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Vogel, Minchew win straw polls at annual HobNob in the Valley

September 10th, 2011

Northern Virginia Daily

By Candace Sipos

WINCHESTER — Campaign signs mostly sporting red and blue hues were lined down the entrance to theShenandoah University Health Professions Building on Friday evening.

Almost 40 candidates running for local and state elections, along with many concerned citizens, drove through that entryway to reach the 12th annual HobNob in the Valley hosted by the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber.

Most of the 47 candidates running in 32 races in the state, city of Winchester, Frederick and Clarke counties showed up to campaign. Those in the eight contested races were also able to judge their chances among this crowd.

Of more than 350 people who showed up to the sold-out event, 212 of them cast a vote in the straw poll.

The straw poll winners of the two state contested races were Sen. Jill Vogel for the 27th District state Senate seat and Randy Minchew for the 10th District House of Delegates seat, both Republicans.

The two main speakers were actually representing the 2012 U.S. Senate seat that will be vacated by retiring Sen. Jim Webb. Former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine’s speech was followed by that of Susan Allen, wife ofGeorge Allen, former Republican senator and governor. Kaine and George Allen are seeking their respective party’s nominations for the position.

“I love coming to the HobNob,” Kaine said. “It exemplifies what’s best about us as a nation at a time when we need events like this.”

He said that Virginians need to work together to boost the state economy and perhaps the nation’s economic situation in turn.

“America’s got big challenges these days,” Kaine said. “I think Virginia has answers. I’m not pessimistic about our country. … The things that we’re doing in Virginia could be great lessons to take to Washington.”

Allen also expressed her concerns about the state’s economy.

“We look at our children and we wonder what kind of a future there is for America,” Mrs. Allen said. “I’m not sure that our young people are seeing the America that we saw growing up.”

Earlier, Mrs. Allen gave her opinion to the media ofObama’s Thursday night speech.

“I watched the whole thing,” she said. “I thought the president sounded almost angry. … I’m not sure that anything’s going to happen from it. I question whether it was just
a speech for political purposes.”

As for the candidates running for this year’s November election, they all report campaigning hard.

Minchew brought along his former opponent for the Republican ticket, John Whitbeck Jr.
“Republicans generally all pull together,” he said, noting that another former opponent, Cara Townsend, is also campaigning with him. “I feel good but I’m taking this race very seriously.”

Minchew’s opponent, Democrat Dave Butler, said he’s disappointed in the push polls that the Republicans sent out Thursday night.

“This negative campaigning has apparently started already,” Butler said. “They misrepresented some things that I said, especially on taxes.”

Butler’s campaign manager, Josh Goodman, said Butler was being “judicious.”

“From my perspective, when I heard what they said, it’s a flat-out lie,” Goodman said.

The other candidates who won the majority of straw poll votes in contested races were Bob Williamson for Frederick County sheriff, Ellen Murphy for Frederick County commissioner of the revenue, Gary Lofton for Frederick County’s Back Creek Board of Supervisors seat, Stuart Wolk for Frederick County’s School Board at-large seat, Bev McKay for Clarke County’s White Post Board of Supervisors seat and Jennifer Welliver for Clarke County’s Berryville School Board seat.

 

Minchew wins 10th District Republican primary

August 25th, 2011

Winchester Star

By Adam Van Hart

J. Randall “Randy” Minchew will be the Republican candidate on the November ballot for the new 10th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Minchew, 54, a Loudoun County attorney, won Tuesday’s open GOP primary with 1,193 or 40.4 percent of the votes cast in the 10th District, which stretches from Loudoun County to Frederick County. There are 50,304 registered voters overall in the district.

Minchew bested fellow Republicans John C. Whitbeck Jr., 35, who received 1,106 votes (37.5 percent) and Cara Townsend, 34, who garnered 647 (22 percent). Whitbeck and Townsend are both Loudoun residents.

“I’ve been blessed by voters tonight, and I’m not taking it for granted,” said Minchew, who will face Democrat David Butler, a Leesburg Town Council member, in the general election.

With Minchew as the Republican nominee, the party will be looking to add to its majority in the House in a district that doesn’t have an incumbent.

The 10th District was located in southwestern Virginia before this year’s redistricting process that followed the 2010 census. It is currently represented by Del. Ward Armstrong, D-Martinsville, the House’s minority leader.

But Minchew said winning the Nov. 8 general election will not be easy since Butler is a well-known politician.

He also noted that he did not perform as well in Frederick County as he had hoped.

Although Minchew won in Clarke and Loudoun counties, Whitbeck took Frederick by 88 votes.

“I also appreciate that I have more work to do in Frederick,” Minchew said.

Toward the end of the primary campaign, while candidates tried to present themselves as the most conservative choice, things became testy between Whitbeck and Minchew.

Both candidates downplayed the tension Tuesday. Minchew said Whitbeck had called and offered a “gracious” congratulations.

“Randy Minchew has my full support as the party’s nominee, and I’ll do all that I can to make sure he wins the election,” Whitbeck said.

Townsend said before Tuesday’s results were known that she planned to support “whatever candidate wins.”

With his win, Minchew will now shift gears toward the general election, including fundraising.

With $32,316 leftover as of Aug. 10, Minchew will have to replenish his coffers, but he isn’t far behind his general election opponent.

Butler had only $36,862 left in his campaign fund on Aug. 10.

“As far as I’m concerned, we are starting campaigning at 8 a.m. tomorrow,” Minchew said Tuesday night.

Voter turnout was light for the primary, which was one of 16 around the state.

While it was the first chance for voters to cast ballots in the new 10th District, only a few did.

About 5.5 percent of the more than 11,000 registered voters in the Frederick and Clarke portions of the district went to the polls. Because of Virginia’s election laws, all primaries are open, which allows for any registered voter to cast a ballot.

In Frederick, only voters in the Shawnee District and its four voting precincts, bordered by Interstate 81 to the west, Senseny Road to the north and Fairfax Pike (Va. 277) to the south, can vote.

In Clarke, the 10th District takes in the entire White Post District and part of the Millwood District. The district boundary travels east on Senseny Road and south along Springsbury Road, eventually moving east along Morgans Mill Road.

The low voter interest wasn’t a complete surprise. Robert Bronson, the precinct chief at Armel Elementary school in Frederick County, said it was expected.

“We were told it would be light,” he said.

In Frederick, 397 voters come out, about 4.6 percent of the eligible 8,539 who were registered. County Registrar Rick Miller said that the final cost of the election wasn’t immediately known Tuesday.

By about 1:30 p.m., Mitzi Hamilton, 57, the precinct chief at Evendale Elementary in Frederick County, knew exactly how many voters had come: 38.

“I thought that there would be more people because it was a Republican primary,” she said. “Republicans are pretty well known for getting the vote out.”

At Powhatan School in Clarke’s Millwood district, poll workers said that by 3 p.m., only about 50 voters had come.

Voters also noticed there wasn’t an overwhelming amount of interest in the primary.

Debbie Henderson, 48, was one of the few to cast a ballot in the Armel precinct.

She brought her son Tobias, 17, along to experience the voting process, and said she voted for Whitbeck.

“I thought it would have had a line at least,” Henderson said.

Brenda Chavarria, 60, cast her vote at the Powhatan School.

A registered Republican, Chavarria said she tries to always vote in primaries.

“I think it all starts at the grass roots,” Chavarria said.

Inside the school’s gymnasium, there were only poll workers and poll watchers waiting for voters.

Clarke, while having the smallest number of registered voters, cast 245 votes, 7.8 percent of the 3,126 registered voters – the best of all three counties.

Registrar Barbara Bosserman, who estimated the primary would cost around $2,500, said she was OK with the turnout.

The turnout in Loudoun County, where the majority of the district’s voters live, was also low, with 2,304 votes being cast, a 5.6 percent turnout of its 38,638 eligible residents.

 

Minchew, Webert take GOP primaries

August 25th, 2011

Northern Virginia Daily

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.

 

Letter to the Editor: Delegate Joe May Endorsement

August 21st, 2011

Clarke Daily News

 

Joe T. May

Delegate, 33rd District

Virginia House of Delegates

Loudoun, Clarke, and Frederick Counties

 

August 17, 2011

RE: My Endorsement of Randy Minchew, Conservative Republican Candidate for the new 10th District

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you as your former delegate to the Virginia House of Delegates. As you probably know, our old 33rd District was changed by the redistricting done this past Spring and a new 10th District was created out of the precincts that were formerly in my district. While I will miss the honor of representing you in Richmond, I am writing to let you know that I strongly endorse Randy Minchew to be your new delegate from the new 10th District. Randy has the integrity, experience, and conservative credentials to serve you well in Richmond and I could think of no finer gentlemen to have represent you and work with me in the House of Delegates in fighting to keep our taxes low and in working on important legislative matters to protect our families and encourage job creation and business growth.

Next Tuesday, August 23rd, is your day to vote in the election that will decide the Republican candidate in the new 10th Virginia House of Delegates district. Please remember to vote that day and join Bobbie and me in supporting Randy Minchew for election as the Republican candidate who can best ensure that we hold the new 10th District seat in Republican control. I have known Randy very well since he worked on my first campaign in 1993 and he is one of the most outstanding Republicans I have ever known. I strongly support him in this contest, and hope you will vote for him with confidence and enthusiasm.

Randy has served as Deputy Counselor and Advisor to Governor Bob McDonnell. He has worked with the Governor and Congressman Frank Wolf to fund our regional road network – without higher taxes. He has been an outstanding leader in regional economic development having chaired the Loudoun County Economic Development Commission and the Rural Economic Development Task Force. Randy has also served as Scoutmaster of the Boy Scout Troop in Leesburg and volunteers much of his time toward mentoring young men as a regional leader of the Boy Scouts of America. I also see Randy regularly at church where he serves as a lay minister and discipleship leader.

At a time when so many Americans are skeptical of politicians and their promises, I can tell you that Randy Minchew is worthy of your trust. He is a man of his word and possesses great personal integrity and honor. I am confident Randy will work for you, with me, and with our House of Delegates Republican caucus for the betterment of Virginia.

Randy is a rock solid conservative – and has been for decades. He’s not new to the conservative cause. He didn’t just discover the Second Amendment. He has never wavered from his pro‐life, pro‐family convictions, and his strong support for traditional marriage. As a distinguished attorney and one of Governor McDonnell’s senor advisors and attorneys, Randy has successfully fought for public policies that protect our Constitutional liberties, the rights of the unborn, and advance the quality of life of our citizens. I know he will continue to do so as your next Delegate.

Randy Minchew has done more than talk about reforming government. He has worked closely with Governor McDonnell on state policies that cut government spending and lower our taxes. Randy believes that Virginia’s families should keep more of their hard earned income, and we agree!

It was my great honor to represent you in Richmond and I want you to have a delegate who shares my vision for our region and who will work with me and other conservative Republicans on your behalf. I earnestly believe that delegate should be Randy Minchew and I endorse him without reservation.

Please mark your calendar to vote for Randy Minchew on August 23rd. Call your friends and neighbors today and ask them to do the same. Polling locations will be open from 6 AM to 7 PM, and voting will take just a few minutes of your time.

Very truly yours,

Joe T. May

 

Letter to the Editor: Ken Reid, Leesburg

August 18th, 2011

Leesburg Today

Dear Editor: Leesburg and Loudoun residents have a golden opportunity this Tuesday Aug. 23 to send one of our finest citizens to the General Assembly to secure action on transportation, schools, jobs and important legislation.

Please vote for Randy Minchew in the Primary Election Aug. 23.

I have known Randy since the late 1970s, through a mutual college friend, way before I moved to Leesburg. I know Randy as a man of integrity and commitment to God, family and community.

He has been Scoutmaster of the Leesburg Boy Scout Troop, very active in his church, St. James, and is an outstanding local attorney. As past chairman of the Loudoun County Republican Committee, Randy has counseled and helped numerous Republicans get elected to office, and most notably, worked in Gov. McDonnell’s administration, which successfully secured $4 billion in transportation dollars for Virginia without raising taxes.

Without these funds, Chairman Scott York, who also supports Randy, could not have secured the funds to build the Sycolin Road/Leesburg Bypass overpass and the interchange at Route 7 and Belmont Ridge Road. Loudoun commuters will be better off with these improvements and we have to thank Gov. McDonnell, Chairman York and Randy Minchew for making it happen.

Because of Randy’s excellent connections with Gov. McDonnell, House Speaker Bill Howell and other top leaders in the Virginia House and Senate, he will not be relegated as a freshman backbencher who might find difficulties getting legislation passed. His connections and experience in Richmond will ensure Randy will help get financial aid for transportation and schools and needed legislation for our town and county.

Randy also has the support our distinguished Delegate Joe May. Working with Joe and other local leaders, Loudoun will benefit greatly.

Unfortunately, his opponent, John Whitbeck, has flooded the 10th district with outlandish mail pieces which often stretch the truth about Randy’s record. But when you do not have Randy’s record of accomplishments like on transportation and school proffers, it is easy to throw stones.

Randy Minchew, as delegate, will not stretch the truth and mislead his constituents. He is a straight shooter.

Voters should not be tricked by these attacks.Results matter, not rhetoric. Given our county’s needs, it would be a great loss if voters did not elect someone like Randy Minchew.

Ken Reid, Leesburg