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If you look at election results from Tuesday’s Republican primary in James City County, there’s a clear victor in the 2nd Congressional District race—U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes.
But the longtime 4th Congressional District representative, who decided to run for the 2nd District seat after lines were redrawn to make his native 4th district “friendlier” to Democrats, did not win the primary.
The winner would ultimately be Virginia Del. Scott Taylor (R-Dist. 85), who reported $135,699 in campaign contributions on May 25, a little more than a tenth of Forbes’ contributions, which totaled more than $1 million.
It only took 4,850 votes for Taylor to achieve victory, a count that was carried by a groundswell of support from Norfolk and Virginia Beach, which cast a combined 17,381 ballots for the delegate.
While James City County voters may have chosen Forbes over Taylor, the number of votes separating the candidates in each precinct shows that greater turnout could have narrowed the divide.
Of the 21,006 registered voters in James City County, 1,014, or 4.8 percent of registered voters, cast ballots in the Republican primary.
Forbes won 639 of those 1,014 votes, but the difference in votes between Forbes and Taylor varied dramatically among precincts, ranging from 176 votes in Roberts B to three votes in Roberts A.
Not all James City County precincts chose Forbes. The newest precinct, Berkeley D, chose Taylor by eight votes. Out of the 1,046 registered voters in that precinct, only 56 voted.
Dianna Moorman, James City County’s general registrar, attributed the low turnout to trouble getting the word out about the redistricting, despite efforts to advertise the election on the county website and in newspapers.
“I think there truly was so much confusion with the last-minute congressional district change that it doesn’t seem like people have had enough time to prepare,” Moorman said.
All election results are considered unofficial until a formal results review is completed and all provisional ballots are counted. That review began Wednesday.