By Joe Beck
Voters in the Northern Shenandoah Valley returned veteran Republicans Bob Goodlatte and Frank Wolf to the U.S. House of Representatives with decisive victories Tuesday.
Goodlatte (R-6) was rolling over Democratic challenger Andy Schmookler by 65 percent to 34 percent in the 6th District with 83 percent of precincts reporting, according to unofficial returns Tuesday evening.
Wolf (R-10) was comfortably ahead with unofficial returns showing him with 57 percent to Democratic challenger Kristin Cabral's 39 percent and Independent J. Kevin Chisholm's 2 percent, with 74 percent of precincts reporting in the 10th District.
Goodlatte, 60, of Roanoke is a member of the House's Judiciary and Agriculture committees. He won his first term in Congress in 1992.
Wolf, 73, of Vienna was first elected in 1980. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and is co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Congress.
Goodlatte, who won his 11th term, said the heavy amount of attention the district received from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made this year's campaign different from others he has run. Romney, along with running mate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, (R-Wisc.) made several visits to the area and drew crowds Goodlatte estimated at upward of 30,000.
"The thing that stood out in the campaign is how enthusiastic voters were in participating," Goodlatte said.
Goodlatte also congratulated Schmookler "on running a good campaign."
Schmookler criticized the media for creating "a sound-bite culture" with superficial political coverage and "that makes it especially easy for politicians to make stuff up and get away with it. For our democracy to work, we need to be able to have more substance reported to the people through the news media."
Wolf's website lists his work on truck and highway safety among his major achievements for the Shenandoah Valley. It describes him as a "driving force" in the formation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that regulates the trucking industry.
He also touts his work with former U.S. Sen. John Warner (R) in obtaining federal funds for a new National Guard armory in Winchester and his support for the creation of the Shenandoah National Battlefield Historic District.
Cabral, 46, criticized Wolf's vote in 2011 for sequestration, a bill that placed limits on military and non-military programs, including public health, environmental protection, police, and roads with the goal of cutting the federal budget deficit by $1 trillion over the next decade.
The sequestration law will not take effect if Congress and the president can agree on a deficit reduction proposal by January. Cabral contended that sequestration would mean the loss of 200,000 jobs in the state.
In statement released through Sean Meloy, her campaign manager, Cabral said: "It was an honor to run for Congress in the 10th district and get to meet people around the district. Fortunately, we live in a democracy, and the people have spoken."
Cabral also made a congratulatory call to Wolf.
Project Vote Smart, a non-partisan voter education Web site, showed Wolf's campaign contributions totaled $1.033 million while he spent $761,512 as of Oct. 17.
Cabral's campaign raised $269,412 and spent $221,311, according to Vote Smart.
The 10th District includes all of Clarke, Frederick, and Loudon counties and the city of Winchester. Wolf also represents parts of Fairfax and Prince William counties.
Goodlatte's recent work in Congress has included voting for repeal of President Obama's health care reform legislation and introducing a bill that would amend the U.S. Constitution by requiring a balanced budget. Goodlatte also cited legislation he introduced with Wolf that created the Shenandoah Valley battlefields district as one of his major achievements for the region.
Goodlatte had taken in $1.492 million and spent $1.591 million as of Oct. 17, according to Project Vote Smart.
Schmookler, 66, of Roseville called for creation of a federal jobs program as an answer to the nation's persistently high unemployment rate. He promised to defend Medicare and favored the addition of a government option to the current health care reform law. Schmookler said a single-payer insurance system should be phased in if private insurance companies cannot compete with the government option in a fair competition for customers.
Project Vote Smart showed Goodlatte had taken in $1.492 million and spent $1.591 million as of Oct. 17. Schmookler received $156,659 and spent $125,426 on his campaign, according to Vote Smart.
-- Staff writer Sally Voth contributed to this article.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org