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Suffolk goes for Webb

While at press time last night it was too close to call a winner in the Senatorial race between Incumbent Republican George Allen and Democratic challenger Jim Webb, things on the local level were much clearer.

Within just a few hours of the polls closing on election night, Webb won in the city with 11,621 (49.97 percent) of the votes to Allen’s 11,437, or 49.08 percent.

The third contender in the race, Independent Gail Parker, who was never really a threat to win, may have played the role of spoiler, taking thousands of votes statewide away from one or both of the candidates. Locally, Parker received 223 votes of support.

There were 21 write-in votes recorded.

On the congressional side, Incumbent Republican J. Randy Forbes easily won re-election to his Fourth District seat. He had no Democratic challenger. Albert Burchkard Jr., a Green Party candidate, was challenging the congressman, but was never a real threat.

Just two hours after the polls had closed across Hampton Roads, Forbes, with nearly 80 percent of the votes, was declared a winner by all of the local TV stations.

In Suffolk, he had 15,560 votes to his challenger’s 5,801. There were 74 write-in ballots.

On the constitutional amendments, 65.52 percent of Suffolkians voted “yes” on the marriage amendment, casting 14,602 votes. Those in opposition voted “no” 7,685 times.

Voters cast 14,273 votes for the church incorporation amendment and 7,230 against.

More than 23,300 of the city’s 48,057 registered voters cast votes, bringing the turnout to above 48.49 percent.

On the exempt property amendment, the city vote was 12,286 for and 8,960 against.

Suffolk’s Democratic Party Chairman Arthur Bredemeyer said the results in the city spoke to the voters wanting change.

“That’s been the trend for the state and the nation since about ’04,” he said Tuesday night. “The people are tired of the scandals and the war in Iraq and they put people in there who can effect change.”

Bredemeyer said he was confident all day Tuesday that Webb would be victorious, but he also knew it would be close.

“An incumbent of Allen’s stature should have won big,” he said.

He also said the voter turnout made a statement as much as Webb’s victory.

As for Parker’s votes, Bredemeyer said the third-party candidate always steals some from somebody, but it isn’t clear right now who she hurt the most.

If the Virginia-wide senate race remains close, and there is a recount sought by either party, then, he said, we’ll find out who she ultimately impacted the most.

All votes are unofficial until certified by local officials.