The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Friday, June 11, 2010
By JOEL TURNER - Staff Writer
Former Congressman Virgil H. Goode Jr. will support State Sen. Robert Hurt in his race against Fifth District Rep. Tom Perriello.
Goode represented the district in Congress for six terms but lost his seat to Perriello in 2008 by a margin of only 727 votes.
Goode said he will make a formal endorsement at a later date.
Hurt won the Republican nomination for the Fifth District in Congress by a convincing margin this week, but James McKelvey narrowly defeated Hurt in Franklin County.
Hurt, a Chatham attorney, won 48 percent of the vote in the district that includes 22 counties and cities, stretching from Charlottesville to Danville and east to Brunswick County. Hurt received 17,104 votes.
McKelvey, a Franklin County real estate developer, ran second in the Republican primary with 26 percent of the vote. McKelvey received 9,124 votes.
The other five GOP candidates ran far behind Hurt and McKelvey.
"I am humbled and grateful for the support of the voters in the Fifth District," Hurt said. "And I am thankful to all six of my opponents for their hard work and the strengths that each brought to this process."
"And I am grateful for their gracious response to our win. I look forward to working with all of them to beat Tom Perriello on Nov. 2."
McKelvey won in Franklin County with 46.5 percent of the votes to Hurt's 45.6 percent. McKelvey received 1,979 votes in Franklin County to 1,942 for Hurt.
McKelvey congratulated Hurt on his victory.
"We, as conservatives, must be unified to defeat Tom Perriello this November," McKelvey said.
McKelvey said he will be forming a political action committee to bring together those who share the ideals of limited government, fiscal responsibility and the essential foundations of our government as established by the founding fathers.
McKelvey thanked voters who supported him, saying he was humbled by the confidence placed in him.
Gov. Bob McDonnell also congratulated Hurt on his victory.
"Fifth District Republicans nominated a dedicated state Senator Robert Hurt. While the Virginia legislators will be without one of its best lawmakers, the citizens of the Fifth District will benefit from Robert's passion, intellect and deep understanding of the challenges they face in this tough economy," McDonnell said.
In Franklin County, 13 percent of the 34,015 registered voters cast ballots in the GOP primary.
Voter turnout was 8 percent for the entire Fifth District.
Hurt's win sets up a three-way race in November among Hurt, Democrat Congressman Tom Perriello and independent Jeffrey Clark of Danville.
During the GOP primary campaign, Hurt largely ignored his Republican opponents and focused instead on Perriello, who is seeking his second term.
Hurt accused Perriello of "representing (Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi and liberal special interest groups" while Virginia families have lost their jobs and seen their retirement funds disappear.
"He (Perriello) promised that if we passed a trillion dollar stimulus package, it would help unemployment in our district -- it hasn't," Hurt said.
Hurt had the support of more than half a dozen Republican members of the General Assembly in winning the GOP primary.
Hurt also had the endorsement of the man that he succeeded in the Virginia Senate, former Sen. Charles Hawkins of Chatham.
"Get out and elect Robert Hurt," Hawkins told a campaign rally on the eve of the GOP primary election.
Hawkins held the 19th Senate District seat for 16 years before he retired in 2007. He also served in the House of Delegates for 10 years before being elected to the Senate.
Del. Charles Poindexter (R-Franklin County) also endorsed Hurt.
Hurt is a "proven leader whose extensive legal and legislative experience will serve to accomplish his state goals in Congress," Poindexter said. "Among those goals, he supports a balanced budget amendment, tax cuts to invigorate and grow the economy, reduced regulations on small businesses, earmark reform legislation and forward-thinking energy policies."
In addition to Hawkins and Poindexter, Hurt was supported by Republican state legislators throughout the Fifth District.
He was endorsed by Dels. Watkins Abbitt (Appomattox, Albemarle and Fluvanna counties), James Edmunds (Halifax and Prince Edward counties), Danny Marshal (Danville, Pittsylvania and Henry counties), Don Merricks (Martinsville, Henry and Pittsylvania counties) and Tommy Wright (Amelia. Brunswick, Mecklenburg and Nottaway).
Hurt also had the backing of State Sen. Frank Ruff (Appomattox, Brunswick, Fluvanna and Halifax counties).
Sylvia Hutto, chair of the Franklin County Democratic Committee, said that the Republicans in the primary didn't run against each other.
"They all ran against Tom (Perriello)," Hutto said.
Hurt was one of the most vocal critics of Perriello.
On the campaign trail in 2008, Hurt said that Perriello promised to make job creation his top priority.
"Since his time in office, Fifth District families and businesses have seen unemployment rates rise to record levels," Hurt said.
"Rep. Perriello has spent the majority of his time in Congress focused on a government run healthcare bill that the majority of his constituents oppose, a cap and trade bill that would increase taxes on already struggling small businesses and an $800 billion stimulus package," Hurt said.
But Perriello has responded that Republicans are using "scare tactics based on falsehoods" to frighten senior citizens about the health care reform legislation that was recently passed by Congress.
Perriello, who voted for health care reform, said that the legislative package includes many benefits in health care for seniors and improvements in Medicare.