April 22, 2024

HARRISONBURG — State Del. Ben Cline clinched the Republican nomination Saturday to seek the seat of U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-6th, surviving a challenge from hard-right candidate Cynthia Dunbar at a party convention held at James Madison University.

Cline, R-Rockbridge, will enter the general-election race as the presumptive favorite in the Republican-heavy 6th District, which covers a wide swath of western Virginia,  from the Shenandoah Valley to Lynchburg and down to Roanoke.

Over 2,200 voting delegates met in  JMU’s Convocation Center for a day-long meeting  followed by  the selection of a nominee to succeed Goodlatte, who announced earlier this year that he will retire at the end of his term, after 25 years.

Cline garnered 52 percent of the vote on the first ballot, to Dunbar’s 39 percent, bringing the convention to a close.  Cline and Dunbar, the top two contenders in a field of  eight both touted  themselves as supporters of President Donald Trump.

After the result was announced, Dunbar took the stage and moved to nominate Cline by acclamation, election to end the event with a show of unity.

Cline got a boost early in the afternoon when candidate Rockingham County Circuit Court Clerk Chaz W. Haywood withdrew and urged his supporters to back Cline. Trailing  behind in the voting were the remaining candidates — Michael Desjadon, Eduardo Justo,  Douglas D. Wright, Elliot Pope, and Kathryn McDaniel Lewis.

Cline promised to help Trump build the border wall and said he’d work to defund sanctuary cities and prioritize funding for veterans above Planned Parenthood and NPR.

Democrats will choose their 6th District nominee in a primary June 12 from a field of four candidates: Sergio Coppola, Jennifer Lewis, Charlotte Moore and Peter Volosin.


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