The 22nd district has been held by Republicans for a few decades. When Joyce Crouch retired from this seat in 1997, Kathy Byron was elected to replace her. This makes this seat one of only two currently in Virginia with consecutive Republican women being elected. Byron is a strong social conservative who is a member of Jerry Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg. In the 90's, Byron's district then was mostly in Campbell County with pieces of Lynchburg and Pittsylvania- while the neighboring 23rd district held by Preston Bryant had most of the City of Lynchburg. The 2001 redistricting united Lynchburg in Bryant's 23rd, and when Bryant resigned in 2005, that seat went to the Democrat Shannon Valentine for two terms. After Valentine was defeated in 2009, the GOP split Lynchburg once again in the 2011 redisticting- giving Byron the most Democratic parts of the City with entire 2nd ward (majority-minority) as well as parts of the 3rd ward. This move made the 23rd district much more Republican to stop a potential comeback by Valentine, while making Byron's 22nd district more Democratic than it was before. In this first run in the new district, Byron was unopposed in 2011. After running unopposed, Byron filed the legislation to require women get transvaginal probes before getting an abortion- legislation that was later watered down to require "jelly on the belly" ultrasounds before it was signed into law by Bob McDonnell.
House District #22 (map here)
42.0% of the vote in Bedford County
23.9% of the vote in Lynchburg City
21.5% of the vote in Campbell County
12.6% of the vote in Franklin County
2012 Major Party Election Results
Mitt Romney 23,479 (61.7%)
Barack Obama 14,560 (38.3%)
George Allen 23,450 (61.3%)
Tim Kaine 14,802 (38.7%)
Robert Hurt/Bob Goodlatte 24,595 (66.3%)
John Douglass/Andy Schmookler 12,524 (33.7%)
(Broken down below)
Robert Hurt 14,582 (73.1%)
John Douglass 5,356 (26.9%)
Bob Goodlatte 10,013 (58.3%)
Andy Schmookler 7,168 (41.7%)
The 2nd ward of Lynchburg is the majority-minority part of the City, and combined with the two other city precincts included in this district voted 6,582-2,508 (72.4%) for Barack Obama. Campbell County borders the City, and the precincts included in this district in Campbell almost perfectly cancelled out Lynchburg City- voting for Mitt Romney by a 6,055-2,137 (73.9%) vote. That's a margin of 4,074 for Obama in Lynchburg and 3,918 for Romney in Campbell. Since the redistricting this district is no longer majority Lynchburg/Campbell for the first time- stretched out to pick up even more Republican precincts to offset the City. In Bedford County, precincts in this district overlap with two different Congressional districts. In the 5th district Bedford County area (eastern), Mitt Romney defeated Barack Obama by a 5,085-2,316 (68.5%) vote, while in the 6th district Bedford precincts Romney won by an even larger 6,604-1,975 (77.0%) margin. This district now runs all the way to the Franklin County line with Bedford- taking in the Bedford side of Smith Mountain Lake, before curling north into the parts of Franklin County north of Smith Mountain Lake on the border with Roanoke County. Those Franklin precincts- near the Burnt Chimney area- voted for Romney by a 3,227-1,550 (67.6%) tally.
In terms of states, the Lynchburg precincts are slightly more Democratic in percentage than even Hawaii- the most Democratic state in the country. But the Campbell and Bedford precincts are very similar in their voting to Utah- the most Republican state in the country. The new 22nd district is as politically polarized between localities as any district in Virginia.
In the Senate race, Tim Kaine won the City of Lynchburg precincts in this district by a 6,381-2,701 (70.3%) vote. That's 2.1% better for George Allen than Mitt Romney in this same area though. Again, this is consistent with what we have seen in many majority-minority areas we have covered so far- Allen wins a small crossover. In Campbell, Allen won a 6,130-2,266 (73.0%) vote over Kaine- but as we have seen in many rural white majority areas the crossover went to Kaine- he outperformed President Obama by 0.9% here. In the Bedford County precincts that overlap with the 5th Congressional district George Allen won by a 5,016-2,346 (68.1%) vote- or a 0.4% crossover for Kaine. On the other side of Bedford County in the precincts that overlap with the 6th district, Allen won 6,454-2,111 (75.4%) or a 1.6% crossover for Kaine over Obama. Finally in Franklin County, Allen won by a 3,149-1,698 (65.0%) vote, or a 2.6% crossover for Kaine.
Republican Congressional candidates led the GOP ticket in each area of the district, but not always by much. The biggest crossover was in Lynchburg which is in the 6th Congressional district. Andy Schmookler defeated Bob Goodlatte here by a 5,573-3,153 (63.9%) vote or a big 8.5% crossover for Goodlatte over Romney. The other area of this district in the 6th Congressional district is parts of Bedford County- where Goodlatte won by a 6,860-1,595 (81.1%) vote over Schmookler or a 4.1% crossover in an already strongly GOP area.
In the areas that overlap with the 5th district, Robert Hurt had a smaller crossover than Bob Goodlatte got in the 6th district precincts. In Campbell County, Hurt won by a 6,165-1,840 (77.0%), over John Douglass or 3.1% better than Romney in the same area. In the Bedford County precincts in the 5th district, Hurt won a 5,125-2,069 (71.2%) vote- or 2.7% better than Romney. Finally in Franklin County, Hurt won by a 3,292-1,447 (69.5%) vote over Douglass- or a 1.9% crossover vote above Romney.
This has never been a district that received much attention, but that may change after redistricting. Byron is the perfect candidate for a 70% GOP district because she is very conservative- and needs lots of margin to make up for any moderates she loses. But under this new district, Republicans are barely over 60% of the vote in a national election- and local Democrats here have shown in many of these counties that they can win a much larger share of the vote than their statewide candidates do. It's going to take a really good candidate to unseat Byron as that person would need to both motivate lots of Democratic voters in Lynchburg while also appealing to the rural voters that stretch almost to Roanoke. But with these new lines it is possible for the first time since Byron was elected to see her losing her seat to the right challenger.
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 #17- Chris Head (Tennessee)
House District #19- Lacey Putney (West Virginia)
House District #28- Bill Howell (Florida)
House District #30- Ed Scott (Montana)
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 #60- James Edmunds (North Carolina)
House District #87- David Ramadan (Washington)