In a night when Republicans lost control of their slim majority in Virginia’s House of Delegates, Republicans representing Shenandoah and Warren counties will return to Richmond next year as members of the minority party.
Todd Gilbert, R-Mount Jackson, will lose his position as the majority leader in the House but kept his seat safe after he faced competition for the first time in 10 years, according to the Virginia Public Access Project and Associated Press.
Beverly Harrison, a Democrat from Woodstock, made a run at the incumbent with a grassroots campaign that hooked arms with other Democrats running in rural parts of the state. A network of small-dollar donors buoyed Harrison on the campaign trail but in the end, Gilbert kept his seat, rolling through Page, Warren and Shenandoah counties collecting wins in every precinct and picking up the absentee ballots victories as well.
“I was disappointed in the outcome of my race,” Harrison said, “but I was extremely pleased and honored to work with so many excellent candidates around the state.”
Harrison said Rural Ground Game, the network of 10 Democratic candidates who pooled resources to run against entrenched incumbents, is already planning to carry similar networks to other parts of the country.
Gilbert collected 18,903 votes (74.36%) compared to Harrison’s 6,487 votes (25.52%) of the vote. Unofficial results show 30 voters wrote in a name rather than voting for either Gilbert or Harrison.
Gilbert hadn’t faced a challenge from a Democrat since 2009 when he collected 16,168 votes (69.27%) compared to challenger John Lesinski’s 7,155 votes (30.65%).
Gilbert said in a statement he was honored to be reelected and said his margin of victory was a “testament to how hard I have worked to reflect my constituents’ values, to fix their problems and to be available to hear their concerns.”
Michael Webert, R-Marshall, fended off Laura Galante, a Democrat from Marshall, to hold on to his seat in the Virginia House of Delegates according to Virginia Public Access Project.
Despite large investments in her campaign from the Democratic Party of Virginia and out-raising Webert almost 2:1, Galante couldn’t overcome the deep-red leanings of House District 18, failing to close the gap by even 10% in any of the counties they represent, according to unofficial results from the Virginia Department of Elections.
Galante’s campaign released a statement Tuesday evening stating that while the outcome was disappointing, her goal in running against Webert was about raising awareness of issues rural Virginians care about more than winning a political position.
Her campaign’s statement touted the efforts volunteers made to support her in the form of showing up to knock on doors and make phone calls.
Galante won two precincts in Rappahannock County – Sperryville and Flint Hill – and picked up 71% of the absentee ballot votes in Rappahannock County and 53% of absentee ballots in Fauquier County.
Webert collected 16,640 votes (60.31%) compared to Galante’s 10,720 (38.86%) with 229 write-in candidates making up the remaining 0.83% of votes.
In the House District 29 race, Chris Collins, R-Winchester, defeated Irina Khanin, D-Winchester, barely losing Winchester City but winning over voters in Frederick and Warren counties.
In Collins’ neighboring district, Wendy Gooditis, R-Winchester, scraped past Randy Minchew, a Republican, to hold her seat in a competitive district. Collins didn’t feel the blue pressure on his campaign. Though he lost Winchester City as a whole, he did pick up half of the precincts including the absentee ballots.
At the end of the night, Collins took 15,530 votes (64.88%) compared to Khanin’s 8,391 votes (35.05%). The remaining 0.07% of the votes were filled with 17 write-in ballots.
VOTING BY PRECINCT
House District 15: Todd Gilbert (R) vs. Beverly Harrison (D)
Shenandoah County: Gilbert - 9,618; Harrison - 3,505
Orkney Springs: Gilbert - 448; Harrison - 205
New Market: Gilbert - 1,022; Harrison - 349
Conicville: Gilbert - 864; Harrison - 219
Mount Jackson: Gilbert - 701; Harrison - 189
Edinburg: Gilbert - 778; Harrison - 189
St. Luke: Gilbert - 858; Harrison - 159
Fort Valley: Gilbert - 447; Harrison - 143
Woodstock: Gilbert - 1,339; Harrison - 654
Cedar Creek: Gilbert - 59; Harrison - 24
Toms Brook: Gilbert - 975; Harrison - 336
Lebanon Church: Gilbert - 664; Harrison - 194
Strasburg: Gilbert - 1,138; Harrison - 523
Absentee: Gilbert - 325; Harrison - 244
Warren County: Gilbert - 2,356; Harrison - 992
Fork Town: Gilbert - 434; Harrison - 260
Otterburn: Gilbert - 1,076; Harrison - 413
South River: Gilbert - 23; Harrison - 12
Bentonville: Gilbert - 410; Harrison - 135
Browntown: Gilbert - 327; Harrison - 140
Absentee: Gilbert - 86; Harrison - 32
House District 18: Michael Webert (R) vs. Laura Galante (D)
Warren County: Webert - 3,419; Galante - 1,895
Happy Creek: Webert - 848; Galante - 456
Linden: Webert - 657; Galante - 389
East Shenandoah: Webert - 1,051; Galante - 469
South River: Webert - 753; Galante - 474
Absentee: Webert - 110; Galante - 107
House District 29: Chris Collins (R) vs. Irinia Khanin (D)
Warren County: Collins - 2,050; Khanin - 932
Fork Town: Collins - 40; Khanin - 5
North River: Collins - 595; Khanin - 337
Riverton: Collins - 822; Khanin - 307
Town - West Shenandoah: Collins - 518; Khanin - 240
Absentee: Collins - 75; Khanin - 43