Four Republicans have joined the council in a city that voted for Obama twice. Three Democrats were ousted by Republicans and one Republican incumbent held for a 4-seat sweep.
DailyCaller reports three Democratic members of the Staunton, Virginia, city council were ousted by Republicans on Tuesday despite receiving more votes than they did four years ago.
Republican candidates Mark Robertson, Amy Darby, and Steve Claffey all joined incumbent Andrea Oakes in a four-seat GOP sweep, WHSV reported. The three incoming council members replaced Democratic incumbents Erik Curren, Ophie Kier, and James Harrington all almost doubled their vote totals from 2016, yet still lost.
Local outlet Augusta Free Press reporter Chris Graham called the results “stunning almost beyond words.”
“Democrats got their voters out better than they have in a May cycle in years,” Graham wrote. “Republicans got turnout more akin to, not quite a presidential year, but approaching gubernatorial.”
Graham cited gun control legislation in the state as well as COVID-19 lockdowns as key turnout drivers for Republicans in the city.
Overall voter turnout was 4,320, the Augusta Free Press reported, with a total of 17,279 votes cast.
“For comparison to previous cycles, the 2018 local election had 7,068 votes cast for three seats, which would work out to 2,356 individual voters turning out,” wrote Graham. “Back in 2016, the most recent, until Tuesday, four-seat election, the total cast was 6,325, or 1,581 individual voters.”
Incumbent city council member Andrea Oakes reportedly received around the number compiled in the city by Ed Gillespie in 2017 and Ken Cuccinelli in 2013, striking for a local election and indicative of a huge turnout from GOP voters.
Nearby Wayesboro also put two conservatives, Lana Williams and Bruce Allen, on their city council to “give conservatives a working majority,” Graham reported.
“Bottom line is that the strategies worked, flipping both from D to R, but the change in Staunton is stunning almost beyond words,” Graham opined. “A city that voted for Barack Obama, twice, voted for Hillary Clinton, voted for Terry McAuliffe and Ralph Northam, even gave a solid majority to Jennifer Lewis in her 2018 congressional run against Ben Cline, is now controlled by Republicans.”