Rep. Rob Wittman, R-1st, topped Democratic challenger Vangie Williams on Tuesday and was elected to a sixth full term representing a sprawling district that includes Hanover and New Kent counties in the Richmond area.
The district also covers the city of Fredericksburg, Stafford and Caroline counties, the Middle Peninsula, the Northern Neck and parts of Spotsylvania and Prince William counties.
Wittman, 59, a Westmoreland County resident, was first elected to Congress in a 2007 special election. Williams, 50, a strategic planner who lives in King George County, hoped to unseat the incumbent with a grassroots campaign.
Wittman, who won nearly 56 percent of the vote according to unofficial results, said he was humbled by the result, adding: “Obviously, campaigns are kind of a back and forth, but after the campaign is over with, my job is to listen to everybody and work on their behalf across the 1st District."
In a district in which the two largest employers are the parent company of Newport News Shipbuilding and the Department of Defense, Wittman cited his service as chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.
Williams criticized Wittman for taking money from health care companies and other corporate political action committees. During a recent debate in Hanover, Wittman said individuals have every right “to express their will” through PACs.
Williams also charged that Wittman is unresponsive to constituents. Wittman aired a TV ad emphasizing the time he spends listening to constituents in his district.
Wittman says he opposes government-run universal health insurance and he voted this year to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act. Williams said she supports a “Medicare-for-all” system that includes dental and vision coverage.
Wittman, who served in the House of Delegates for two years before he was elected to Congress, spent about 20 years in local government on the Montross Town Council and the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors. He worked in state government for more than two decades as an environmental health specialist and as a field director for the state Health Department’s Division of Shellfish Sanitation.
Williams works for Science Applications International Corp., a government contractor. Her career in project management includes work in aerospace, construction, defense contracting, government operations, IT and national security. She also has worked in real estate in Virginia and Maryland.
In December 2016, Wittman dropped his bid for the Republican nomination for governor. During the recent debate in Hanover, Wittman said he is focused on serving the 1st District, but he did not rule out a future run for statewide office.