A former Salem District Supervisor easily won the Culpeper County Republican Committee nomination for the November election in a firehouse primary held Saturday at Reformation Lutheran Church.

Tom Underwood, 48, received 68 percent of the vote to challenger Clint Oxendine’s 32 percent during the seven-hour election held by the local party, at which 127 total ballots were cast—86 for Underwood and 41 for Oxendine, a funeral director native to Culpeper County. Oxendine, per an agreement with the local GOP, will not run against Underwood in November as an independent, but he said he planned to run for the office in four years.

“I am grateful for the support and am looking forward to the election in November,” Underwood said in a message Saturday night to the Star-Exponent.

He and Oxendine were opponents, Underwood added, saying he was encouraged they are now friends.

"I have promised Clint to carry forward his platform of improving Reva Road and other roads in the district and improving internet service. His platform is a welcome addition to my desire for transparency and less regulation. I marvel at how much I learn while campaigning, and thank you to the residents that opened their doors for both Clint and me," Underwood said.

The firehouse primary winner previously represented the county’s western area Salem District on the Board of Supervisors from 2008-2012 before stepping down to work for three years as senior vice president of hotel strategy at Orbitz Worldwide, which sold to Expedia in 2015.

Underwood holds a Master of Business Administration from Vanderbilt University and currently runs two small internet companies in addition to overseeing 180 beef cows. In his previous two runs for supervisor, the internet entrepreneur won the local party nomination, though local candidates are not listed on the ballot by party.

Culpeper Republican Committee Executive Member Marshall Keene said Saturday’s election was a huge win for the local GOP.

“Anytime a party has a contested race and can pull it off without any setbacks speaks volumes about Republicans in Culpeper,” he said, acknowledging the efforts of canvass chairman Dale Duvall.

Keene congratulated Underwood, saying he is the last to join what the local party believes to be a strong ticket for the November General Election.

Candidates have until June 11 to file the necessary paperwork to run for local office on November 5.

Current Salem Supervisor Alexa Fritz announced recently she would not seek reelection to the supervisor’s seat and would instead seek election to the Culpeper County Treasurer’s position, a constitutional office, following Treasurer Dave DeJarnette’s announced retirement.

Last week, Denise Whetzel, chief deputy commissioner for the Culpeper County Commissioner of the Revenue Office since 2008, announced her candidacy for the Treasurer’s position.

Also last week, the Culpeper County Republican Committee nominated Missy Norris White for County Treasurer. She currently works in finance for the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office.

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