Garrett mug

Tom Garrett said, "Taxpayers ... [should] expect that benefits will not be used to subsidize an illegal drug habit."

Louisa County, center of a powerful earthquake on Tuesday, shook the 22nd state Senate district again Tuesday night when Tom Garrett of Mineral won a hotly contested Republican primary.

Garrett, who had support from  Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Lynchburg Tea Party and the National Rifle Association,  held a 171-vote margin over second-place Brian Bates of Buckingham County in complete but unofficial returns from the five-candidate race Tuesday night.

Garrett had entered the open-seat race calling himself a “Cuccinelli conservative” and vowing that he’d be the most conservative candidate in the field.

The conservative trend also carried the day in GOP primaries elsewhere in Virginia on Tuesday.

Jeff Frederick, a former state Republican Party chairman, defeated Tito “The Builder” Munoz in Northern Virginia’s 36th District, another open seat created by redistricting.

Dick Black, a former House of Delegates member who once sent plastic fetus dolls to fellow House members, won the nomination in the 13th District in Loudoun County.

Tommy Norment of Williamsburg, the Senate minority leader, easily withstood a nomination challenge from Mark Frechette.

Del. Dave Nutter of Christiansburg gained the Senate nomination over tea party-backed E.C. “Tripp” Godsey in the Roanoke-area 21st District.

Garrett, currently the commonwealth’s attorney of Louisa County, now faces a November general election contest against Democrat Bert Dodson, a former vice mayor of Lynchburg.

The nine-locality 22nd District stretches from northern Lynchburg to Goochland County in Richmond’s suburbs.

Lynchburg lawyer Mark Peake finished third in the district, and Bryan Rhode of Goochland County was fourth.

Claudia Tucker, Amherst County’s representative in the contest, finished last with just more than 6 percent of the vote. 

The race was close among the top four candidates. Early returns had Bates on top, and then Peake in the lead half an hour later.

Only when returns came in from Fluvanna County, where the 5.8-magnitude earthquake disrupted polling, did Garrett take the lead.

Fluvanna gave Garrett 555 votes, which was nearly half of the county’s turnout.  Peake got only 46 votes there.

Peake said Garrett “ran an excellent campaign, and did a fine job getting the votes out.”

“I can’t wait to support him in the general election,” Peake said, adding that he wanted to thank his supporters. “We had good volunteers who worked hard,” Peake said.

Tucker said the candidates “were all good conservatives,” and “I will do all that I can to see that a Republican wins this seat in November.”

Only 10 percent of eligible voters went to the polls Tuesday in the nine-locality 22nd District, which includes northern Lynchburg and the counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Buckingham, Cumberland, Fluvanna, Goochland and Prince Edward, and part of Louisa County.

 The State Board of Elections put the voter turnout at 12,482, out of 124,616 registered voters in the 22nd district.

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