Garrett Barely Defeats Bates

Published 5:19 pm Thursday, August 25, 2011

Louisa County was the epicenter for an earthquake and home to the winning Republican nominee in the new 22nd State Senate District on Tuesday.

Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Garrett squeaked out a victory over Buckingham Board of Supervisors member, and Longwood University professor, Brian Bates, in the five-way race that saw 10 percent of registered voters show up at the polls across the nine-locality district.

Garrett will face the Democratic nominee, Lynchburg businessman, and former vice-mayor, Bert Dodson, on November 8.

Bates overwhelmed his competitors in Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward, winning also in Appomattox, but Garrett's NASCAR-like performance-consistently strong high finishes win The Cup-nudged him over the finish line just ahead of Bates. The preliminary results saw Garrett win by 117 votes, or 25.94 percent, to Bates' total of 3,068 votes, or 24.57 percent.

Bates won in four localities, Garrett in two.

Lynchburg attorney Mark Peake finished third, with 22.50 percent of the overall district tally; Goochland resident, and Richmond prosecutor, Bryan Rhode was fourth, with 20.50 percent; and Amherst County Board of Supervisors member Claudia Tucker was last, with 6.45 percent.

Garrett won in Fluvanna and Louisa and, benefiting from district-wide Tea Party support-consistently finished among the top three elsewhere and with strong vote totals his competitors could not match in counties they didn't win outright.

Bates, who waited until after precinct vote canvassing was complete on Wednesday before conceding the race to Garrett, said he was “just humbled by the turnout and support.”

Responding to the generous degree of support in Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward, Bates replied, “Oh my gosh, yeah.”

Bates described himself as a “blessed individual” and cited predictions by “experts” that he would not finish better than fifth, or last, in the race.

The turnout, he said, was “a testament to how serious the voters took this election.”

Despite Garrett's slim margin of victory, Bates said he did not plan to call for a recount. Because the margin exceeds the half-percent mandatory recount percentage, Bates would have to pay for a recount himself. With the margin holding up during the vote canvassing, Bates said he does not believe a recount would reverse the result.

County Totals

In Buckingham, Bates won 68.54 percent of the vote, to 18.36 percent for the second place Garrett, or 1,146 votes to 307.

Cumberland saw Bates win 57.28 percent of the vote, to Garrett's third place finish of 16.36 percent of the vote, 413 votes to 118 votes, Rhode finishing second with 23.57 percent.

In Prince Edward, Bates won 65.36 percent of the vote, or 770 votes, to 14 percent for the second place Garrett, who collected 165 votes.

In Amherst, Peake won 32 percent, finishing first ahead of Tucker's home-county total of 28.71 percent, and Garrett's third place total of 18.75 percent, Bates finishing last with 5.66 percent.

Appomattox saw Bates win, with 32.57 percent, to Peake's 25.97 percent and Garrett's 25.54 percent.

Garrett won Fluvanna, with 48.01 percent, to Rhode's 28.02 percent and Bates' third place total of 15.22 percent.

Rhode won his home county of Goochland, with 66.13 percent, to Garrett's 25.59 percent second place finish, Bates scoring in third with 3.05 percent.

Garrett won 81.31 percent in his home county of Louisa, Rhode second with 11.36 percent and Bates third with 3.78 percent.

In the City of Lynchburg, hometown candidate Peake won 72.33 percent, to Garrett's 16.54 percent second place, Bates in fourth with 3.19 percent.

Turnout among registered voters was 16.88 percent in Buckingham (the highest turnout in the district), 10.65 percent in Cumberland, and 8.69 percent in Prince Edward.