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In one of the most exciting races to follow on election night in my personal history, with more lead changes than some NASCAR races, the votes appear to be in now in the 22nd Senate District and it appears Louisa Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Garrett is the winner with just under 26% of the vote!

For most of the evening, it looked like Dr. Brian D. Bates, Ph. D., Buckingham County Supervisor and professor of anthropology at Hampden-Sydney would prevail, at one point opening up a nearly 700 vote margin over Garrett.

But suddenly, the City of Lynchburg returns boosted local attorney Mark J. Peake to the front from third place and Garrett was moved to third.  It looked like Peake or Bates for sure.  Garrett got votes in Louisa to cut the Peake lead but not change the status. It seemed that the margin of victory in Louisa might decide the race.

But the Fluvanna vote stubbornly refused to come in – I wondered if the earthquake swallowed all the ballots in Fluvanna!  Garrett looked strong in Fluvanna with the support of Delegate Rob Bell and Feda Kidd Morton, a local GOP activist and candidate for Congress in 2010.  (Garrett also had key endorsements from Attorney General Cuccinelli, the NRA and Delegate Bill Janis.)  However, the seven precincts from Fluvanna would decide the race!

Six precincts came in and Garrett jumped to the lead!  But one remained and the Louisa prosecutor’s margin was only 96 votes!  Excitement was almost too much for this blogger who knows a close race when he sees one:

June 13, 1989:  Larry Newsom 1621, E. E. “Sandy”Sanders, Jr., 1500 – 51st Distirct GOP primary in Woodbridge!

Betcha didn’t know I ran for office before!  But I digress:

That seventh precinct came in and Garrett became the unofficial winner with 3239 votes to Bates’ 3068 and Peake’s 2809.  Richmond Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Rhode had a strong fourth place with 2560.  Rounding out the five candidates is Amherst County Supervisor Claudia Tucker.  (If the vote difference is less than .5% the state will pay for the recount if any.  I think the margin of victory is over that as Bates had just over 24.5%.  I do not expect a recount in this race.)

Hats off to Tom but having lost a narrow hard-fought election battle, I can understand the feelings right now of the other candidates, especially those who held the lead.  I hope many successes in politics for all the hopefuls (I was particularly impressed with the caliber of the candidates running this time!) and a new title for Tom Garrett – Senator!

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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