Whitbeck aims for state Senate in GOP’s hands
John Whitbeck wants to capture conservative opposition to Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe in his bid to give the Republicans a majority in the evenly divided state Senate.
Mr. Whitbeck, chairman of the 10th Congressional District Republican Committee known for making an anti-Semitic joke at a political rally in September, announced his bid for state senator in District 33 on Monday night at the Loudoun County Republican Committee meeting in the event there is a special election.
The district’s sitting state senator, Democrat Mark R. Herring, holds a razor-thin over Republican Mark D. Obenshain in the state’s attorney general race.
Mr. Obenshain announced plans Tuesday to request a recount in the tight race, which could upset Mr. Herring’s 165 vote lead.
Just before Mr. Whitbeck announced his candidacy to a roomful of supporters wearing “Whitbeck for Senate” stickers, students from Patrick Henry College were paid $10 an hour to make hundreds of
phone calls to develop name recognition among constituents.
“We told supporters that Whitbeck is a real conservative running against Obamacare, and that he will fight against Terry McAuliffe’s agenda,” said Rachael Chambers, Patrick Henry College Republican chairwoman who organized the event. “As soon as people realized that they could counter McAuliffe by gaining a majority in the Senate, people got excited about it.”
In his announcement, Mr. Whitbeck echoed much of the same message to fight the Medicaid expansion and Mr. McAuliffe.
If he becomes the 41st Republican senator, he said he will “make sure that Obamacare is not expanded in Virginia.”
Ron Meyer, 23, a former spokesman for the Young America’s Foundation, also announced his Senate bid.
Mr. Meyer said he hopes to win by capturing the youth vote.
Longtime Republican Delegate Joe T. May, who lost the 33rd District seat in June to tea party favorite Dave LaRock, reportedly is considering a run as an independent candidate.
After the December primary, the Republican nominee will face Jennifer Wexton, who secured the Democratic nomination in a party primary last week.