Garrett files for second term; Cockburn outperforms opponents in contributions

Rep. Tom Garrett has officially filed his reelection paperwork with the 5th District Republican Committee and the Virginia State Board of Elections, making him the first and thus far only candidate for the GOP nomination for his seat.

“It has been an incredible honor to serve the people of the 5th congressional district in Washington, sitting in the same seat as such great Virginians as James Madison and John Randolph,” Garrett stated this week. “I will continue to work every day to bring more jobs and opportunity to the 5th district and lower taxes for hardworking Virginians.”

Meanwhile, one of several Democrats who hopes to get a shot at unseating the freshman Republican congressman — 5th district candidate Leslie Cockburn, who resides in Rappahannock County — has outraised her fellow Democratic competitors for the 4th quarter election cycle (Oct. 1- Dec. 31, 2017).

Cockburn said she received more than four times the contributions as Democrats Andrew Sneathern and more than three times Ben Cullop’s total in a primary race that will be decided in May.

“I’m thrilled with these numbers,” she said, pointing out they’ve helped her hire a strong campaign team and purchase plenty of campaign buttons. “We are in a strong position for the upcoming convention and we have raised many more dollars since January 1.”

According to FEC records, Cockburn’s “total contributions” for the final quarter of 2017 amounted to $195,709 — with $510,285 raised since she launched her campaign. Cockburn’s campaign expenditures through the close of 2017 totaled $127,588, and her cash on hand amounted to $382,696.

Ben Cullop’s total contributions at the end of 2017 stood at $197,405, FEC records show, while Andrew Sneathern raised $171,244.

As for the Republican Garrett, he had raised $304,250 through the end of December, already spent $210,526, with $107,731 cash on hand.

Garrett was first elected in 2016, winning with 58 percent of the vote. Before serving in Congress, he was a state senator, commonwealth’s attorney in Louisa County, and also served for six years as an artilleryman in the U.S. Army.

“I am running for re-election because there is more work to be done,” Garrett said this week. “We have passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which has started to bring jobs back to Southside Virginia. Amthor International announced a $7 million expansion in Pittsylvania just a couple weeks ago.

“I will continue to defend our Constitutional rights and work to secure our borders. I will continue to fight to lower taxes and bring greater prosperity to the people of the 5th district. I welcome any opponents to join me as gladiators in the arena of ideas [and] ask again for the votes and support that previously resulted in the highest contested vote total in the history of the 5th district.”

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John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at editor@rappnews.com.