Hurt takes 5th: Perriello upbeat in defeat
In one of the most closely watched congressional races, Democrat Tom Perriello conceded defeat to Republican challenger state Senator Robert Hurt shortly after 9pm on November 2.
"It's been my honor to serve the people of the 5th District," said Perriello to a packed room of the party faithful at Siips. "I've given it everything I've got."
Freshman incumbent Perriello trailed Hurt throughout the race, and despite poll numbers putting him within the margin of error, Hurt showed a healthy lead of 10 percent as soon as returns started coming in.
Once all the ballots were counted, Hurt held 50.75 percent of the vote to Perriello's 47.05 percent, with independent Jeff Clark garnering two percent of the vote.
"It's been awesome," said Perriello, noting that he won in Charlottesville, Albemarle and Danville. Not surprisingly, he held the hometown advantage here and his best showing was in Charlottesville, where he scored 80 percent of the vote and in Albemarle, with 57 percent over Hurt's 42 percent.
Hurt carried surrounding Greene and Fluvanna counties, while Perriello won in Nelson and Buckingham.
Midterm registered voter turnout for the 5th District was 52.60 percent, with 49 percent in Charlottesville and 58 percent in Albemarle going to the polls. In 2008, 74.43 percent of the district's registered voters turned out to vote.
A visit by President Barack Obama proved no more helpful than previous 11th hour presidential stumping in Virginia in the past five years. Obama's visit for Creigh Deeds in '09 and George Bush's campaigning for Jerry Kilgore in 2005 failed to produce victories.
And Perriello was not the only Democratic representative to be shown the door by voters in Virginia. Longtime 9th District Congressman Rick Boucher lost to former Republican House of Delegates leader Morgan Griffith, and freshman Representative Glen Nye lost to Republican Scott Rigell in the Hampton Roads area.
Closer to home, Eric Cantor, whose district includes Madison, Orange and Louisa counties, easily retook his 7th District seat and is set to become majority leader in the House.
Perriello, who ran a faith-based campaign, quoted his father in his concession speech: "Judgment Day is more important than Election Day, and it's more important to do what's right than what's easy."
This article was posted online on election night. It's getting run in the print edition for the historical record.
(Updated November 3 with final election results and the correct spelling of Jerry Kilgore's name.)