Daniel Gade wins Virginia Republican Senate primary

The AP called the election with just about 20% of the vote in
File photo of Daniel Gade
File photo of Daniel Gade(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 4:53 PM EDT
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UPDATE (7:35 p.m.):

Virginia Republicans have picked Daniel Gade to be their nominee and face off against incumbent Mark Warner for a Senate seat later this year.

Gade won a low-key primary Tuesday against two other opponents. Gade raised by far the most money and has the highest profile of the three.

Virginia was once a hotly contested swing state where Senate elections were decided by small margins. But the state has swung solidly blue in the Trump era as voters in the state’s growing suburbs reject the president’s agenda. Republicans haven’t won a statewide election in more than a decade.

Gade is a retired Army officer who was seriously injured in Iraq in 2005, losing a leg after his Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb.

Gade advised President George W. Bush on military and disability issues and was President Donald Trump’s appointee to serve on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but withdrew his nomination after a lengthy delay in the Senate over his confirmation.

Gade previously taught at West Point and now teaches at American University.

You can find full results from Tuesday night’s election here.

Virginians were choosing Republican and Democratic nominees for various congressional races Tuesday in low-key primary elections.

Republicans will pick among three political newcomers to challenge U.S. Sen. Mark Warner in the general election this fall. Although Warner nearly lost six years ago, no big-name Republican chose to challenge him this time.

With its fast-growing suburbs, Virginia is becoming reliably Democratic during the Trump era. No Republican has won a statewide election in more than a decade.

Turnout was light in early voting Tuesday morning. The primaries were delayed two weeks by Gov. Ralph Northam because of the coronavirus outbreak. The Virginia Department of Elections said voting precincts will have increased cleaning and physical markers to ensure social distancing. There has been a surge in voting by mail.

In Virginia Beach, electronic pollbooks — computers used to verify voters are registered and at the right polling location — were programmed incorrectly, so poll workers were initially unable to check in voters. Department of Elections Commissioner Christopher Piper said poll workers issued provisional ballots and no voters were turned away.

“The fix was easily identified and now they are deploying it across the locality,” Piper said.

“It was an error in the setup. There’s no security concern here,” he said.

The Department of Elections also reported brief power outages at several polling locations in Henrico, Franklin and Loudoun counties. Most of the outages appeared to be related to thunderstorms, while one appears to have been caused by a snake located on the transformer, which tripped a fuse.

Piper said voting continued as usual using battery backups and generators.

“There were no voting disruptions reported,” Piper said.

Republicans in Hampton Roads will decide whether Scott Taylor will get a rematch with Democratic U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria. She defeated Taylor in one of the most hotly contested congressional races in the country two years ago.

Democrats in the western part of the state will also pick from among four candidates to challenge Republican Bob Good. He knocked off incumbent Rep. Denver Riggleman earlier this month at a convention. Riggleman angered social conservatives by officiating a gay marriage. Democrats are hoping his defeat makes the district, which Trump won handily in 2016, more competitive.

Virginia does not register voters by party affiliation, so all voters are eligible to vote in primaries.

At the Hungary Creek Middle School in Glen Allen, outside Richmond, just 20 people had voted in person during the first three hours of voting, from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.

“I’ve never done absentee. We always come out to vote,” said Cecil Painter, 79, a retired railroad conductor.

His wife, Shirley Painter, 78, a retired secretary, said she and her husband are concerned about the coronavirus, but wanted to come out and vote in person as they always do.

“I think we worry about it, but they say as long as we wear masks and wash our hands a lot we’ll be OK,” she said.

Iris Burton, chief election officer for the precinct, said all but two people who voted wore masks. Inside the school, bottles of hand sanitizer were placed on every table and the ballot box. Signs instructed people to stand 6 feet (1.8 meters) apart and each of the poll workers wore a mask, a face shield and gloves. Voters were given single-use pens to fill out their ballots.

Burton said she thinks fear of the virus kept some voters away. The precinct had at least 54 people who voted through absentee ballots, she said.

“Each individual has to do what’s comfortable for them. I can’t complain if nobody comes out because of that,” she said.

In Mechanicsville, just north of Richmond, Tom Brummell, 61, a retired small-business owner, said he voted in person because he believes there is a potential for fraud with absentee ballots.

“It just opens the door to many things that can go wrong,” he said, after voting at the Rural Point Elementary School.

At a precinct in McLean, by 10 a.m. only 19 voters had cast ballots at a polling station where only the GOP Senate race was on the ballot.

Chris Inglese, 62, of McLean, a self-employed CPA who described himself as a libertarian Republican, said he voted in part to familiarize himself with his precinct’s new polling station. He voted for Thomas Speciale in the Senate primary in large part on the advice of a friend, something he said he doesn’t normally do. He thinks the nominee will have a hard time in the general election against Warner.

In many ways, he viewed the primary as a warmup for November, which he said will be about “socialism versus capitalism.” He said that living in McLean, where so many people have become wealthy based on government contracts, “I know how corrupt socialism is.”


Associated Press reporter Matthew Barakat in McLean, Virginia, contributed to this report.

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