LEXINGTON, Va. (WHSV) — Following Bob Goodlatte's announcement that he will retire from Congress at the end of his thirteenth term, Delegate Ben Cline has officially announced his campaign for Goodlatte's seat representing Virginia's 6th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Delegates Steve Landes, Rob Bell, and Ben Cline (left to right) tour Vector Industries in July 2017.
Thursday morning, following a Democratic sweep of statewide elections in Virginia on Tuesday, Goodlatte declared that he will not seek re-election in 2018.
He was elected to represent Virginia's 6th District as the Republican candidate in 1992 and has served in the role through thirteen elections.
Now, with the end of his tenure as chairman of the judiciary panel in December 2018, he described the time as a "natural stepping-off point" and a chance to begin a new chapter.
Hoping to take his place in the reliably strong Republican bastion of the 6th District is Ben Cline, who has served in Virginia's House of Delegates since 2002, representing the 24th District.
That district covers Bath and Rockbridge counties, as well as parts of Augusta and Amherst counties and the cities of Buena Vista and Lexington. Most of the areas Cline has represented in Virginia's legislature are part of the area Goodlatte has represented in Congress, giving him name recognition for the race already.
Cline just won re-election to that 24th District seat on Tuesday, beating independent John Winfrey 72% to 28%.
Now, he says he will run for Congress to "take a stand and fight for the people I serve."
"For far too long, Washington insiders have ignored families outside their insular ‘Beltway’. Again and again they have proved they are out of touch and tone deaf to our struggles. I’m not afraid to take a stand and fight for the people I serve, and I’m hoping to continue that service in Congress,” Cline said.
“We should all thank Bob for his service to the Commonwealth and to our country,” added Cline. “But we can’t take this seat for granted. The Democrats are emboldened by recent victories and we can’t allow them to seize this seat for Nancy Pelosi.”
Cline has earned the American Conservative Union’s (ACU) "Conservative Excellence Award" as well as an A+ rating from the NRA.
For two years in a row, he introduced a bill in the House of Delegates to defund Planned Parenthood clinics in the Commonwealth. Both years, Gov. McAuliffe vetoed the bill.
He also supported Cami's Law, requiring in-home day care providers to submit to a fingerprint background check
While serving in the General Assembly, he also served as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney. Prior to his General Assembly service he owned a small business providing marketing assistance to rural internet and high-tech firms, as well as serving as a top aide to Congressman Bob Goodlatte.