Congressional candidate Thomas Oh

8th District Republican congressional nominee Thomas Oh speaks to the Arlington County Republican Committee on Feb. 28, 2018. Behind Oh is Arlington GOP chairman Jim Presswood.

It’s a pretty fair bet that major corporate donors will not be beating down the door of Republican congressional candidate Thomas Oh between now and Election Day. But just in case, he is putting some limits in place.

Oh has become the first Republican candidate to promise not to take campaign contributions from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power as part of a pledge sought by Activate Virginia, an advocacy group that supports candidates – to date, almost entirely Democrats – who agree to eschew corporate financing, specifically from the two power companies.

Activate Virginia’s policy positions tend to align more with Democrats’ than Republicans’, but Oh said he was happy to add his name to their pledge – and, in facts, rejects all corporate funding.

“We need to fight back against these corrupt politicians and corporations that do not care about the future of our home,” Oh said in a statement. “I care about the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the world that we live in.”

“Don Beyer, [the 8th District] Democrat incumbent, has . . . chosen to take over $20,000 in contributions from Dominion Energy just this election cycle alone,” Oh’s campaign said in a statement. “This contradicts Beyer’s claim to stopping the effects of climate change and reducing carbon emissions.”

To say Oh, the youngest candidate nationally in a congressional race, has an uphill battle to unseat two-term incumbent Beyer might be an understatement. The district is among the most reliably Democratic in the nation; Beyer barely broke a sweat in fending off challengers in 2014, winning 63 percent of the vote in a five-candidate field, and in 2016, winning 69 percent of the vote against Republican Charles Hernick. Hernick, like Oh, attempted to cut into Beyer’s support among environmentalists with an agenda that on the face of it is decidedly at odds with that of the Trump administration.

Oh was the only candidate to file for the Republican nomination, thus avoiding an intra-party battle but also struggling to establish name recognition in the spring.

As a first-time candidate with little chance of success, Oh has struggled with fund-raising. Beyer entered July with a 350-to-1 cash-on-hand advantage over his Republican challenger.

In filings with the Federal Election Commission, Beyer’s campaign committee reported $905,112.74 on hand at the end of June, while Oh reported $2,577.64 on hand. (Take away a $5,000 loan Oh gave to his campaign, and the Republican challenger had a negative campaign balance.)

Activate Virginia last year was active in recruiting candidates to run for the Virginia General Assembly. According to its Web site, no Arlington members of the legislative delegation have taken the pledge to reject energy-company funding. Statewide, 13 members of the General Assembly have done so.

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.