Galante carries Rappahannock in Democratic primary for delegate

Barring write-in candidates, county government slate all but finalized

Washington residents Wendy Murdoch and Bradley Schneider, the latter a member of the Washington Town Council, cast votes Tuesday in the Virginia House of Delegates District 18 Democratic primary at the Washington Volunteer Fire and Rescue polling station. John McCaslin | Rappahannock News

By 7:45 Tuesday night Rappahannock County’s voting results were final in the primary to select the Democratic candidate for 18th district delegate. With all precincts reporting and all absentee votes counted, Tristan Shields had 100 votes while Laura Galante walked away with 323 votes, over 73 percent of the total count.

Galante will face incumbent Michael Webert in the November 5th general election. This was Shields’ second unsuccessful run at the delegate seat, having run in 2017 against Webert.

The widest vote spread of Tuesday’s primary in the county was in Flint Hill, one of the two Wakefield voting precincts. Galante had 45 votes or 86.53 percent of the vote compared to Shields’ seven votes. Chester Gap, the other Wakefield precinct, was the only polling place to report a majority for Shields: nine votes (69.24 percent) to Galante’s four.

Hampton precinct had the largest turnout with 21 votes for Shields and 84 for Galante (80 percent). Galante also led in Jackson with 35 votes (59.32 percent) to Shields’ 24 votes; Stonewall-Hawthorne with 54 votes (78.26 percent) to Shields’ 15 votes; and Piedmont with 74 votes (76.28 percent) to Shields’ 23 votes. With a 96.43 percent share of the absentee votes, Galante took 27 to Shields’ one vote.

According to the Registrar of Voters website, as of September 10, 2018 there are 5,804 registered voters in Rappahannock County and 117 registered voters in the Town of Washington. County turnout for the primary was 7.29 percent.

District-wide, Galante also carried the day with 1,706 votes (70.09 percent) to Shields’ 728 votes, which represents about a 4 percent turnout across the district. The 18th district includes Rappahannock and parts of Fauquier, Warren, and Culpeper Counties.  

In conceding the race, Shields posted on his website: “I want to congratulate Laura on her victory today . . . The road moving forward will be tough, but she will have the support of the Democrats in Culpeper, Fauquier, Rappahannock and Warren counties, including mine. We are at a time where the stakes are high for democracy in Virginia. The Virginia legislature will be playing a crucial role both for our state and the nation. I truly hope she can flip the District blue in November.”

Galante’s campaign manager Sam Falconer issued this statement: “Tonight’s result in the 18th District primary is an emphatic endorsement of Laura Galante’s brand of politics. This 70-30 win is a result of listening first, offering meaningful ways to improve the lives of Virginians, and the tireless work of our volunteers across Fauquier, Warren, Culpeper and Rappahannock counties.

“Laura speaks to the challenges common to families across rural Virginia and America: supporting local jobs and farms, ensuring affordable healthcare, and expanding Internet access. Democrats, Republicans, and Independents supported Laura in a primary focused on addressing these issues.”

Said Galante, “I will keep talking to all Virginians regardless of politics or background about how we build a shared rural future. I’m especially proud of our volunteers who stepped up in a major way to bring home this win.”

Rappahannock races

Numerous Rappahannock County government posts are also up for election this November 5. The Rappahannock County Registrar of Voters office confirmed on Tuesday — the deadline for candidate filing — that it had received the required paperwork, including presenting petitions containing a minimum of 125 signatures of registered voters, from Sheriff Connie S. Compton, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Rappahannock County Art Goff, Treasurer Debra Knick, and having replaced Sharon Dodson this past March 1, who stepped down for personal reasons, Revenue Commissioner Mary Graham. Lavonne King also is running for Commissioner of Revenue.    

Three Board of Supervisor seats and three School Board Member seats respectively in the districts of Hampton, Jackson, and Wakefield will also be on the November ballot.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Roger Welch, who represents the Wakefield District, announced in recent weeks that he will not seek reelection, as did Hampton District Supervisor John Lesinski.

Filing for the Hampton BOS seat are Harris Hollow resident Keir Whitson, a former vice chairman of the Rappahannock County Water and Sewer Authority, and Audrey Regnery, innkeeper of the Greenfield Inn Bed and Breakfast in Washington.

Debbie Donehey, owner of the Griffin Tavern, is running unopposed to fill the Wakefield supervisor position. Jackson district supervisor Ron Frazier is running unopposed for re-election.

Two Rappahannock School Board members whose seats are also on the ballot this year — Lucy Ann “Pud” Maeyer of Hampton and Chris Ubben of Wakefield have filed their paperwork. A third member, Board chair John Wesley Mills of Jackson, has not. McKiernan said in an email Wednesday, “No one submitted paperwork for the School Board Member [Mills].  Interested parties can run as a write in as well.”

However, in response to a Rappahannock News inquiry as to his candidacy, Mills wrote in an email Wednesday, “Oh dear. I have completely missed the deadline it seems. I am without excuse. I do intend to run, and at this point I will have to run as a write-in candidate.”

And former Piedmont supervisor Mike Biniek submitted his paperwork some time ago for the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District, where he is currently the Rappahannock Director. Rappahannock farmer Michael Sands is also running for that position.

The Rappahannock News and Businesses of Rappahannock, a community organization of business owners who live and work in Rappahannock County, will hold a Rappahannock candidates’ forum on Saturday evening, September 21, at 7 p.m. Further details will be announced in the near future.

Full coverage of other Northern Virginia races here.

About Patty Hardee 285 Articles
Writer, consultant, actor, director, recovering stand-up comic, Patty covers the county’s courts and other topics of interest for Rappahannock News. She lives with her grape-growing husband Bill Freitag in Flint Hill.

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