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by Brandon Jarvis

With unknown funding, Virginia Democratic Action PAC is attacking former Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn as she seeks the Democratic nomination in Virginia’s tenth congressional district. 

Filler-Corn is responding to the attacks, calling them lies and baseless accusations.

Connor Farrell, the PAC’s executive director, says she “is a good lobbyist for them, but a bad Democrat for us.”

“Virginia Democrats are tired of pay-to-play politics and don’t want to send someone to Washington who will place their priorities on the chopping block if it means a free trip to a Washington Commanders game,” he said in a press release. 

Farrell founded Left Rising, a Democratic fundraising firm. The firm’s website says its mission is to bring “exceptional fundraising to a new generation of organizations and candidates—younger, more diverse, more progressive.”

His social media feed shows support for candidates who are pro-Palestine. 

Filler-Corn, who is Jewish, says the attacks rely on antisemitic messaging.   

“It is clear that my message – that we need women on the frontlines defending our rights and our freedom – resonates with voters,” she said in a statement. “As Speaker, I made historic progress for the Commonwealth, rolling back right-wing abortion restrictions and holding election deniers accountable. These false attacks are plainly sexist and rely on vile antisemitic tropes.”

The attack ads focus on Filler-Corn’s time working for the lobbying firm Albers & Company. Among their clients are the Cigar Association of America and Lilly Pharmaceutical Company.

Filler-Corn’s campaign says she “never lobbied for these groups and was never a registered lobbyist for either the tobacco or pharmaceutical industry.” 

Filler-Corn resigned from her position with Albers and Company in 2019 before being elected speaker. She then started a consulting firm, about which limited public information is available. 

The PAC sent out mailers saying that Filler-Corn sided with “big oil” and blocked action on climate change in the General Assembly. 

In response, her campaign cites the “A” rating she received from the Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters. They also point out that she was speaker when the General Assembly passed the Clean Economy Act. 

The ad accuses Filler-Corn of receiving more than $34,000 in gifts from special interests, but her campaign says they were all approved and “include items like travel for a Women in Government Conference.” 

In Virginia, elected officials have few restrictions on what they can receive and use the money for when fundraising. 

“In fact, over her 14 years in the House of Delegates, she reported far fewer ‘gifts’ annually than other colleagues of hers in this race, but she’s being held to different standards,” the Filler-Corn campaign says. 

Filler-Corn is seeking the Democratic nomination against several other candidates — many of whom served in the General Assembly with her. One of the candidates, Del. Dan Helmer, D-Fairfax, played an instrumental role in the 2022 ousting of Filler-Corn from her role as Speaker. 

The Washington Post endorsed Helmer.

The VA-10 incumbent, Rep. Jennifer Wexton, endorsed state Sen. Suhas Subramanyan, D-Loudoun, for the nomination. 

Former Gov. Ralph Northam endorsed Filler-Corn. 

Other candidates on the long list of Democrats seeking the nomination include Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax; Del. David Reid, D-Loudoun; Del. Michelle Maldonado, D-Prince William; former Education Secretary Atif Qarni; Krystal Kaul; Travis Nembhard and more

Farrell says he is not acting on behalf of any other Democrats in the race.

Primary day is June 18. Early voting has already started.

By vascope