Minchew, Webert take GOP primaries
By Candace Sipos
Tuesday’s Republican primary has left two of five GOP candidates standing in their fight to represent theNorthern Shenandoah Valley in the General Assembly.
J. Randall ”Randy” Minchew and Michael J. Webert have won the GOP nominations for the House of Delegates in the 10th and 18th districts, respectively.
Minchew said he attributes the win mostly to his energetic, organized campaign.
“We planned our work and worked our plan,” he said, adding that constituents knew his face from his myriad of other community activities.
“I think there was some help there, because people have seen me in other community and public service capacities,” he said.
Minchew noted that he knew the race would be a close one from the beginning.
“We all ran a very spirited campaign,” he said, after praising his two opponents for their diligence and involvement in the area.
Minchew took home 1,193 votes, or about 40 percent. The runner-up, John C. L. Whitbeck, Jr., only lost by 87 votes with 1,106 votes total, while Cara M. Townsendwon 647 votes.
Clarke County had 90 votes for Minchew and 85 for Whitbeck, while Frederick County sent only 107 votes Minchew’s way and 195 votes to Whitbeck.
Minchew said he has no evidence that Whitbeck will contest, especially because Whitbeck called him shortly after the results surfaced to congratulate him and offer his support.
At 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, there was still one precinct in Culpeper with unreported results, but Webert’s opponent,Kevin P. Kelley, made his concession speech regardless.
Webert took 2,007 votes, or more than 56 percent of the reported vote. Kelley lagged behind with 1,552 votes, or about 44 percent.
Warren County had the least close race of any of the four jurisdictions in the 18th District, with only 38 percent of the vote going to Kelley, and more than 61 percent to Webert.
Webert said his victory came down to hard work.
“We knocked on a lot of doors,” he said, adding that his volunteers were also a major part of the equation. “We called a lot of people… I’ll just say that the race was hard fought. My opponent made me work harder than I’ve ever had to work before.”
While he celebrated Tuesday night, Webert said he’s going to keep his head in the game.
“We’re going to begin to set up a game plan for the general election much like we did with the primary and bring everyone together to move forward with theRepublican Party,” he said.
Less than half of total registered voters turned out for this primary. Only 245 of more than 3,000 voters, or about 8 percent, showed up at the polls in Clarke County. In Frederick County, 397 of more than 8,500 voters, or about 5 percent, voted. Only 282, or about 2 percent, of voters in Warren County came out to the polls.
In all, less than 6 percent of registered voters in the 10th District voted, while less than 7 percent voted in the 18th District.
Both winners will represent newly redistricted areas. The General Assembly reconfigured the areas this spring after analyzing census results. The 10th District includes parts of Loudoun, Frederick and Clarke counties. The 18th District now boasts sections of Warren, Culpeper and Fauquier counties as well as the entirety of Rappahannock County.
Minchew’s opponent is now Dave Butler, who has served on the Leesburg Town Council for three years. Butler was vying against fellow Democrat James Magner, but Magner dropped out of the race in mid-June to avoid the clash.
Webert will now face Bob Zwick of Marshall, the only Democratic candidate, in November’s general election. They will fight for the seat vacated by retiring Del. Clifford L. “Clay” Athey.
Election Day is Nov. 8.