Rappahannock caucus draws about 200 party faithful
So far, in Democratic caucuses across Virginia’s sprawling 5th congressional district, Rappahannock resident and candidate Leslie Cockburn has a comfortable lead over Roger Dean Huffstetler and Andrew Sneathern, both of the Charlottesville area.
The district this midterm election year opted to hold caucuses instead of a primary, which means 23 counties and municipalities in the district are holding separate caucuses between April 14 and 21. As of April 18, with results in from 14 of those counties, the unofficial count gives Cockburn 88 delegates, Sneathern 34, and Huffstetler 25.
A fourth candidate, Ben Cullop, announced on Tuesday that he was dropping out of the race. He pledged to support the eventual Democratic candidate in their bid to unseat freshman Republican Rep. Tom Garrett, who faced no primary opponent from within his party.
The Rappahannock caucus took place last Saturday, April 14, at the Washington Schoolhouse. Campaign signs and tables were set up outside the entrance as people gathered early. Kit Goldfarb, one of the caucus organizers, described the event in an email after the caucus:
“By the time the doors opened at 9:30 a.m.,” Goldfarb wrote, “there were already quite a few people in line, filling out their credentials forms and waiting to enter. When the doors closed at 10:30 a.m. to begin the caucus, 186 people had registered and filled the schoolhouse with chatter and old-fashioned campaigning — walking up and trying to get people to vote for their candidate.”
Chair of the Rappahannock County Democratic Committee, Mary-Sherman Willis, praised the support and dedication of the committee’s officers and other volunteers to help make the event a success.
“Caroline Anstey chaired the caucus,” Willis wrote in an email. “Jed Duvall oversaw the collection of credentials from the 186 participants to the convention. Casey Eitner was the head teller who conducted the calculations. Fred Schaefer was sergeant-at-arms. Many other volunteers contributed to the success of this caucus. There was generous assistance from the Fauquier Democratic Committee: Larry Jackson, Kathy Marmet, and Whitney Petrilli.”
Betsy Dietel, Steph Ridder, and Goldfarb were elected as delegates for Cockburn; Cliff Miller III and Heidi Lesinski as alternates. Ron Goldman was picked to be the single delegate representing Huffstetler. Ben Cullop and Andrew Sneathern received no delegates.
The Rappahannock delegation will head to the district convention on May 5 in Farmville to nominate a candidate for the election, which will be held on November 6.