|Republican nominee for|
United States Representative from Virginia's 11th congressional district
November 2, 2010
|Opponent(s)||Gerry Connolly (D),|
David L. Dotson (L),
David William Gillis, Jr. (IG),
Christopher F. DeCarlo (I)
|Born||August 2, 1956|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||Chairman, U.S. Inspect|
Keith Shawn Fimian is an American businessman and politician from the Commonwealth of Virginia. He was the 2008 and 2010 Republican nominee for Virginia's 11th congressional district. Fimian lost both elections, the first by 12%, and the second by 0.4%.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Business career
- 3 Non-profit work
- 4 Political campaigns
- 5 Political action committee
- 6 Potential subsequent runs for office
- 7 Political positions
- 8 Personal life
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Early life and education
Fimian attended The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia where he graduated with a B.B.A. degree in accounting. Fimian played on offense as a fullback for the school's football team. Following college, Fimian briefly played for the NFL's Cleveland Browns before being dropped in August 1978.
Fimian is a former certified public accountant, and worked for seven years as an auditor and accountant during the 1980s. Fimian audited oilfield operations in Midland, Texas for the international accounting firm Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co. which later merged with the international accounting firm Klynveld Main Goerdeler to become KPMG, one of the Big Four accounting firms, with headquarters in the Netherlands. Fimian also worked for a year in the firm's executive offices in New York City.
In the 1980s, along with two other businessmen, he co-founded Radonics Co., which is now U.S. Inspect. The company has grown to become "the nation's largest provider of residential and commercial property inspection services."
Headquartered in Chantilly, Virginia, the company manages a network of thousands of independent contractors across the country. Fimian is currently the chairman of the company. Fimian faced controversy over his corporation's federal tax liens for unpaid taxes, which he says were the fault of his company's independent contractors and the company soon paid the debt.
Fimian is a co-inventor and holds one United States patent, and notes that, if elected, he would be only the fourth patent holder in Congress. Fimian and three partners invented a radon detection device patent filed under an applicant name of record of "Gemini Research, Inc."
Fimian is a member of the national board of directors of Legatus, a Roman Catholic group of business executives started by Domino's Pizza founder and philanthropist Tom Monaghan. Fimian faced attacks from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which sent out mailings criticizing the group's "radical agenda" of opposition to abortion and contraception. Fimian and some Catholic leaders accused Connolly and the DCCC of religious bigotry, with one blog saying the mailings were "inflammatory and extremely anti-Catholic toward a group of business leaders who follow their faith."
He is President Emeritus of the Washington, D.C.-based Youth Leadership Foundation, a supplemental academic and character formation program serving disadvantaged youth in the nation's capital.
2008 U.S. Congressional campaign
Davis had represented Virginia's 11th congressional district since 1995. He announced on January 30, 2008 that he would not seek reelection to an eighth term, allowing other Republican candidates to run. Fimian announced his candidacy early in the year and, according to The Washington Post, had raised over $1,200,000 as of June 2008. Over the entire election cycle, Fimian raised $1,995,215, spent $1,985,087, and ended his campaign with $10,127 cash on hand. Fimian raised significantly more money than Connolly in individual donations; 76% of all his fundraising came from individual donations.
Fimian was portrayed as too extreme for the district and was criticized in Connolly's campaign literature for being opposed to embryonic stem cell research  and abortion unless the life of the mother is at risk. Other political opponents noted that the health insurance plans he offered to his own corporation's employees specifically exclude coverage for contraceptives and abortion services, even if the patient's life was at risk.
2010 U.S. Congressional campaign
Fimian again challenged Democratic incumbent Gerry Connolly. Also running were Libertarian nominee David L. Dotson, Independent Green David William Gillis, Jr., and Independent Christopher F. DeCarlo. Fimian lost by 981 votes out of 226,951 votes cast, or 0.43%.
On July 20, 2009, Fimian announced his intention to run again for the 11th District seat against Connolly in 2010. Pat Herrity, a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors member and colleague of Connolly when he was on the board, announced his intent to challenge Connolly, setting up a primary. The race was described by the Washington Post as "one of the nastiest contests in the commonwealth," while the Washington Examiner called it "unusually brutal."
The race was significantly more heated than the primary in the neighboring 8th District, where issues such as abortion and gay marriage divided the two candidates. Fimian criticized Herrity relentlessly for his legislative record, accusing him of voting to raise taxes and being insufficiently conservative. Herrity said he was the only Republican who could beat Connolly and was accused by Fimian of spreading rumors about him, including the 1976 assault case. Fimian defeated Herrity in the June 8, 2010 primary, winning 56% of the vote, with 35,890 votes cast.
General election campaign
The National Republican Congressional Committee promoted Fimian to be a GOP Young Gun in June 2010, which meant his campaign had hit certain targets for fundraising and other organizational indicators. As of September 30, 2010, Fimian had raised $2,197,60 while Connolly had raised $2,160,041. However, that includes $95,000 which Fimian contributed to his own campaign.
Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor of Virginia in 2009, said at a Connolly fundraiser that if Connolly loses his seat, "we [Democrats] will lose the House." Former congressman Tom Davis, who held the seat until retiring in 2008, agreed, saying, "If they [Republicans] take my seat, they'll take the House." CNN said the "rematch could set the tone on election night," especially since Virginia's polling places are among the first to close at 7:00 pm EST. The National Journal named it to a list of five House bellwethers, noting the parallel to 1994, when a similar Republican wave swept 11th District Rep. Leslie Byrne, a freshman Democrat, from office.
Fimian has garnered notable and prominent endorsements to include Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli who praised Fimian as "100% pro-life." The conservative talk show host Mark Levin has given support to Fimian. Fimian has also picked up the endorsements of Republican House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Delegate Robert G. "Bob" Marshall, Prince William County Board of Supervisors chair Corey A. Stewart, and Prince William County Supervisor Mike May.
Fimian received support from members of the Tea Party movement and attended a Northern Virginia Tea Party Patriots rally in the summer of 2009 at Connolly's congressional office. The Tea Party movement is targeting the 11th District for a conservative pickup. Northern Virginia political columnist Davon Gray wrote that the Tea Party "probably made a huge difference in Keith Fimian's nomination in the 11th congressional district."
Political action committee
In September 2011, Fimian started the Growth, Opportunity, and Prosperity (GOP) Fund, a political action committee which seeks "to elect pro-business candidates dedicated to keeping Virginia a great state for business by building a vibrant economy in every corner of the Commonwealth." The PAC had raised over $235,000 by its first Federal Election Commission quarterly filing deadline on September 30, 2011, and had raised over $300,000 by its first state filing deadline on October 17, 2011.
Fimian proceeded to give nearly $100,000 in PAC money to Republican candidates for the General Assembly and local offices in the 2011 elections, making contributions to 47 candidates (including the maximum $5,000 contribution to a dozen state Senate candidates).
Potential subsequent runs for office
In November 2011, Fimian said he was considering running for Lieutenant Governor in 2013, saying, "I'm giving it thought. There are a lot of people who are encouraging me to do that, and I'm considering it." Fimian ultimately decided not to run.
Fimian supports a repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and proposes in his platform to tackle individual health care problems with "stand alone legislation". He estimates "most Americans like the coverage they have."
Fimian has made energy issues a central component of his political platform. He favors an expansion of offshore oil drilling where possible and has been interviewed about his energy policy positions by the news media.
In response to a U.S. Department of Defense study concluding that drilling off Virginia's coastline would interfere with military activities and equipment covering 72% of the area, Fimian responded "so that still leaves one quarter" (for exploration and production), and suggested the use of directional drilling to access deposits and the drilling of areas north of the "tidewater" areas where leases have been proposed.
Fimian has advocated for ratification of new free trade agreements to spur economic growth. He believes in securing the southern border with Mexico while streamlining the immigration process, and a strong national defense.
On fiscal matters, he supports reducing federal spending through a federal balanced budget amendment, has proposed privatizing social security, and abolishing the United States Department of Education. He proposes simplifying the Internal Revenue Code, and has also pledged to oppose any and all tax increases.
On constitutional issues, according to his website, he is pro-life, opposes same-sex marriage, and supports Second Amendment rights. Fimian is opposed to voting representation in Congress for District of Columbia residents
Fimian encountered controversy when he was asked about the idea of repealing the Seventeenth Amendment, which allowed for the direct election of U.S. senators, who were appointed by the state legislatures until the amendment was ratified. In a June 4, 2010 WTOP Radio debate preceding the Republican primary between Fimian and Herrity, host Mark Plotkin asked the two candidates whether they would support repealing the 17th Amendment. Then Fimian said, "There is some merit to that. Why it was changed in 1910...I'm not totally sure. There is merit. And frankly, I would entertain hearing both sides of that argument before I would say yes or no, but I am inclined to say no."
On economic issues, Fimian opposes tax increases, supports eliminating the capital gains tax on start-up companies and cutting the payroll tax in half for small businesses until unemployment is reduced to 5%.
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