As in the last presidential election, Virginia went blue — though by a narrower margin — and Rappahannock County itself, by a larger margin, stayed red.
Though a recount is expected in the tight attorney general race between state senators Mark Obenshain (R-26th), the apparent victor, and Mark Herring (D-6th), Virginia voters elected Democrats Terry McAuliffe and Ralph Northam as governor and lieutenant governor, defeating Republican opponents Ken Cuccinelli II and E.W. Jackson.
According to numbers gathered by the Associated Press and the Virginia Board of Elections, Obenshain won the attorney general race by a mere 300 votes, making the campaign among the closest ever statewide for Virginia. Herring now has the option to petition for a recount, but not until the State Board of Elections certifies the results on Nov. 25.
Much like previous years, a majority of Rappahannock County voted Republican.
More than 2.2 million votes were cast in Virginia for the governor race; McAuliffe led with 1,064,701 votes, though Cuccinelli wasn’t far behind with 1,009,878. (Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis received 145,418 votes.)
Incumbent Michael Webert (R-Marshall) won reelection to the 18th district House of Delegates seat by a wide margin (63 percent) over Democratic challenger Colin Harris, as did 30th-district Del. Ed Scott (R-Madison), who won by almost the same percentage over Democrat Traci Dippert, a Culpeper resident who works as a music teacher at Rappahannock County Elementary School.
Cuccinelli won five of Rappahannock’s six voting districts, though the margin in Washington was barely more than a percentage point. Cuccinelli had his best showing in Chester Gap, where he received more than 70 percent of the votes. McAuliffe, meanwhile, had his best showing in Sperryville, garnering 54 percent of the votes and handily beating Cuccinelli by a 10-percent margin.
Though Northam easily defeated Jackson across the state (1.2 million votes for Northam to 900,000 for Jackson), Jackson eked out a narrow victory among Rappahannock voters, besting Northam by three-tenths of a percentage point.
More than 2,800 Rappahannock voters cast their ballot overall; 1,442 voted for Jackson and 1,433 chose Northam. Washington, Sperryville and Scrabble went blue; Sperryville was the biggest margin of victory for Northam: 58 percent to 40. Flint Hill also sided with the Democrats, though only barely — Northam won Flint Hill by just a single vote, 177 to 176. Jackson, meanwhile, took Chester Gap and Amissville by large margins, outpacing Northam by more than 100 votes and 19 percent in both; Amissville was the single largest margin of victory for either candidate, as Jackson took an overwhelming 69 percent of the votes.
Del. Webert’s 18th district victory came on some 15,000 votes, or 63 percent of the total cast by voters in Rappahannock and parts of Warren, Culpeper and Fauquier counties. Democrat Harris, a 22-year-old Dartmouth graduate, finished with just under 9,000 votes, or 36 percent. Harris lost in each of the four counties in the district, though Rappahannock’s was the closest race — 1,616 for Webert, 1,278 for Harris.
Not surprisingly, each of the four local positions up for election went to the only people whose names appeared on the ballot. Chris Parrish retained his Stonewall-Hawthorne supervisor seat with 434 votes. Larry Grove earned the district’s seat on the school board with 431 votes, replacing Paul Brown, who decided not to run again.
Current Hampton district supervisor Mike Biniek received 466 votes, while school board member Aline Johnson received 484 votes — the most of any local candidate. All four races were uncontested.
According to unofficial numbers from voting registrar Kim McKiernan, more people voted in this election than the last odd-year statewide election in 2009, when 2,698 Rappahannockers cast their ballots. That number climbed by nearly 300 this year to 2,912. Absentee ballots are also on the rise, McKiernan said: 210 were tallied in 2009, while 236 were cast this year.