Republicans pick Cline for Virginia's 6th district

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — State Delegate Ben Cline earned the Republican nomination on Saturday for Virginia's 6th congressional district.

The Lexington native beat out seven other candidates during a party convention at James Madison University after Rockingham County Circuit Court Clerk Chaz Haywood dropped out.

Cline won during the first round of voting, earning a majority of votes cast by delegates.

"It's a great day for Republican values. It's a great day for conservatives," Cline said. "I look forward and articulating to the voters a new agenda that's focused on going to Washington and getting things done, draining the swamp and helping our president."

Some of the issues Cline said he would prioritize include improvements to Interstate 81 and encouraging growth of the manufacturing field in the sixth district.

Cline will take on a Democratic challenger in November for the seat currently occupied by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who announced his retirement last year after decades in Congress.

The Democrat who will run against Cline will be decided during a primary election in June.

The U.S. House seat has been held by the Republican party since 1993, and is considered a safe bet for the GOP in this year's general election.

"We are going to get this district winning again," said Jennifer M Brown, who won District Chair position. "We're going to have to put our personalities aside. At the end of the day it's not about us individually, it's about us as a party,"

Cline's nomination comes after months of hostility among those campaigning to be on the ballot, with several accusations hurled at party leadership. Scott Sayre — who served as district chair — was the target of a most of the allegations.

In April, Sayre accused Cline of committing personal attacks.

"Cline has chosen to permeate the atmosphere with a cloud of distrust and has recruited candidates with no experience in running for office or attending a convention to hitch their wagons to a candidate who cannot win an election without their collusion," Sayre wrote.