Incumbent 6th district congressman Bob Goodlatte didn’t have to wait long for Tuesday’s primary results to roll in showing an inevitable wide margin of victory. Goodlatte received almost twice as many votes as did his primary opponent Karen Kwiatkowski who received 34 percent of the vote. Seven percent of active voters participated in Tuesday’s Republican primary.
Kwiatkowski won the city of Harrisonburg by 14 votes and came close in Rockingham and Page counties. Roanoke City and Roanoke County went for Goodlatte with an overwhelmingly at 71 percent and 77 percent respectively.
Tuesday evening Goodlatte celebrated his win with his wife Maryellen, his daughter Jennifer and about 70 supporters at the Hotel Roanoke. Goodlatte spoke to his supporters and campaign staff thanking his team and vowing victory in November against his rival, Democrat Andy Schmookler of Shennandoah County.
With the right leadership Goodlatte said, “we should have a strong effort to balance our budget and reign in the power of the federal government.” He touted the more than 30 bills that the Republican dominated House of Representatives had passed but languished in a pile in the Democratic controlled U.S. Senate.
He added, “I look forward to another five months of campaigning and we will start right away reaching out to all the voters of this district.”
When ask later if there were any surprises in the campaign results he said, “once we decided to run a positive campaign I felt very good about how we were developing this race. We think the response we got was probably in spite of the relentless attacks and was a testament to running a positive campaign resulting in a landslide victory.”
Goodlatte said he would evaluate whether to debate his Democratic opponent later as they plan how to conduct the next campaign.
Virginia Senator Ralph Smith who earlier introduced Goodlatte talked later about Friday’s gathering of the Republican Central Committee who will possibly toss the previous year’s members decision to hold a primary in favor of a convention. “I have been a supporter of conventions for a long time,” he said.
Smith introduced a bill (SB276) in the 2012 session that would give political parties the authority to determine the method nomination and not the incumbent candidates. He supports conventions across the board and hopes the RPV reconsiders changing from a 2013 primary to a convention.
Smith’s bill was defeated in the senate because some senators said it would impact candidates who were not members of a party. Smith responded by saying, “then go and get your own party.” He said the two-party system has worked well in comparison to dictator-type countries that have 50 political parties.
Smith said it scared incumbents because, “Quite frankly it takes power away from elected officials.” He contends that neither party is closed to any candidate wanting to volunteer or join a committee. If people don’t like the way a party is being run “they are entitled to come help change the system.” This is the type of bill Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli had put in when he was in the Senate said Smith.
He praised Lt. Governor Bill Bolling for his fairness when breaking tie votes and had hoped Bolling would stay put. Cuccinelli and Bolling are squaring off for the Republican nomination for governor in 2013.
A convention is said to favor Cuccinelli while Bolling is banking on the already decided primary means of winning the nomination. Recent polls show Cuccinelli way ahead of Bolling in a primary but Smith disputes those numbers. Smith said he has not endorsed either Cuccinelli or Bolling.