Dave Nutter handily defeated Tripp Godsey in Tuesday’s 21st District Republican primary. But as the numbers rolled in from Virginia’s State Board of Elections, Godsey, the Roanoke Tea Party candidate, held a slim lead and ultimately carried both Roanoke County and Roanoke City. Godsey’s campaign manager, Greg Aldridge, was emboldened, saying that Nutter “with all of his money and the governor’s support – we still cleaned his clock here.”
“Godsey was a big winner today,” said Aldridge in a phone call. Aldridge says they have started a Tea Party in Blacksburg where they plan to launch the same strategy.
Aldridge then confirmed Godsey’s commitment to support Del. Dave Nutter for the general election in November.
With 2.3 percent of those registered voting on Tuesday, Nutter received 66 percent of the total vote, according to the Virginia SBE unofficial tally. Nutter achieved the win by garnering 85 percent of the vote in Montgomery County where the turnout was heaviest.
Nutter said in a phone call that he “was sunburned and tired but ready for the run to November.” He felt he had Montgomery and Giles County in the bag all along, and had spent Tuesday at Roanoke’s Lee-Hi precinct.
Nutter walked Lee-Hi and won that precinct as well as South Roanoke precincts one and two. “You can’t walk every precinct and you can’t take a primary for granted,” said Nutter.
“It’s a struggle to get people out,” said Nutter. He recounted how even his friends were saying that he was going to win anyway, so he put all his effort in getting his supporters to the polls.
Nutter attributed Godsey’s lead in Roanoke City and County to the Valley being Godsey’s home. He plans to work heavily in the Roanoke area going into the general election.
“We’re well positioned going into the general,” said Nutter. “We’ll secure the Republican base and make sure they know who I am,” he said.
“In the primary you are talking to a very select group of people and in the general election you reach out to all people,” said Nutter.
He will hold to his message that the issue is jobs. “It doesn’t matter whether you live in an urban or rural area or the racial makeup – it’s still about jobs,” he said.
Nutter said he is looking forward to debating Democrat incumbent John Edwards who he will face on November 8.