HARRISONBURG — Democrats have fared poorly in their campaigns to unseat 6th District Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke, the last 20 years, but they’re not about to give up.
The latest candidate seeking to take down the longtime representative is Staunton City Councilman Bruce Elder. He is eyeing the Democratic nomination in the 2014 election and is the first challenger to Goodlatte to come forward, establishing a website and campaign team within the last month.
A New Hampshire native, Elder, 55, owns Elder Antique Auto, a classic and antique auto dealer in Staunton. He has not scheduled any campaign events or a formal campaign kickoff, though he’ll have plenty of chances: the election isn’t until Nov. 4, 2014.
While he has time, Elder said Wednesday, Goodlatte has had enough of it.
“We’ve given Rep. Goodlatte an entire generation to make a difference in our lives,” he said. “I think it’s time to put some fresh eyes on some things.”
Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has represented the 6th District since 1993, easily winning re-election to Congress every two years. He has received at least 60 percent of the vote every time he’s faced opposition.
Last year, Goodlatte soundly knocked off his first challenger for the Republican nomination in a primary election before his general election triumph.
The district runs south to Roanoke and east to the Blue Ridge Mountains, and includes Rockingham, Page and Shenandoah counties, as well as Harrisonburg.
‘Intend To Win’
In 2005, Elder lost to then-Del. Chris Saxman, a Republican, in a race for what was then Virginia’s 20th House of Delegates District. The district included the Rockingham County precincts of Ottobine, Bridgewater, Mount Crawford, Montezuma and Massanetta Springs.
Elder joined the Staunton City Council the following year. His current four-year term expires in 2014.
He supports the redevelopment of rail transportation through the 6th District and the preservation of commercial air services. Elder also wants immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, a measure Goodlatte opposes.
“A number of the strains on our economy are a result of a broken immigration policy,” Elder said.
He understands most voters won’t tune into the campaign until next year, but he’s laying the foundation now for an upset.
“We fully intend to win,” Elder said. “I would not do this unless I felt I had a very, very good chance of winning.”
Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or email@example.com