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Posted November 7, 2012 | comments 35 Comments

In purple Virginia, Shenandoah Valley stays bright red

By Jeb Inge

President Barack Obama may have won Virginia en route to his second term late Tuesday, but the Shenandoah Valley didn't help him get there.

Shenandoah, Warren and Frederick counties voted overwhelmingly for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Election Day, as did Clarke, Page and Rappahannock counties. The city of Winchester, however, aligned with Obama, according to unofficial voting results provided by the Virginia Board of Elections.

In a swing state that featured delayed results due to long lines after 7 p.m., Virginia sat most of Tuesday evening uncalled, and watched as Ohio eventually would be the state that led to Obama's reelection. It wasn't until the final precincts reported in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and the all-important Prince William County that Obama's vote totals would push ahead of Romney's. The final tally, with 99 percent of unofficial votes reported, shows Obama netting 1,883,169 votes to Romney's 1,774,954 -- a 50/48 percent spread. Three third party candidates and write-ins account for the remaining 2 percent.

The situation was not as close in the Northern Shenandoah Valley.

Combining the voting area of Frederick, Warren, Shenandoah, Page, Rappahannock and Clarke counties, as well as the city of Winchester, Romney trounced Obama 60,836 votes to an even 38,500.

A total of 99,336 votes were cast for a Democrat or Republican, an increase of 1,049 votes from 2008. Then facing Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Obama notched more than 41,000 votes. This year, he received nearly three thousand less. Romney did noticeably better than McCain, gaining more than three thousand more votes than McCain won in 2008.

Numbers show that, though Virginia is solidly purple, the valley remains an example of the pre-2008 days when it was a solid Republican afterthought.

That fact is increasingly evident considering the numbers in the U.S. Senate race between former governors Tim Kaine and George Allen. Republican Allen conceded to Democrat Kaine on Tuesday evening, even before the Associated Press called the race, which was nationally marked as a dead heat throughout the campaign.

Final commonwealthwide numbers eventually would validate Allen's concession, with Kaine winning 52 percent of the vote.

But Allen did overwhelmingly well in the Shenandoah Valley. In the same geographic area sampled for the presidential race, Allen beat Kaine by a 20 point margin -- netting 59,930 votes to Kaine's 39,964. There also were 222 write-in votes.

But the regionwide numbers can be deceiving. While Allen trounced Kaine in Frederick and Shenandoah counties by a nearly 2-1 margin, and won easily in Warren and Page counties, the race was much closer in Clarke and Rappahannock counties, and Kaine won Winchester by more than 400 votes.

Though the campaigns of both candidates made stops in the region, more time was spent in areas designated key for the razor-thin senatorial race. Those areas -- Prince William, Henrico, and Loudoun counties -- all went for Obama and Kaine, even while some reelected Republican congressional leaders, such as Reps. Eric Cantor and Frank Wolf.

Prince William County alone posted more votes Tuesday (179,958) than the combined six counties and one city polled in this article (100,116.)

Aside from the presidential and senatorial races, the Shenandoah Valley looked much like the rest of Virginia on the ballot.

Two local congressional races, those in the 6th and 10th districts, resulted in overwhelming reelection for longtime incumbents. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-6) defeated Democratic challenger and Shenandoah County resident Andy Schmookler by nearly 30 percentage points, while Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10) defeated Democrat Kristin Cabral and Independent J. Kevin Chisholm with a 58-38-2 percent spread.

Wolf's numbers were especially strong in Frederick County, where he notched almost 71 percent of the vote. Cabral posted her best gains in Northern Virginia, including Manassas Park, where she beat Wolf by a 6-point margin.

There was a wider disparity throughout the 6th District. In a number of southern counties, Goodlatte notched more than 70 percent of the vote, and in Bedford County, the 11-term congressman almost reached 80 percent, only falling 0.4 percentage points short.

Schmookler defeated Goodlatte in the cities of Harrisonburg, Roanoke and Lexington, but lost his home Shenandoah County by 39 percentage points.

In Warren County, which voted in its first election as a part of the 6th District, Goodlatte won handily, with 63 percent of the vote.

Both constitutional amendments on the ballot were passed Tuesday with huge margins.

Statewide, the proposed amendment, which would guarantee that in the case of eminent domain the government pay at least the value of the land in question, passed with 74.7 percent of the vote. Regionally, the amendment passed with 80 percent checking "yes."

The second proposed amendment, which allows the commonwealth legislature leeway in scheduling its veto session around religious holidays, passed across Virginia, and in the region with around 82 percent approval.

Turnout numbers were not available by Wednesday afternoon. All election results used are unofficial and represent 99 percent of precincts reporting across Virginia.

Contact Region Editor Jeb Inge at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or jinge@nvdaily.com


    Yes, Northern Virginia, Richmond and the Tidewater areas got it right.

      We know how the Shenandoah Valley votes (but not all of us are lead by this illogical party). The more educated you are, the more you have a tendency to search for the facts. - and think. A few slogans and name calling doesn't do it for me on either side.

      As I got in line to vote (early), I passed by an elderly woman (already in line) saying to a friend, "Oh I've never been so confused and don't know who to vote for".

      GOD! I wanted to stop and talk to her but they would have tossed me out! Standing in line and you don't know who you will vote for!!!!!!! "Ole Shenandoah what's in your water...?"

    Now when the government uses eminent domain on your farm or land, just make sure they pay you the value that you pay taxes on each year.

    I've been thinking and thinking of where to go with this. I'm and independent, decided to go with Obama! My relatives are all from the valley. I am also lived here all my life! So many Obama pre election signs on the rural land.

    Just political correctness!! All signs need to go off the lawns the day afer election.

    I meant so many romney election signs in the rural areas!!!

    Oh, the Shenandoah Valley may not have voted overwhelmingly for Obama, but those that did vote for him here most definitely helped him just the same in this tight race to victory.

    it will be a long time before this valley has a black man on top of the ballet. if you don't believe that, you are not a native.

    As I've said before, there are many more minority racist than caucasion racist today. To imply that these areas that are overwhelmingly for Romney are racist would imply that the areas overwhelmingly for Obama are racist also (but liberals only see one-way.)
    Check Prince Georges county in MD. 90% of their votes were for Obama. Anyone want to take a stab at their demographics?

    PG County, MD as of 2011 US census:

    White 26.6%
    Black 65.4%
    American Indian/Alaska Native 1.0%
    Asian 4.3%

      "PG County, MD as of 2011 US census:
      White 26.6%
      Black 65.4%
      American Indian/Alaska Native 1.0%
      Asian 4.3%"

      PG county, MD as of 2010 US census:
      White 19.2%
      Black 64.5%
      Hispanic 14.9%
      Other 16.2%

      Either way, it shows that libs somehow find an excuse for the ways of their racists but condemn the white ones.

    With Romney promising to open public lands to energy extraction, I certainly wasn't going to give him the chance to allow fracking upstream from my family's home next to the National Forest.

    sad to say, i heard way more comments yesterday about the prez' color then i did about his being a dem or his policies. shen valley is the home of the "good ole boys". don't get me wrong, other than the military i've been here my whole life, and this is a great place to raise kids.

    City of Petersburg (VA) has 79% black pop. Obama got 90% of the votes. This is never discussed publically until election night when the experts are predicting victories and explaining how county "X" is predominately African-American so "we know the President will win here easily, yada yada." The only shot the Republicans have in 2016 is with Condoleezza Rice.


      The inference you seem to be making is that Petersburg (predominantly black, based on your numbers) only voted for the President because he is also black.

      What you don't note (or perhaps are aware of) is that it's NOT because Obama is black...it's because he's a Democrat.

      Black % Vote:

      2012: 90%
      2008: 99%
      2004: 93%
      2000: 95%
      1996: 96%
      1992: 88%
      1988: 88%

      Also of note is that Obama gained 70% of the Hispanic vote, and 52% of the female vote.

      Perhaps the issue isn't that "black people only vote for their own"...perhaps the issue is that the Democratic Party is more inclusive?

    "2012 Election: Shenandoah Valley stays bright red"

    Sure sign of embarrassment.

    I guess back when only white male landowners could vote racial disparity in the voter tallies was less a concern.

    Yup, we got it right with Romney, just like we got it right with distribution centers, truck depots and polluting factories. Three cheers for the Valley!

    The headline is incorrect. Virginia isn't purple anymore. She's proved she is true blue.

    This article and many comments crow about maintaining the status quo instead of moving this country forward. Cheer for yourselves now. Demographics show that Virginia will continue to move left. It's already happened twice now. Red counties are irrelevant.

    Amazing, Romney is a professional businessman who makes wise decisions?

    Paul Ryan not only didn't carry his home state of Wisconsin, he couldn't even carry his own district! And he would have been a breath away from the Oval Office!

    I get a kick of these boys (could you say young men) driving around with rebel flags on the back of their trucks. I definately think southern hospitality is the best thing around! But if you think racism is in the equation....well you know what? I have no answers!

    I remember a time when elected officials used to disagree and disagree bitterly; but at the end of the day they would have a meeting of the minds for the good of the country. I fear those days are gone forever. The Republicans have lost any sense of reasoning and it started with Newt when he was the Speaker of the House. All politicians spin their causes too much but I have never in my life heard anyone more dishonest than Mitt Romney and, thank God, there were enough intelligent voters to realize that. I detest what GWBush did to our country but, as my husband said and I wholeheartedly agree, if I had to choose between GWBush and Romney, I would take Bush (argh!). I did vote for his father (41) and believe if GW had followed his father's path instead of listening to that warring Cheney the US would not have the problems of the last eight to ten years.

      "I did vote for his father (41) and believe if GW had followed his father's path instead of listening to that warring Cheney the US would not have the problems of the last eight to ten years."

      Are the problems you write about, relate to our economy? The stage for that was set way before Bush took office. The cornerstone for our current economical woes was firmly in place, thanks to none other than, President Bill Clinton.

      In 1995 Clinton loosened the housing rules by rewriting the Community Reinvestment Act. In rewriting the rules, he basically gave the bankers a free hand to introduce many high risk lending practices to allow more folks to qualify for home loans that previously could not, and also allowed those who previously could qualify, to qualify for a lot more than before. The bankers were happy, realtors were happy, home builders were happy, it was a great cash cow for them, but bad for the consumer. Everything looked great at first...

      Gone were the days, when you actually had to qualify for a conventional mortgage, where the monthly payment could not exceed 35%+/- of gross monthly income, and you also had to have a 20% down payment, unless you went with a VA loan. Almost anyone could now qualify for a home if they had a job.

      The bankers and mortgage lenders started pushing risky loans (ARM, etc) that allowed someone who made as little as 50,000 a year, to qualify for a $500,000 home loan. Now with people qualifying for that much when they could not before, it was easy for many to purchase a new home they normally would never be able to afford. Then the housing feeding frenzy began, pushing home prices in some areas to record highs, near double or more in some places in 5 short years 2000-2006.

      Reality then set in, many of the ARM low interest/low payment teaser rates expired, and people had to either refinance if they could, or began to pay the real payment, which in some cases equaled up to 65% of people’s gross monthly income. With payments that high, there basically was no money for anything else, causing zero to little growth in the economy.

      Now with all the money going to the banks in interest and mortgage payments, and very little to spend on other things, jobs started going away very quickly. Mortgage payments stopped, foreclosures took place, and the whole house of cards imploded upon itself to the mess we are still dealing with today.

      So before we blame GW, that issue existed way before he took office. Nevertheless, our issues are not political party exclusive, both sides are equally to blame, and a lack of smart leadership has led and will continue to lead us down the wrong path. Was Clinton right to loosen the lending practices in 1995? Yes and no, yes it helped qualify more people for a loan, but it was short sighted and did not include a failsafe to prevent the out of control housing market we experienced.

      There should have been controls written into the act that limited the loans covered by that act to $200,000 or less. However, a lack of smart consumer driven leadership failed us again. We have the highest debt in our history. It will take decades for the housing market and economy to correct itself. May our current leaders gain insight and have the fortitude to do what is necessary to recover our great nation.

    Jane, I don't think it's an education issue. I think predominantly it's a faith (or blind faith) issue.

    What I see in my circles here in the Valley is that, even among my fairly well educated friends, their faith guides them in their principles. While I don't begrudge them of their rights (or beliefs), what seems to happen is that their "spiritual" brain overrides their "logical" brain...and given that the right seems to tend to favor the "spiritual" brain, they find brothers-in-arms in letting their morals guide them.

    Also, as a quibble...the Valley was "blue" through 1964, when the Democrats took up Civil Rights, and the "Southern Strategy" in the GOP took hold.

    It is sad that the election came down to race and social issues. I don't care if the President is Black, White, Blue or Purple. Our economy is suffering and needs to be fixed. Our president cannot blame GW any longer, he has had 4 years in office and not much has been fixed. We still have high unemployment, more people on welfare and the cost of living is out of control. Middle class gets screwed over no matter what happens. Whether it is taxes or insurance costs, your wallet will feel it. Just ask yourself the one question "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?"

    The idiotic democrats on here think people didn't vote for Obama due to his race or political affiliation. Just so you know WE are educated and I would not have voted for Obama if he was white and republican due to his stupidity and inability to be a leader....PERIOD.

      Hey Clunk, I saw this article yesterday. I dare say the MSM wont touch it. It comes with audio of Lee Atwater discussing the Southern Strategy (you know that whole bit that Republicans deny ever existed)


      You probably won't listen. But the whole strategy is still in play today. This isn't 1960-whatever, where news slowly makes its way around, a candidate farts and the world knows within minutes. More people are aware of the wolf in sheep's clothing.

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