VA-6: Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R) will not Seek Re-election

Yet another powerful House GOP committee chair is retiring as he terms out of his chairmanship. Thirteen-term Rep. and Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte (R) will not seek re-election. Goodlatte’s VA-6 covers most of the Shenandoah Valley from Roanoke to Front Royal. The seat is solidly Republican and the most historically-Republican district in VA. At R+13, it should stay safely in GOP hands.

The right of first refusal for this seat most likely goes to State Sen. Mark Obenshain (R), who very narrowly lost the AG race in 2013 and is well-liked among the GOP establishment. If Obenshain runs, he will likely be the near-prohibitive front-runner. State Sens. Stephen Newman (R) and David Suetterlein (R) are also a names to watch. The other two State Senators in the seat, Emmett Hanger (R) and Mark Peake (R), are less likely as Hanger is 70 and Peake was just elected this year. There are about 8 GOP State Reps. in the seat, though with the House majority on a knife-edge they may feel pressure to not vacate their seats.

Two prominent Democratic State Senators, Creigh Deeds (D) and John Edwards (D), do live here, but it seems unlikely either would try such an uphill race. State Rep. Sam Rasoul (D) also lives here and has run for Congress before.

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  • MikeFL November 9, 2017 at 11:07 am

    VA-6 is a pretty R seat, no? Even though this might be Goodlatte thinking at age 65 it won’t be worth possibility being in the minority.

    26 | FL-16/27 | FisCon

    • shamlet November 9, 2017 at 11:17 am

      This is entirely due to him being termed out of Judiciary IMO. This is the third retirement in the last week of a termed-out committee chair.

      R, MD-7. Put not your trust in princes. Process is more important than outcome.

      • shamlet November 9, 2017 at 11:19 am

        1994 was an incredibly awful year for Rs to implement 6-year chair term limits. Every 6-year cycle beyond then has hit a Dem year.

        R, MD-7. Put not your trust in princes. Process is more important than outcome.

        • Left Coast Libertarian November 9, 2017 at 11:29 am

          Power shouldn’t be given to anyone for life, but the 3 term chairmanship definitely causes retirements and creates potential vulnerabilities. If you’re a Democrat and get to be the ranking person you can have that for 30 years.

          I don’t think Republicans are that concerned with serving in the minority. If that happens they have a good shot at being in the majority again soon.

          • Ryan_in_SEPA November 9, 2017 at 12:15 pm

            John Conyers is in line to take over this Committee in 2019 if the Democrats take the House.

            31, PA-6, fiscally conservative communitarian, Giant Meteor 2020 - Just End It Already!

            • cer November 9, 2017 at 12:20 pm

              That should be enough of a motivator for the GOP to get out and vote!

              Conservative first, Republican second!

            • Republican Michigander November 9, 2017 at 12:34 pm

              That’s if Conyers is still in office. He’s 88 years old.

              MI-08 - Michigan is a red state again. We need a 50 state strategy and an 83 county strategy.

              • Ryan_in_SEPA November 9, 2017 at 1:47 pm

                If he is alive, he will be there!

                31, PA-6, fiscally conservative communitarian, Giant Meteor 2020 - Just End It Already!

            • Conservative First November 9, 2017 at 12:41 pm


            • Midnight901 November 9, 2017 at 12:49 pm

              Conyers will be 90 years old in 2019. Ludicrous.

          • shamlet November 9, 2017 at 1:20 pm

            Agree, but not actually my point. I was just making a historical musing that the GOP would have been noticeably better off if the term limit clock had, say, started in 1992 instead.

            R, MD-7. Put not your trust in princes. Process is more important than outcome.

  • segmentation_fault November 9, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Democrats don’t have a chance here but it shows Republican MoCs see the writing on the wall.

    • GOPTarHeel November 9, 2017 at 11:18 am

      No, it shows that he was termed out of chairing his committee on his signature issue.

      R/NC-13. I'll never regret a vote that resulted in Neil Gorsuch.

      • cer November 9, 2017 at 11:20 am

        Dems it’s another seat that the GOP will easily hold. I agree he is being termed out and he is 65.

        Conservative first, Republican second!

  • bluewahoo November 9, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Sam Rasoul is the Democrat delegate from Roanoke and has made a run at this seat before – he might try. Deeds would be stronger candidate though.

    I agree Obenshain is the most logical GOP candidate.

  • AJNolte November 9, 2017 at 11:30 am

    How easy is Obenshain’s state senate seat for Rs to hold if he wins?

    33, male, VA-02, libertarian so-con hawk, Semi-persuadable Trump skeptic.

    • bluewahoo November 9, 2017 at 11:33 am

      63% Trump, 64% Gillespie, 59% Cuccinelli, 60% Romney


      • Greyhound November 9, 2017 at 2:51 pm

        Yeah, the only D part of this seat is Roanoke city, and that’s a very small part of the seat. On the upside, we can finally put Roanoke into VA-9 instead of leaving in this seat for no reason other than Goodlatte didn’t want to move. In anything less than a full D gerrymander that’ll probably happen since VA-9 has to expand.

        R, 26, CA-18. Anti-Anti-Trump

  • andrew_1918 November 9, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    VA-6: Gillespie- 60%, Northam- 39%

  • californianintexas November 9, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    The 6th was one of Gillespie’s better districts Tuesday, so safe R.

    34, Female, Libertarian, UT-02 (hometown CA-31),

  • andyroo312 November 9, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    In a Democratic wave, Deeds could probably get into the low-40s here. Still, Safe R.


  • davybaby November 9, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Goodlatte’s predecessor in VA-06, Jim Olin, was a Democrat, but that was a long time ago and Olin, a former General Electric engineer, was hardly a flaming lefty.

  • LtNOWIS November 9, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    State Rep. Ben Cline and RNC member Cynthia Dunbar are already in:

    28, VA-11

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