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Independent Gibson Ends Bid to Challenge Connolly for Congress

Mark Gibson/Credit: Gibson for CongressMark Gibson, who hoped to challenge incumbent Gerry Connolly (D) in Virginia’s 11th Congressional District, has fallen short in his attempt to get on November’s general election ballot.

Gibson announced he fell 43 signatures short of the required 1,000 needed from qualified voters. He said hesubmitted 1,259 signatures, but only 957 were verified as qualified 11th District voters by Virginia’s State Board of Elections.

“We had a small dedicated group of community volunteers collecting ballot petition signatures, but it just wasn’t enough,” Gibson said in a statement. “And the demands of my day job this year meant that I couldn’t devote the time necessary to make this bid a success.”

Gibson, 53, is a U.S. Government contractor and the chief operating officer for a Fairfax-based small business. He was on the ballot in 2012 and finished third in a field of six as Connolly won re-election. He has never held public office.

Gibson’s office says that of the 302 disqualified signatures, about half were from outside the District —  primarily from areas that were formerly in the District prior to the 2012 Congressional redistricting. Other voters were disqualified because the general registrars in the counties of Fairfax and Prince William as well as the City of Fairfax could not identify a signature as a registered voter from the 11th District.

Connolly’s remaining opponents will be Republican Suzanne Scholte, Green Party candidate Joe Galdo and Libertarian Marc Harrold.

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Independent Mark Gibson to Challenge Rep. Connolly Again

Mak Gibson/File photoMark Gibson, the Independent who ran against Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11th) for a Congressional seat in 2012, says he will make another run in 2014.

Gibson earned 3,806 votes in the 2012 election. That was far short of incumbent Connolly’s 202,606 votes, but the most of any of the challengers from a non-major party.

Connolly has served in Congress since 2009. Reston became part of his district in 2010 realignment.

Gibson, 52, is an economist who lives in Fairfax. He is currently the vice president for operations and business development at Fairfax-based Advanced Technology Solutions, Inc., an information technologies consulting firm.

Gibson said last week that voter encouragement and an underperforming Congress prompted him to run again.

“I received a lot of compliments and inspiration from voters after the last election,” Gibson said in a statement “And the dissatisfaction with Congress and the major parties is at least equal to that of 2012. More and more voters identify themselves as independents. I hope to build on the attention independent voters gained in the last election.”

Gibson will need to collect 1,500 signatures from 11th District voters by early June.

So far, no Republican challenger has announced intentions to run.

Gibson told Lorton Patch in 2012 that his frustration with Congress is very high.

“I just haven’t seen that Congress has been effective, and if I can do something to focus on the issues and change the effect of this Congress then I think I have done something,” he said. “I haven’t seen any attempt by either party to make any move to the middle. There are no Independents in Congress now – at least on the House side.”

Some of his stances on the issues in the last campaign: Overhauling the tax code, revising (but not repealing) Obamacare, raising age to collect Social Security; and securing more funds to aid Virginia transportation.

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