Democrats do better in Winchester, GOP gains in rural areas

Republican candidates for statewide offices fared better in Shenandoah and Warren counties during Tuesday’s election than they did four years ago, despite the fact that the race as a whole moved heavily in the Democrats’ favor.

In every single precinct in Shenandoah County, Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie received a higher percentage of the votes than the last election cycle’s nominee, Ken Cuccinelli, received. In Warren County, Gillespie outperformed Cuccinelli in everything but absentee voting.

Ralph Northam, meanwhile, received a slightly lower percentage of the vote in the two counties than Gov. Terry McAuliffe did, even though third-party voting dropped by several percentage points in the county and the state. (Northam did receive a higher percentage of votes in some precincts within these counties.)

Yet Northam cruised to a 9-point victory Tuesday, while McAuliffe won in a tight, 2-point race.

But the trend toward the Republican candidates was limited to the southern, more rural parts of the region.

Frederick and Winchester mirrored the state as a whole in the gubernatorial election. In Frederick County, Gillespie received a little more of the vote on Tuesday – by less than 1 percent – than Cuccinelli received in 2009. But Northam received around 34 percent of the vote, compared to the 31 percent McAuliffe received.

The changes in Winchester were more pronounced. McAuliffe lost Winchester by a margin of around 1 percent; Northam won the city 54 percent to 45 percent.

The same pattern held true in the other statewide contests. John Adams, the Republican attorney general candidate, performed worse in Frederick County and Winchester than the Republican nominee four years ago, Mark Obenshain.

But in Warren and Shenandoah counties, Adams performed better than Obenshain did — even though Obenshain lost by less than one-tenth of a percent, while Adams lost by over six points.

Jill Vogel, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, performed better in Winchester and Shenandoah, Warren and Frederick counties than Republican Earl Walker Jackson Sr. did in 2009.

Vogel also outperformed Jackson  across the state. Northam defeated Jackson by almost 10 percentage points in 2009, while Justin Fairfax won by around 5 percent.

Meanwhile, across the state and in the region, Democratic candidates fared better in more highly populated areas.

In more sparsely populated parts of the region, like New Market and Edinburg, Gillespie captured over 70 percent of the vote. In places like Woodstock and Strasburg, Gillespie’s numbers hovered around 60 percent.