Goodlatte re-elected in 6th District

Bob Goodlatte

U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke, swept past Democrat Kai Degner in the 6th Congressional District Tuesday.

Unofficial results show Goodlatte winning 68 percent of the vote to Degner’s 32 percent with 90 percent of precincts counted.

As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Goodlatte has been in the middle of some of the most politically touchy issues in Congress. His opposition was key to the House’s refusal to pass immigration reform legislation approved by the Senate and supported by President Obama.

On the other hand, Goodlatte worked with U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the ranking Democrat on the committee, to approve legislation that would reduce sentences for some federal drug crimes and reform other parts of the criminal justice system.

Despite some early optimism by Goodlatte, the legislation has so far failed to reach the floor of the House, although there is a chance it could be voted on in the forthcoming lame duck session.

Kai Degner

Goodlatte’s committee could also play a key role in any congressional investigation into FBI Director James Comey’s controversial decision to inform Congress 11 days before the election that the agency was renewing its inquiry into emails pertaining to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state.

Comey then told Congress about 36 hours before the polls opened that Clinton’s emails contained no evidence of criminality.

Degner, a Harrisonburg City Council member, campaigned as someone offering an opportunity for change. He reminded voters that Goodlatte, a 12-term veteran of Congress, had won his first election in 1992 with a promise to serve no more than six terms.

Degner, 36, argued that Goodlatte, 64, had grown too cozy with corporate interests and promised to pay more attention to 6th District constituents.

Goodlatte released a written statement thanking his supporters.

“The Sixth District came together today to strongly endorse a message of common sense, conservative leadership at the polls,” Goodlatte said. “I am honored that the voters have chosen me to be their representative. I will work hard to continue serving you whether it is fighting for a balanced budget amendment, checking executive overreach, protecting our constitutional freedoms, strengthening our borders and national security, standing up for life, or replacing Obamacare with real patient-centered health care solutions.”

Degner, who entered the race after another Democrat fell ill days before the filing deadline, said the campaign “went well” considering that Goodlatte vastly outspent him by millions of dollars.

Degner said those who had voted for him represented at least 100,000 voters.

“That’s a huge community of people that are looking for a functional Congress,” Degner said.

The district runs most of the length of the Shenandoah Valley from Roanoke in the south through all or part of the counties Amherst, Roanoke, Botetourt, Rockbridge, Bedford, Bath, Augusta, Highland, Rockingham, Page, Shenandoah and Warren.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com