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Stuart earns GOP nod in Senate race
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Date published: 5/20/2007
Westmoreland County lawyer Richard Stuart won the Republican nomination yesterday for the 28th District state Senate seat, defeating three more-conservative candidates.
Stuart received 1,068 votes in the party canvass to choose a replacement for retiring Sen. John Chichester. The most conservative candidate, John Van Hoy, was second with 776.
Chichester endorsed Stuart and donated thousands of dollars to his campaign. House Speaker Bill Howell backed him, as well.
According to unofficial returns, Stuart captured his native Northern Neck, winning all of those localities except King George County. Van Hoy won King George, Stafford and Fauquier counties.
Jon Myers was third, with 446 votes. Joe Graziano received 316.
The 28th District Republican Committee will officially certify the votes at its next meeting.
Stuart will face Democrat Albert Pollard Jr., a former delegate from Lancaster County, in November's general election. Stuart has donated money to Pollard's campaigns in the past.
Reached by phone yesterday, Stuart said he campaigned hard and hopes the more conservative Republicans in the district will back him.
"Hopefully, we will all work together now," he said.
Stuart said his campaign against Pollard will begin in earnest tomorrow. He believes that being from the Northern Neck, like Pollard, will be "a distinct advantage" since populous Stafford County leans Republican already.
Stuart was the only GOP candidate not from Stafford, and finished third in the county yesterday. Myers won North Stafford, his home turf, with 181 votes, followed by Graziano with 154 and Van Hoy with 143.
Stuart got only 68 votes in North Stafford, but edged Van Hoy 181-179 in southern Stafford. Myers got 128 votes in the southern precinct; Graziano received 72.
Stuart said he felt the support of Chichester and Howell, along with that of Northern Neck Del. Rob Wittman, helped him.
Chichester has held the seat for nearly 30 years, but announced earlier this year that he will retire at the end of this term.
Chichester's fiscal philosophy--his willingness to raise taxes to put more money into state services--has long angered anti-tax conservatives, both in the 28th District and statewide.