Goode returns for a sixth term

Goode returns for a sixth term
Twenty-eight Democrats wrested Congressional seats from Republicans in last week’s elections, but Nelson County farmer Al Weed was not one of them. Maybe the other guys had better cell phone reception.

Though Weed lost in his second bid to replace Republican incumbent Virgil Goode as representative for the Fifth District, which includes Charlottesville, he posted better returns this time than in 2004, capturing close to 40 percent of votes overall. Still, the enormity of the district (equal to the size of New Jersey and running south all the way to Danville) and its spotty reliability, technology-wise, proved to be impediments as significant as Goode’s “aw shucks,” tabacky accent and his legacy of glad-handing and personal favors around Southside Virginia.

“We spent more time in the car than actual face-to-face campaigning,” said Di Abbott, Weed’s campaign coordinator, wiping tears from her face after Weed conceded to Goode at the Charlottesville Ice Park on Tuesday night, November 7. “There was so much wasted time. In some places we didn’t even have cell phone contact.”

Regrouping after his 2004 routing, Weed streamlined his campaign message this time out, focusing on job creation for the hard-hit Southside and, like other Dems, on the protracted and costly war effort in Iraq. Goode’s close ties with Mitchell Wade and Richard Berglund, officials from defense contractor MZM, who were responsible for lining Goode’s coffers with illegal campaign contributions, should have made the race a gimme for the Weed campaign as Republican “character” issues took the national stage, too.

Even GOP stalwarts like the Richmond Times-Dispatch backed off from Goode this time, though they opted to endorse no one rather than back Weed. Curt Gleeson, who managed communications for Weed’s two-year, district-crossing campaign allowed that there was “zero chance [the RTD] would endorse a challenger. But for them to say Virgil doesn’t have our backing, backs up what we’ve been saying: He’s no good.”

Local voters needed no convincing to support Weed, a decorated Vietnam vet whose son is currently serving in Iraq. Charlottesville gave him about 75 percent of the vote and even Albemarle, which went to Goode last time, backed him with 54 percent of the vote. But, in the end, this is here and that is there.

“To some degree there’s a rural/urban divide,” said George Loper, the local blogger and news archivist whose website is a mainstay for area Democrats. “It’s hard to get across that divide.”

He conceded that as a farmer, Weed is not exactly an urban sophisticate, but, added Loper, “he’s not part of the courthouse crowd down there,” either.

When it came time to concede, Weed put his focus squarely on what lies ahead—including reshaping the mammoth and diverse Fifth District. “What we’re doing here is laying the groundwork so we can elect more Democrats, so gerrymandering will be reversed,” he said. “These races are about building for a future."

For complete Virginia results see:

Posted In:     News

Previous Post

Book covers wrongful imprisonment

Next Post

Attack of the turkey-snatchers

Our comments system is designed to foster a lively debate of ideas, offer a forum for the exchange of ad hoc information, and solicit honest, respectful feedback about the work we do. We’re glad you’re participating. Here are a few simple rules to follow, which should be relatively straightforward.

1) Don’t call people names or accuse them of things you cannot support.
2) Don’t direct foul language, racial slurs, or offensive terms at other commenters or our staff.
3) Don’t use the discussion on our site for commercial (or shameless personal) promotion.

We reserve the right to remove posts and ban commenters who violate any of the rules listed above, or the spirit of the discussion. We’re trying to create a safe space for a wide range of people to express themselves, and we believe that goal can only be achieved through thoughtful, sensitive editorial control.

If you have questions or comments about our policies or about a specific post, please send an e-mail to

Leave a Reply

Notify of