This past Saturday, Del. Nick Freitas prevailed, in a marathon (13-hour) VA07 GOP convention, against four opponents (the main ones being Del. John McGuire and Tina Ramirez). Check out this spreadsheet of round-by-round results, by Roanoke GOP Chair Dan Webb, as well as the tweet by VA Capitol Square, about how it went down. In short, though, as VA Capitol Square puts it, the key to Freitas’ win was not so much “building towards a consensus coalition” as “outlasting your opponents to win a majority of a shrinking pie over many hours.” Many hours, by the way, in which temperatures were in the 90s and people apparently were passing out from the heat. So it’s not particularly surprising that not everyone stayed around for the entire event. With that, here are some numbers…
- Freitas started in the first round with 1,183 raw votes (43.5%), compared to 726 raw votes (25.9%) for McGuire and 596 raw votes (23%) for Ramirez, plus 181 (7%) for Andrew Knaggs and 16 votes combined for the two other candidate. Nobody had a majority, so the balloting had to go to at least a second round. However, note that McGuire and Ramirez, who were allied against Freitas, came very close to a majority, with 48.9% combined.
- Also note that in the first round, Henrico County went to McGuire (291 raw votes) – who lives in Henrico – over Freitas (240); Chesterfield County, which is where Ramirez is based, went to Freitas (234) over Ramirez (223); Spotsylvania County went to Freitas (165) over Ramirez (80); Culpeper County went overwhelmingly to Freitas (130) – not surprising given that Freitas lives in Culpeper – over Knaggs (27) and Ramirez (14); etc.
- There were 2,702 overall raw votes cast in the first round.
- In the second round, the raw vote total fell to 2,304, with Freitas falling from 1,183 to 1,085 (minus 8%), McGuire falling from 726 to 596 (minus 18%); Ramirez falling from 596 to 538 (minus 10%) and Knaggs from 181 to 85 (minus 53%). So basically, all of the top three candidates saw their support drop (“melt away” in the heat?) from round #1 to round #2, although in percentage terms, Freitas held on the best, followed by Ramirez and McGuire…with Knaggs dropping out of contention and endorsing Freitas, while Ramirez dropped out and endorsed McGuire.
- In the third and final round, the raw vote total dropped to just 1,778…down 34% from the first round. Freitas’ raw vote total actually fell another 7%, from 1,085 to 1,004, despite the Knaggs endorsement. As for McGuire, he gained 30% in his raw vote total (up to 774 in Round 3, from 596 in Round 2)…clearly thanks to some of Ramirez’s remaining supporters voting for him, but that wasn’t enough for him to catch Freitas.
- Note that in the final round of voting, McGuire won the two largest jurisdictions in VA07 – Chesterfield County and Henrico County – but not by a big enough margin, particularly given the fact that many of those delegates had already left, to catch Freitas. As for Freitas, he clobbered McGuire in Culpeper County (127-12), in Spotsylvania County (141-75), in Orange County (85-16), in Powhatan County (59-36), in Nottoway County (23-4) and in Amelia County (29-3), while narrowly carrying Goochland County (81-75) and Louisa County (59-56).
- Finally, it’s worth noting that the number of delegates attending the VA07 GOP convention was lower than expected to begin with, as there had been over 5,000 registered and 4,000 or so expected, but only 2,702 votes cast in the first round, and only 1,778 votes cast in the final round…of which just 1,004 voted for Freitas. So yes, Freitas is the VA07 GOP nominee, but with just 1,004 votes, in a Congressional district which saw about 350,000 votes cast in November 2018. In other words, Freitas has a looong way to go to build a majority of VA07 voters against popular incumbent Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D). And, as you can see from the VA07 GOP convention round-by-round numbers, Freitas certainly didn’t move in that direction this past Saturday…