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Republican 2023 Post-Election Analysis

This is the second edition of our Post-Election Analysis. To view our Democratic analysis, click here.


In 2023, the Washington County Republican Committee had candidates in every office up for election, with the exception of a few school board and board of supervisor seats. Many of which were unopposed.


The Breakdown

Let's take a moment to break down each race and what factors affected public opinion as each race differed.


Treasurer

Derek Webb was the Republican candidate for Washington County Treasurer against the long-time incumbent Treasurer, Fred Parker. Webb has served on the Abingdon Town Council since July 2018 and most recently served as Mayor from 2020-2023. He is also a Pharmacist at Food City Pharmacy in Abingdon. Webb's strategy was to focus on his opponents age rather than his own inexperience.



Derek Webb lost this election with a very close margin of 2.12% and just 337 votes, in large part because of his name recognition. However, Derek Webb's name recognition did not outweigh Parker's 37 years of experience. It's important to note that Webb's name appeared on the Republicans' sample ballot, and Republicans are voting straight ticket rather than for the most qualified candidate.


For specific precinct breakdowns with an interactive map, click here.


Webb's performance in Abingdon precincts shows that his name recognition and the strength of his personal relationships were a factor in making this race as close as it was.


Webb raised and spent $13,435 while campaigning. Parker raised and spent $29,790 during this election cycle.


 

Commonwealth's Attorney

Dove Goodpaster was the Republican candidate for Washington County Commonwealth's Attorney against the two-term incumbent Josh Cumbow. She is an attorney who works in private practice. Goodpaster is neither a trial lawyer or a criminal lawyer which are the skills required to be effective in this position. She also has never held public office before. Goodpaster's main attack on Cumbow was that "progressive prosecutors are no longer prosecuting misdemeanor thefts." Her name on the Republican sample ballot was determinative the vote count she garnered.








Goodpaster lost her election with a margin of 15.26% and 2,404 votes. She won every precinct in the western parts of the county. Cumbow won by his largest margin to date because of his job performance and her lack of any real trial experience. It is worth noting that she did not perform as well as Derek Webb even with her name on the sample ballot. She is also from outside the County.



For specific precinct breakdowns with an interactive map, click here.


Goodpaster raised and spent $9,622. Cumbow raised $37,282 and spent $29,286.


 

Commissioner of Revenue

April Hamby Crabtree was the Republican candidate for Washington County Commissioner of Revenue. She is a former educator and insurance agent. She has family roots/ties to Washington County and her name is well-known across the county. Christina Clark Rehfuss was the Democratic candidate in this race. Rehfuss serves on the County Planning Commission and Zoning Appeals Board. Mark Matney (I) was the incumbent Commissioner of Revenue who referred to himself as a 'Trump Republican' despite being kicked out of the Republican Party of Washington County. David Henry was the former two-time Commissioner of Revenue who used to be the Democratic candidate but left after blaming his loss on being a Democrat. This election was arguably the most challenging due to the amount of candidates in the race and the presence of two incumbents.











April Crabtree won this election with 39.52% of the vote and had a large margin against the 3 other candidates. She won every single precinct in Washington County with the exception of Clinchburg, Glade Spring, Mendota, and Green Cove. Crabtree won this race because of her deep ties in Washington County and because mainstream Republicans wanted an alternative to Mark Matney. She was a good alternative.


Due to the number of candidates running in this race, a visual of the county would be ineffective. However, if you want to see a visualized precinct breakdown, click here.


Crabtree raised $18,415 and spent $17,537. Christina Rehfuss raised and spent $20,849. Matney raised $31,785 and spent $33,510. Henry raised and spent $580.


 

Board of Supervisors (District C, Madison)

Charlie Hargis was the Republican candidate for Board of Supervisors in the Madison district. He is the Chair of the Washington County "Tea Party" but has still earned support from the Republican party despite the Tea Party's opposition to them. Hargis appeared on the Republican sample ballot. Julianne Johnson Miles was the Democratic candidate running against Hargis.









For specific precinct breakdowns with an interactive map, click here.


Charlie Hargis won this election with a margin of 16.62% and just 437 votes. He won both precincts but performed the best in the Watauga precinct. It's important to note that Hargis had the power of incumbency and his name recognition attributed to his win. His name on the Republican sample ballot and mailer also helped him in this race. Regardless of the fact that Julianne Miles knocked every single door in the Madison District, the voters chose the path of least resistance and opted for a known, if ineffective, quantity. Mr. Hargis will continue to get paid for napping.


Charlie Hargis raised and spent $2,815. Julianne raised $7,760 and spent $5,869 during her election cycle campaign.


 

Key Takeaways


  • The voters have an unwavering allegiance to the Republican party's brand.

  • Sentiment about national and state politics bled down into local elections.

  • Anti-Biden sentiment fueled Republican voter turnout.

  • In the Commissioner of Revenue's race, the Republicans were able to re-focus voter attention away from an incumbent.

  • Experience counted more than name recognition, but just barely.


Take a look at our Democratic Election Analysis, here.

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