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House of Representatives: Endorsements
October 30, 2012 | The Richmond Times-Dispatch

On Wednesday, The Times-Dispatch endorsed the re-election of Rep. Eric Cantor, R-7th. As majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, Cantor ranks as the most consequential Republican in Virginia history. The 7th includes precincts in Richmond's western half as well as in portions of Henrico, Chesterfield, Caroline and Spotsylvania. All of Hanover, Goochland and Louisa fall within its confines. The district also claims counties that approach the Blue Ridge. Today we examine the other House races that affect central Virginia.

Virginia's 1st District includes Jamestown; it symbolically rates as the nation's first district. The seat also abuts the Chesapeake. Incumbent Republican Rob Wittman suits the interests not only of his constituents but of the Bay itself. A marine scientist by education and interest, Wittman brings a professional's perspective to issues relating to the Bay. He is guided not by slogans but by science. Regarding the Chesapeake, there is no representative more important than he. Wittman also understands national security and foreign policy. The Times-Dispatch endorses him.

Once upon a time the 3rd District corresponded to Metro Richmond. After the 1990 Census, it was gerrymandered to create a minority-majority district and now stretches from Richmond's eastern half to Hampton Roads. Although Democrat Bobby Scott won the first race in the redrawn seat and has represented it ever since, the gerrymander benefitted Republicans more generally. Scott, too, forms a comfortable fit for the 3rd. Democrats carry the district with ease; Scott sits among the House's progressive members and will hold the seat for as long as he desires.

The 4th covers a wide swath as it runs from Amelia and Powhatan through Chesterfield and Petersburg to south Hampton Roads. Republican Randy Forbes represents it. Forbes is outspoken on defense, an issue crucial to his constituency. He infuses his political stands with religious values but does not seem off-putting. Forbes earns high marks for communicating with constituents. The Times-Dispatch believes he has served his district well and supports his re-election.

The 5th District features much of Southside Virginia, a region of great beauty that has not participated fully in the economic boom experienced by the I-95/I-64 corridor. Republican Robert Hurt is a native son; he understands his home. Hurt speaks calmly yet candidly of the federal government's impact on economic growth. Taxation and regulation adversely affect the small businesses that form his district's backbone. Hurt distinguished himself in the Virginia General Assembly with an independent streak; his temperament serves as a model for others in a U.S. House peopled with Bonapartes. The Times-Dispatch urges voters in the 5th to cast their ballots for him.