The final Roanoke Valley district to look at is the 17th district. When the Roanoke area was redrawn in 2001, the 17th was made into a reliably GOP seat based in Roanoke County, with then-Delegate Morgan Griffith's Salem based 8th district taking in the remaining areas in Roanoke County. For the first term here, Vic Thomas held this seat as Republicans waited for him to retire. When he did in 2003, the seat went to William Fralin who had lost a battle for the State Senate with John Edwards in 1999. Fralin held the seat for three terms before retiring in 2009- when Bill Cleaveland won the seat before deciding to give it up after one term. In 2011 Chris Head became the fourth Delegate here in the last decade.
House District #17 (map here)
75.6% of the vote in Roanoke County
18.1% of the vote in Roanoke City
6.3% of the vote in Botetourt County
2012 Major Party Election Results
Mitt Romney 25,351 (60.6%)
Barack Obama 16,466 (39.4%)
George Allen 24,548 (58.5%)
Tim Kaine 17,441 (41.5%)
Bob Goodlatte/Morgan Griffith 27,803 (67.9%)
Andy Schmookler/Anthony Flaccavento 13,128 (32.1%)
(Broken down below)
Bob Goodlatte 24,623 (68.6%)
Andy Schmookler 11,246 (31.4%)
Morgan Griffith 3,180 (62.8%)
Anthony Flaccavento 1,882 (37.2%)
The 17th district takes in three counties and overlaps with two Congressional districts, but each section of the district is solidly Republican and trending even more so. The 17th includes five precincts in Roanoke City that don't have a city feel to them- in fact you might be surprised that you were in the City limits in these neighborhoods. Those Roanoke City precincts gave Mitt Romney a 4,106-3,460 (54.3%) victory. The district has a population base in Roanoke County which is served by both Bob Goodlatte in the 6th Congressional and Morgan Griffith in the 9th Congressional. In the 9th district precincts (closer to Salem) Mitt Romney won a 3,082-2,103 win (59.4%) while he won a 16,339-10,076 (61.9%) victory in the 6th district precincts of Roanoke County in this district. Finally, the district goes a little bit into Botetourt County, and Romney won that area 1,824-827 (68.8%).
There was an interesting statistic in Roanoke County with the election results. In the 6th Congressional district portions of the county (this includes both precincts in the 17th and 8th legislative districts)- Romney ran 2.0% above his election day percentage in the absentee ballots. In the 9th Congressional district precincts (again including 17th and 8th districts) Romney ran 4.1% behind his election day totals in the absentee ballots. That jumped out because you don't see 6.1% swings in the electorate without something to explain it. When I checked into this more with local Republicans I learned that Goodlatte had a major absentee program into his district that Griffith decided not to do. Whatever that program was it sure worked well- and you can see it in the results.
Tim Kaine ran ahead of Barack Obama in each area of this district, but not enough to win any of them over George Allen. The Roanoke City precincts voted for Allen by a 3,958-3,684 (51.8%)- a 2.5% net crossover for Kaine. In the Roanoke County precincts in the 9th Congressional district the votes were for Allen by a 3,034-2,146 (58.6%) margin- or a 0.8% crossover for Kaine. In the Roanoke County 6th Congressional district precincts Allen won a 15,770-10,728 (59.5%) vote, or a crossover of 2.4% for Kaine. Finally in Botetourt, Allen's margin was 1,786-883 (66.9%) or a crossover of 1.9% for Kaine.
While Democrats gained crossover in the U.S. Senate race, in the Congressional races the crossover went the other direction from the Presidential race. In the Roanoke City precincts Bob Goodlatte defeated Andy Schmookler by a 4,437-2,733 (61.9%) vote or a 7.6% crossover from the top of the ticket. In Roanoke County, Goodlatte won a 7.9% crossover vote above Romney with his 18,169-7,869 (69.8%) pummeling of Schmookler. In the 9th district Roanoke County precincts, Morgan Griffith won a 3.4% crossover in his 3,180-1,882 (62.8%) win over Anthony Flaccavento. Finally in Botetourt which is back in the 6th again, Goodlatte won a 7.0% crossover above Romney with his 2,017-644 (75.8%) win.
The overwhelming GOP vote here makes Chris Head look pretty safe. I've got to make one snarky comment though- check out Head's website in the Bio section. I've never seen someone make you click on their political slogans to read sections of their bio before. Very strange. But I guess when you are in a safe seat like Head is it doesn't really matter if you are a little different.
Previous Districts Covered
House District #1- Terry Kilgore (Utah)
House District #2- Mark Dudenhefer (Delaware)
House District #3- Will Morefield (Utah)
House District #4- Joe Johnson (Wyoming)
House District #5- Israel O'Quinn (Wyoming)
House District #6- Anne Crockett-Stark (Oklahoma)
House District #7- Nick Rush (Kansas)
House District #8- Greg Habeeb (Arkansas)
House District #9- Charles Poindexter (West Virginia)
House District #10- Randy Minchew (North Carolina)
House District #11- Onzlee Ware (Rhode Island)
House District #12- Joseph Yost (Virginia)
House District #13- Bob Marshall (New Mexico)
House District #14- Danny Marshall (North Carolina)
House District #16- Don Merricks (Mississippi)
House District #28- Bill Howell (Florida)
House District #32- Tag Greason (New Hampshire)
House District #33- Joe May (Alaska)
House District #50- Jackson Miller (Michigan)
House District #51- Rich Anderson (Ohio)
House District #52- Luke Torian (Hawaii)
House District #87- David Ramadan (Washington)