In a statement released today, former Republican Delegate Jim Dillard endorsed Democrat Eileen Filler-Corn in the special election for the 41st district House of Delegates seat. Jim represented the district that Filler-Corn hopes to represent from 1972 to 2005 and was highly respected as a moderate Delegate who could actually get things done. Since he chaired the education committee, it's also worth noting that he highlighted Eileen's commitment to public education as one of the reasons he's supporting her candidacy.
“As a Republican I am willing to cross party lines to support a moderate who cares strongly about providing excellent educational opportunities for our children in our public schools and institutions of higher learning. Unlike her opponent, who believes we spend 'excessive' amounts on public education, Eileen will fight to get our fair share of education dollars to maintain our superior schools in Fairfax County. That is why I am proud to support Eileen Filler-Corn for Delegate,” Dillard said.
With the way things are going in the House of Delegates, there are so many people who are frustrated with the partisanship of the Republican caucus. In a time when we need our elected officials to help make crucial decisions regarding our budget and other issues during an economic downturn, the Republicans have placed their own political agenda above the needs of their constituents. I think the disgust with the behavior of the Republican caucus is one of the major reasons that we have seen Republicans like Dillard give their support to moderate Democrats. During his over three decades in the House of Delegates Dillard learned a thing or two about how to get things done in Richmond and it's important to know that he clearly believes Eileen Filler-Corn is the better candidate in this race.
As far as the current state of the race, it's worth noting that this is the seat vacated by Dave Marsden after he just won the special election in the 37th Senate District. During that race, Dave performed well in the precincts that overlap with the 41st Delegate district so that is a good sign for Eileen. Nonetheless, one of the major reasons he able to win that race was the ground game (especially the GOTV and absentee ballot efforts). Based upon what I'm hearing from community members and people close to Eileen's campaign, these ground efforts are doing extremely well in her campaign too. As the election date (March 2) is rapidly approaching, however, it is extremely important to get out there and knock on doors and make phone calls on behalf of the campaign. This especially the case when you consider that there was some precious canvassing time that was diminished due to the blizzards that hit the area. I therefore encourage you to get involved with Eileen's campaign during these final weeks if you are able to volunteer some time.