Republican candidate Morgan Griffith defeated Incumbent Democrat Rick Boucher Tuesday, bringing an end to Boucher’s 28-year run as representative of the Ninth District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Boucher was one of many Democratic congressmen and governors who fell victim to a GOP sweep across the nation Tuesday. The GOP victories enabled the party to take back majority control of the House of Representatives, but they fell short of getting the required number of seats to take control of the Senate.
In his victory speech at the Bristol Holiday Inn Tuesday night, Griffith recognized Bill Wampler Sr., who was the last Republican to hold the Ninth District seat. Wampler, who was in attendance, was defeated by Boucher in 1982.
"I’m glad to put the fight back into the Fighting Ninth," Griffith said. "Washington has a lot of problems, and now I feel the burden to correct some of those. Make it clear, Cap and Trade is not going to pass. I will fight to rein in the EPA, and look at all regulations that have negatively affected the businesses in southwest Virginia."
Griffith had attacked Boucher’s support of President Barack Obama’s Cap and Trade legislation, saying it would adversely affect the district’s coal industry.
Following the election, Griffith vowed to put a stop to Obama’s attack on coal.
"We need to take the offensive that we have the best coal in the world," he said.
According to Griffith’s campaign, Boucher called Griffith Tuesday night offering to help in the transition.
Griffith called Boucher’s concession call a “move by a classic Virginia gentleman.”
Boucher could not be reached for comment. However, Associated Press reported that after conceding the race to Griffith, Boucher told somber supporters, "I’ll see you on the trail one of these days."
District-wide Boucher was able to carry only nine of the 27 counties and cities that make up the Ninth District. Griffith even won in Boucher’s home county of Washington. There, Griffith registered one of his strongest wins, receiving 55.6 percent (10,109) of the vote to Boucher’s 41.52 percent (7,550).
Pulaski County voters also went with the Republican candidate. Griffith received 5,203 or 49.59 percent of the 10,129 votes cast in Tuesday’s General Election, compared to Boucher’s 4,890 (48.27 percent). Local voter turnout was 47.45 percent as 10,129 of the county’s 21,346 registered voters headed to the polls.
In the Ninth District, where voter turnout was 45.3 percent, Griffith received 51.2 percent (95,526) of the 186,547 votes cast. Boucher garnered 46.43 percent of the vote, or 86,616 votes. Only 99.4 percent of the votes had been reported for the Ninth District as of this morning, but Griffith was declared the winner.
The only localities Boucher carried were the counties of Buchanan, Dickenson, Giles, Montgomery and Russell and the cities of Covington, Galax, Norton and Radford.
Independent challenger Jeremiah Heaton received 211 votes in Pulaski County and 4,245 in the district. There were a total of 160 write-in votes in the district, with five being recorded locally.
All of the results are considered unofficial until a canvass is held to certify the vote totals.