Incumbent two-term State Senator Bryce Reeves, of Spotsylvania, easily won the Republican nomination to the District 17 seat in Tuesday’s primary election against fellow veteran Rich Breeden, a first-time political candidate.
District-wide, Reeves got 6,287 votes (82.31 percent) to Breeden’s 1,351 (17.69 percent), according to unofficial results from the Virginia Department of Elections. In a statement Tuesday night, Reeves thanked his many supporters and looked ahead.
“We’ve got a lot to accomplish: ensuring those with pre-existing conditions are covered while providing access to better, more affordable healthcare; protecting our most vulnerable children; defending rights; lowering taxes; helping our veterans, military, and law enforcement,” he said. “I am more energized and motivated than ever to represent you and keep the 17th District the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”
Winning the Democratic nomination in the District 17 primary was 47-year-old Amy Laufer, of Albemarle County, with 78.5 percent of the vote to Culpeper candidate Ben Hixon’s 21.4 percent.
District-wide, Laufer got 5,975 votes to Hixon’s 1,631, according to unofficial results from the Virginia Department of Elections.
Laufer, former chairwoman of the Charlottesville School Board, and Reeves will face off in the November election to represent the district that spans five counties (Albemarle, Culpeper, Louisa, Orange and Spotsylvania) and the city of Fredericksburg.
In her victory speech, in Charlottesville, Laufer reiterated the need to keep the energy from supporters going into the fall.
“Starting right now, I am going to be working to give you a representative that will listen to you, be responsive to your needs, and do what is right for the people,” she said in a statement.
Culpeper County voters overwhelmingly selected Reeves, 52, in the day’s nominating contest with 82.7 percent of the vote and 624 casting ballots for the former Army Ranger who owns an insurance agency. Breeden received 130 votes, or 17.2 percent, in Culpeper County.
In the District 17 Democratic primary, Culpeper voters went 49.6 percent for Hixon (221 votes) and 50.34 percent for Laufer (224 votes).
Retired Culpeper County beef farmer Bill Barron picked Reeves.
“I think he’s been doing fine, he’s been doing a good job and I want to see the Republicans keep control because our society, in my opinion, I’m one of the old white men, this leftist movement goes against my grain. I don’t believe in all this liberalism,” said Barron, an Air Force veteran.
“I don’t believe in free, free, free, nothing is free, including our freedom. A lot of my friends have paid the ultimate price for us to do what we do. I imagine there are a lot of them rolling in their grave taking a look at what’s going on in our society today.”
The State Senate, in 2020, in his opinion, should hold the line on spending for social programs.
“We are the ones who are going to be paying for it. I don’t believe in paying for services for people who are in this country illegally and people who were born in this country can’t get the services themselves. What’s Democratic about that?” said Barron, a Culpeper native. “All this liberalism is driving me nuts. I have three adult kids and am not worried about them … but when it comes to my grandchildren, I’m terrified.”
Vietnam veteran John Simmons, a town of Culpeper resident, also voted in the Democratic Primary for Laufer because he felt she better represented his views.
“My issue is what are they going to do for the old folks and veterans? My thing is I’m a veteran and I want somebody who’s going to fight for us. We got too many old people around here eating dog food and veterans walking around that don’t get no help,” said the 78-year-old. “We fought for this damn country, they should take care of us. I joined the Army at 16-years-old and I stayed in 10 years. If I had to go back again, I’d go too because this is my country.”
Simmons lamented the low voter turnout.
“There’s so many people who think their vote don’t count,” he said. “They should have come out and voted and we wouldn’t have Trump in the house.”
Hixon, in a statement Tuesday night, congratulated Laufer on her win.
“Amy is an incredible candidate who will be a strong advocate for education, healthcare, and infrastructure in Richmond. I plan to work non-stop until November 5 to make sure that she is my next Senator,” he said.