GOP cements control of Va. House 

Republicans increased their majority in the Virginia House of Delegates in Tuesday's election by picking up at least five seats -- stanching a recent Democratic tide in the state's lower chamber.

The GOP also made inroads into a handful of seats representing the Washington suburbs, including the 34th District, comprised of part of Fairfax County. Republican Barbara Comstock defeated Democratic incumbent Margi Vanderhye in the race for that seat by the razor-thin margin of 50.6 percent to 49.2 percent.

Meanwhile, Republican Scott Garrett nipped incumbent Democrat Shannon Valentine in Lynchburg, 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent, with the race called by the Associated Press Wednesday morning.

"A lot of the pickups were in urban areas," said Republican Del. Dave Albo of Fairfax. "It's really going to help us out in Richmond."

Albo, who defeated Democratic challenger Greg Werkheiser 57 percent to 43 percent, said it was "gratifying to be able to win by such a wide margin."

The good vibes from the GOP camp are a stark contrast to the slings and arrows suffered by Virginia Republicans in the past 12 months.

Little more than a year ago, Jeff Frederick, the former state party chairman, was at odds with John McCain's presidential campaign and infamously compared President Obama to Osama bin Laden, saying they both had friends who bombed the Pentagon.

Frederick, formerly a delegate representing Prince William County, was ousted in April as chairman by the State Central Committee. Former Fairfax County Republican chairman Pat Mullins replaced him.

Another purge for the GOP was Democrat Luke Torian's defeat of Republican Rafael Lopez in the race to occupy the 52nd District seat, previously held by Frederick. And embattled Del. Phil Hamilton, R-Newport News, was felled by Democrat Robin Abbott 54 percent to 46 percent in the 93rd District House race.

dsherfinski@washingtonexaminer.com

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