Gade, Taylor Concede Races. Others Still Ongoing.

By Brian Carlton

November 4, 2020

Spanberger vs. Freitas race still neck and neck in District 7. No concession in District 4 despite a 20% difference.

RICHMOND-Daniel Gade called for peace Wednesday morning. The Republican Senate candidate conceded the race to Mark Warner, but took it a step further, asking his supporters to respect the process. 

“I concede and call on all of my supporters to recognize state and federal results with peace and unity,” Gade said. “No matter the results of the Presidential election, in particular, it is paramount that every American realize that we still live in the greatest country on earth, and to work towards ‘liberty and justice for all.’” 

The American University professor, who is a retired Army lieutenant colonel, had originally refused to concede Tuesday night after an odd situation. Minutes after the polls closed, the Associated Press called the race for Warner. This was before even 2% of the votes had been counted. That made Gade want to keep fighting, especially as early returns in the Republican-driven parts of the state gave him a lead. But as the rest of the numbers came in, Gade had 44.4% of the vote to Warner’s 55.6%. With only 9% of the vote left to count, Gade said in a statement on Twitter that it was time to bow out. 

“This race was about serving America, the Constitution, and fighting for our shared values, as I’ve always done,” Gade said. “I ran for my children and grandchildren, and because God has given us a great country for which I am willing to fight. During my 25 years of military service, I saw both the best and the worst of humanity, but my faith in our country never wavered. This campaign has reminded me America is always worth sacrificing for.” 

In his victory speech Tuesday night, Warner struck a similar tone. Warner said the U.S. needs to take another step toward building back better. But to do that, they have to become united. It means ending constant attacks on people of different political parties. 

“We’ve got to stop the name calling and start the healing,” Warner said. 

Other races wrap up 

The Senate race wasn’t the only one to wrap up on Wednesday. Democrat Elaine Luria kept her U.S. House District 2 seat, beating Scott Taylor. With 50% of the vote to Taylor’s 46%, the former U.S. Navy commander thanked residents for sending her back to Washington. 

“Thank you for going out, thank you for having your voice heard,” Luria said in a Facebook Live speech Wednesday. “I’m honored to serve our district.” 

Luria said she’s ready to get back to work, pointing to the fact eight of her bills have been signed into law over the last two years. President Donald Trump signed the latest one, setting aside funding for Chesapeake Bay cleanup, last week. He previously signed her bill providing tax relief to Gold Star families. But beyond that, she said Congress needs to stop fighting and focus on COVID-19. 

“We have a lot of work to do to get the virus under control,” Luria said. “[More] testing, tracking, and [focusing on] the development and distribution of a safe vaccine.”

The 20-year Navy veteran took over a district in 2018 that stretches from Virginia Beach to the Eastern Shore. That includes Norfolk and the Navy base there, as well as a number of military families. 

Taylor, himself a Navy SEAL who held the seat for one term before losing to Luria in 2018, conceded the race Wednesday morning. 

McEachin keeps his seat, Spanberger unsure

Also keeping his seat was U.S. House Rep. Donald McEachin. The District 4 representative beat Republican challenger Leon Benjamin with 60% of the vote. Benjamin however refuses to concede, claiming voter fraud. His campaign questions how McEachin’s lead grew during the overnight hours. And even while the race was going on Tuesday, Benjamin put out a call on Twitter for followers to report all evidence of voter fraud to him.

“We need as much evidence of fraud as we can,” he wrote on Twitter. 

One day later, Benjamin said that until the final results are certified, he doesn’t plan to concede. This despite being down just over 20%.  He and his campaign have an issue with how the numbers updated during the overnight hours. Local registrars throughout the state worked into the early morning to process as many ballots as possible. There were more than usual due to the massive early voting and mail-in turnout.

Meanwhile, the race continues in U.S. House District 7.

A candidate declared victory, but the most expensive race in this year’s Virginia election continues. Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger currently leads in U.S. House District 7 and issued a statement this evening celebrating her win. However, her lead is just over one percentage point, with 4% of ballots still to be counted. 

Spanberger, a former CIA officer, currently leads Republican Nick Freitas 50.49% to 49.35%. That translates into a lead of 5,134 ballots. Reuters and other organizations have yet to call the race, due to the small lead. Freitas also had not issued a concession speech as of Wednesday night. 

“Tonight, the Seventh District affirmed its commitment to leadership in Congress that puts Central Virginia first, works for everyone and focuses on expanding opportunity for the next generation of Virginians,” Spanberger said in her victory speech. “Serving the Seventh District in Congress has been my honor and I look forward to continuing our work to strengthen and protect our communities.”  

Brian Carlton is Dogwood’s managing editor. He can be reached at [email protected].

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