Independents face uphill battle against Goodlatte

The Sixth District is a safe one politically, so safe that Republican incumbent Bob Goodlatte does not have a Democratic Party opponent on the ballot in the November elections, though there are two independent candidates vying for the seat.

The challenge ahead for Stuart Bain, a Libertarian, and Jeff Vanke, a self-described “Independent-Centrist,” is pretty substantial.

“This would be a difficult race even for a Democrat,” said Isaac Wood, a political analyst at the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “Bob Goodlatte has never gotten under 60 percent of the vote. He’s been elected nine times. This is a district that goes heavily Republican at all levels. But when you’re an independent candidate, those challenges are even greater.”

Major-party candidates have built-in access to campaign donors and volunteers, Wood points out, something that independents like Bain and Vanke have to build for themselves.

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