Hurt Wins: What It Means for 5th District

By: Stephanie Satchell; Ruth Showalter Email
By: Stephanie Satchell; Ruth Showalter Email

November 3, 2010

Congressman-elect Robert Hurt celebrated his slight victory over Democratic incumbent Tom Perriello with supporters, staff and volunteers in Chatham Tuesday night.

While Republicans and Democrats are getting adjusted to the new Congressman-elect, they're also thinking about what the election results will mean for their respective political parties.

"With Robert Hurt winning, what that means to Republicans is there may be an easing off the accelerator in the direction our country is headed. This is by no means stepping on the breaks, much less turning the wheel," said Keith Drake, of the Truth in Taxation Alliance.

However, local Democrats say things will definitely change.

"A Hurt victory is clearly showing that the population is thinking about the national issues. They're following the Republican line of 'let's think about taxes, let's not do innovative new policies in health care, et cetera,'" said political activist, Peter Kleeman.

Many local community leaders wonder if the opinions of the norther part of the Fifth District will be heard by Congressman-elect Hurt, who hails from Chatham, a town just north of Danville.

"People don't run for office if they are not interested in listening to others and learning from them. We are a state that has a wide range of diversity and opinion," said Albemarle County Supervisor, Ann Mallek.

"I think that Robert Hurt through his time has been rather accessible, and I anticipate that he will build a staff that will keep that accessibility to him as Representative Perriello did," political activist, Neil Williamson responded.

The first item on the Republican agenda is repealing or defunding health care reform, and others are beginning to wonder what that means for their current health care and treatment.

"It's a start, and if [the current health care legislation] dismantled then my only hops is that the new party in power in the House of Representatives comes up with better ideas that can be implemented soon," said Dr. Greg Gelburd, of Downtown Family Healthcare.

With the promise of more jobs, lower taxes and repealed health care legislation, local Republicans say they'll be sure to hold Hurt to his words.

"We're going to hold Robert Hurt's feet to the fire. We've got to make him follow through on his promises of limited government, reduced taxation and conservatism," said Drake.

Democrats hope that even with Hurt's opposing agenda, he will remember to include all his constituents.

"I just hope that Mr. Hurt will communicate with the full Fifth District and be available do the town hall meetings that we have become accustomed to in Charlottesville," said Kleeman.

As Congressman-elect Robert Hurt prepares to take office in July, both Republicans and Democrats are gearing up for the next two years, and hoping for the best. Members of both parties say they'll listen to what Hurt says, watch the way Hurt votes, and call him out if necessary.

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