Ben Cline, no surprise, wins Republican primary in Sixth District

ben cline
Ben Cline

Ben Cline, who voted to decertify 2020 presidential votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania, no doubt endearing himself to MAGA Nation, easily won the Republican primary in the Sixth District on Tuesday.

Cline, a two-term congressman, received more than 82 percent of the vote in the two-candidate race with Merritt Hale, a 2016 UVA graduate and U.S. Navy veteran in his first political race.

Cline barely acknowledged the primary, as Hale, 28, had trouble getting his campaign off the ground, raising just over $27,000 for his shoestring effort.

It’s not likely that Cline will have to do more than acknowledge his Democratic challenger in the general in the fall, Jennifer Lewis, who received 40.5 percent of the vote in her 2018 run against Cline in the Sixth.

That was Cline’s first run for the seat following the retirement of Bob Goodlatte, a Republican who had served in the seat since 1993.

merritt hale
Merritt Hale. Photo: merritthaleforcongress.com

The partisan lean of the Sixth is strong Republican, with Terry McAuliffe getting just 33.1 percent of the vote in the district, which stretches along a long stretch of Interstate 81, in the 2021 gubernatorial election.

The best that any Democrat has done in the past decade is Tim Kaine, in his 2018 Senate re-election race, in which Kaine received 41.3 percent of the vote in the Sixth.

Cline, like Goodlatte, his mentor, does his best to stay out of the spotlight, not really doing anything legislatively, not making any political waves.

Basically, Cline does just enough to let you know that he’s there, and to let Republican voters know that he’s one of them, even if he does show up to events on working farms in loafers, which is the definition of non sequitur.

Anyway, Republicans in the Sixth made it clear that they emphatically want to send a guy who, with the Capitol still in disarray from the attempted overthrow of American democracy, literally cast his lot with the plotters, back to Congress to represent them for another two years.

God save us all.


Chris Graham

I write books, mainly on sports, and do baseball play-by-play for ESPN3. I've finished three marathons, but I'm over that. Oh, and I'm a progressive who voted for Biden, but I'm also over that. Want to reach me? Try [email protected]