VIRGINIA BEACH — State Del. Barry Knight, a Republican, won reelection in the 81st House District on Tuesday, Nov. 5, according to unofficial returns reported this morning by the state elections department.
Knight, a farmer from Back Bay, defeated challenger Len Myers, a Democrat from Chesapeake, with 52.1 percent of the vote to 47.7 percent for Myers.
The victory for Knight came after the 81stDistrict was among those affected by a redistricting court decision earlier this year, significantly narrowing the GOP’s edge, according analysis by the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project.
The Myers campaign had not made a determination about the Election Day result, however – meaning there was no concession, as of this morning.
Due to issues with how numbers were reported by the state late Tuesday – initially, after issues with the state’s election results page, it appeared Myers might have won – Myers campaign spokesperson Shawn Tarrant said the campaign would work with the party to ensure the returns are correct.
The 81stHouse District includes parts of Chesapeake and, in Virginia Beach, places such as Sandbridge and rural communities where agriculture is a leading industry and for which Knight since 2009 has been a voice in the General Assembly. The district includes much of the main coverage area of The Independent News.
Unofficial returns showed Myers winning the vote in Chesapeake, while Knight dominated in most Virginia Beach precincts and won the overall vote in that city. Knight had overwhelming support – roughly eight out of 10 votes – in the Capps Shop and Creeds precincts, and the incumbent also had significant support in Blackwater, Sandbridge and Sigma.
“My win was pure and simple,” Knight said on Wednesday, Nov. 6, noting extremely strong numbers in precincts in southern Virginia Beach. “My friends and neighbors came out for me.”
“It is awfully humbling and gratifying that my neighbors and constituents sent me back,” he added.
Knight’s victory came on a day that saw significant gains for Democrats elsewhere, with the balance of power in both the Virginia Senate and Virginia House of Delegates shifting to Democrat control. Democrats had enough wins to take control in both houses, according to The Associated Press.
“I can tell you this: It’s going to be a big change,” Knight said. “They’re going to be able to push their initiatives in, the governor will sign them, and the senate will concur.”
Knight said he will work in Richmond with the new majority while still voting in the interest of constituents.
“I’m right of center, but I’m a bipartisan guy,” he said. “I know I can work with them.”
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