With the passing of former Rep. Stan Parris recently, we’ve given the 8th District a lot more thought. Here was a district that was once represented by a commonsense, down-to-earth, practical man two decades ago to now being a district that is absolutely the laughingstock of the commonwealth, if not the United States, being represented by someone who has long lost touch with the American people.
In the words of Dorthy Boyd (Renee Zellweger in “Jerry Maguire”), GOP candidate Matthew Berry “had us at ‘Hello'”.
From his announcement this past January, Berry came out swinging:
“Congressman Jim Moran has abused the public trust. He has consistently secured earmarks that benefit his campaign contributors. He has taken a personal loan from a drug company lobbyist, and shortly thereafter sponsored legislation to benefit that drug company. And he has not behaved in a manner worthy of the office he holds. Whether he is blaming American Jews for the war in Iraq or accusing American troops of engaging in ethnic cleansing, he has embarrassed the residents of the 8th District too many times. We can do far better.”
It is that kind of spirit and clear conviction that has separated Berry from the pack during this nomination contest.
When you review Matthew Berry’s “issues” section on his campaign website, there is little that you will find that is disagreeable, if you are a conservative, especially in the areas of the economy and healthcare. And, when you combine that with his ability to form an organization, raise money, and stand up to Jim Moran, what’s not to like?
Berry also managed to soften our own proverbial Bearing Drift pessimist, Amit Singh, former candidate in the district.
Singh wrote in his endorsement:
“I firmly believe that Matthew is the strongest candidate that we can put up against Jim Moran in 2010.
“Matthew is an intelligent candidate who has demonstrated he is knowledgeable about the wide range of issues facing the country, and he is the candidate who is offering specific proposals for addressing our nation’s serious problems.
” Matthew has demonstrated the capacity to put together the type of campaign that will give Jim Moran the most serious challenge of his career….I will proudly cast my ballot for him on June 8th and urge all who supported my campaign in 2008 to do the same.”
In addition to gaining the favor of the former GOP nominee, Berry has also managed to get some attention inside the beltway and make it onto the National Republican Campaign Committee’s “Young Guns” watch-list.
The bottom-line: only one candidate has demonstrated that he has the passion and fortitude to do what’s right in the face of adversity; only one candidate has been able to clearly articulate a conservative message, yet still have broad-based appeal; only one candidate has completely run a near flawless nomination campaign, demonstrating that he has the capacity and wherewithal to give Jim Moran a run for his money: Matthew Berry.