I recently interviewed Keith Fimian, candidate for Congress in the 11th District. Keith is running a strong race, and is currently battling in a primary against Pat Herrity. As you know, he was the candidate in 2008, where he received 154,000 votes, in the same year that Virginia lost 3 Congressional seats and the state went blue for the first time in 40+ years. Let’s see what he had to say,

Why run for Congress? Why run again?

We need principled leaders. I stepped up to run in 2008 knowing I faced a very tough political climate. While many elected officials passed on the race because of the negative environment, I ran because someone needed to carry our banner, defend our principles, and advance common sense solutions to the serious problems our nations faces. That is why I am running again in 2010. Career politicians put us in the mess we are in and they do not have the ability to get us out. They simply cannot learn to say no. They say ‘yes’ to everyone and everything because all they care about is being popular and getting re-elected even if it means they are destroying the future of our children and grandchildren. Just look at what they have done. I can and will say ‘NO’ to bad policies like increasing taxes, mindless borrowing and spending, government run healthcare, cap-and-trade, card check, and the weakening of our national defenses. I will stand up for our traditional conservative values whenever they are threatened.

How is Gerry Connolly vulnerable?

Gerry Connolly doesn’t have the background or skills to solve the problems we face. The only jobs he has ever created are more government jobs. I predicted that if we elected a career politician like him that taxes and spending would rise sharply. Unfortunately, I was right. Families are suffering and they need a change. Gerry Connolly has rubber stamped the Obama/Pelosi agenda. He is far too liberal for Northern Virginia on issues from taxes and spending to cap-and-trade and healthcare. Now he is trying to have it both ways. He ran as a liberal in 2008 and now he is trying to cast himself as a moderate or even a conservative. Voters will recognize that and hold him accountable.

Why have Republicans been not doing so well in Northern Virginia?

This has been going back and forth for several years. Our brand name as a party has been in the dirt. Northern Virginia voters pay close attention to federal politics and they held Republicans accountable. Republicans lost their way because career politicians were more concerned about their own re-elections than with doing what was right. The good news is voters will hold Democrats who said one thing on the campaign trail, and voted another once being elected to Congress, just as accountable.

How have the elections in 2009 prepared us for 2010?

It was a clear message. People who wanted hope and change weren’t getting what they voted for. Politicians are spending at a rate that is unsustainable, and, now, even dangerous. Nothing has changed in Washington. The problems and abuses have only gotten worse in the last year. We need to reduce spending, resist the urge to raise taxes and enact policies to re-energize our economy, not create bigger government. Bob McDonnell and the winning Republican ticket campaigned on those themes successfully in Northern Virginia. We need to continue to offer thoughtful solutions to the issues Northern Virginians are most concerned about and enact policies that will create jobs and get our economy moving again.

Can you win the general election, and are you confident that you can beat Pat Herrity in a Primary?

I got 154,000 votes in 2008 despite running in probably the worst political environment for Republicans since Watergate. Tom Davis only got more votes than that in just one of his seven congressional elections. People know who I am, they know what I stand for, and they’ve pulled the lever for me 154,000 strong. What this country needs are principled leaders, not just people who want to get re-elected or move to the next rung on the political ladder. Most politicians aren’t leaders at all; they are followers. They follow polls. They follow party leaders. They vote the establishment line. They are people who need to retire. It’s time for a new generation of real leaders to step up who have the answers to fix the problems we face and focus on doing the right thing, not the politically expedient thing.

Pat is a good man and I welcome him to this primary, but he wasn’t able to beat Sharon Bulova in a low turnout special election. I ran well last time in an impossibly negative environment. I have the grassroots support and fundraising ability to go toe-to-toe with Gerry Connolly. I can win this seat in November—and I will!

What have you learned in 08 and what will you do differently?

I learned a tremendous amount and all of it will be put to good use in 2010. This time I will work even harder, talk to any voter that will listen, and raise even more money. Above all, I learned that Gerry Connolly will say whatever and do whatever it takes to get elected—just like almost every other career politician. I have started a company from scratch that has grown to be nationwide. I’ve created jobs and balanced budgets. I am ready to lead. I don’t need the job— but I want it so I can serve the people of the 11th district, have a positive impact on Congress, and bring a conservative, results-oriented approach to Congress.

For more information on Keith and his campaign, visit keithfimian.com