GOP rolls in local contests

Posted: November 7, 2013

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — Area Republicans won their races in Tuesday night’s election, but they may be losing their cohesion.

House of Delegates candidates in the 10th, 29th and 33rd districts were all victorious.

Attorney Randy Minchew, Leesburg, won re-election in the 10th District, defeating Democratic challenger Monte Johnson — a project manager from Brambleton — 13,219 votes to 10,027, according to the Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE).

In the 29th District, retired physician Mark Berg, of Frederick County, defeated Independent Larry Yates, a Winchester author and publisher, with about 65 percent of the vote. Berg had 12,721 votes to Yates’s 6,699.

In the 33rd District, Dave LaRock, a Hamilton general contractor, defeated Democrat Mary Costello Daniel, an attorney and Berryville town councilwoman, and Libertarian Patrick Hagerty, a Leesburg business owner.

LaRock had 13,801 votes (54 percent), Daniel 11,027 (43 percent) and Hagerty 872 (3 percent).

Berg and LaRock have strong ties to the tea party and had unseated two incumbents considered to be moderate Republicans in the June primary.

LaRock toppled Joe May, R-Leesburg, and Berg defeated Beverly Sherwood, R-Frederick County — both seeking an 11th term in office.

According to Winchester Republican Committee Chairman Beau Correll, after Sherwood and May were knocked out, some within the GOP lost their enthusiasm for campaign volunteerism.

“I noticed that the more moderate activists more or less sat this race out when it came to volunteering, so it was up to conservatives like myself to be the manpower to fight for the ticket,” he said.

“I was really surprised by the LaRock victory. While I side with his values, I kind of viewed the race from a distance, and watching it, it looked like a dead heat, or Mary Daniel ahead. She appears to me to be a right-leaning Democrat that would properly reflect both the district and her predecessor, but at the end that did not overcome Dave LaRock’s Grade A grass-roots game.”

Correll said there has been some splintering within the local GOP, especially in the 29th District, where it appeared a last-minute write-in campaign for Sherwood was attempted.

He described such efforts as “puzzling.”

“I wouldn’t say there’s a split within the party, however I was deeply disturbed by some of our committee members going off the reservation, and endorsing a third-party write-in candidate,” Correll said. “There’s a time for that, and that’s the primary.”

Frederick County Republican Committee Chairman Michael Lindsay also noted the tea party support that LaRock and Berg enjoyed.

“I think they both ran excellent campaigns, and I think that they both articulated the issues facing the voters and they did an outstanding job as judged by the results,” he said.

Lindsay said LaRock “ran a textbook campaign.”

“He really got out there with the voters,” he said.

LaRock did skip several candidate forums, Lindsay acknowledged.

“I know that he had some scheduling conflicts with some of the forums,” Lindsay said. “He was out there walking door-to-door. I know for a fact he spent a lot of time in Frederick County, which is one of the reasons he did so well [there].”

LaRock had his largest margin of victory in Frederick County, where he had 2,834 votes (61 percent), followed by Daniel with 1,650 (36 percent) and Hagerty with 149 (3 percent).

Clarke County voters cast 1,756 votes for LaRock (53 percent), 1,471 for Daniel (44 percent) and 100 for Hagerty (3 percent).

In Loudoun County, LaRock received 9,211 votes (52 percent), Daniel 7,906 (44 percent) and Hagerty 623 (about 4 percent).

Frederick County voters cast 2,516 votes for Minchew (70 percent) and 1,046 for Johnson (29 percent).

Clarke County voters cast 932 votes (60 percent) for Minchew, and 613 (40 percent) for Johnson, according to the SBE.

In Loudoun County, 54 percent of voters, or 9,771, preferred Minchew to 46 percent, or 8,368, for Johnson.

In Frederick County, Berg had 8,271 votes (about 70 percent), to 3,461 for Yates (about 29 percent).

Warren County residents picked Berg 1,527 votes (65 percent) to 799.

The race was closest in Winchester, with Berg pulling in 2,923 votes (54 percent) to Yates’s 2,439 (45 percent).

— Contact Sally Voth at