foust entered the race days before long-time U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Vienna, announced his retirement plans and has been gaining momentum ever since, Daniels said.
"The surprising part is what happened earlier with the level of enthusiasm and support John has received across the district and across the state from all directions," Daniels said.
Daniels said his candidate will be emphasizing "problem solving and working with all kinds of people" in trying to overcome the polarization and political standoffs that have plagued Congress in recent years.
Foust's campaign website cites his roles in extending full day kindergarten throughout Fairfax County and obtaining highway funding to ease traffic congestion as examples of "problem solving leadership."
The 10th District runs from West Virginia eastward through the Winchester area and parts of Loudon, Fairfax and Prince William counties. The district was closely contested in the 2012 presidential campaign and 2013 gubernatorial campaigns. Republicans Mitt Romney and Kenneth Cuccinelli narrowly carried the district over President Obama and Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
Daniels said he perceived Del. Barbara Comstock, R-McLean, and Del. Bob Marshall, R-Manassas, as the leading candidates for the Republican nomination.
Other Republican candidates include Loudon County businessman Stephen Hollingshead; Capitol Hill staff member Rob Wasinger; Clear Brook businessman Marc Savitt, retired Navy officer Howie Lind and former reality TV personality Tareq Salahi.
"If you look at the Republican side, you can divine how it's going to go," Daniels said. "It's going to be contentious, and it's going to be divisive. I think their campaigns are sometimes reflective of how they govern."
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org