Voters in the 41st District of the House of Delegates overwhelmingly chose political newcomer Michael Golden in the Republican primary.
Golden, 31, a lawyer and Springfield native, defeated lobbyist Bill Finerfrock on Tuesday.
"I'm ecstatic. It's always great when hard work pays off," said Golden. "I think what the victory says is that when you work hard and have the right message, obviously that's what people respond to."
Golden won by receiving 2,359 votes (73.6 percent) with 15 of 15 precincts reporting. Finerfrock finished with 848 votes (26.4 percent). It was the most lopsided margin of any Northern Virginia delegate races.
Golden will now face Democrat Dave Marsden, who was unopposed in the primary, in the November general election.
"It's going to be just like this, another big challenge. This was the first step," said Golden.
Both Marsden and Golden are aiming to fill the seat being vacated by Jim Dillard (R). Golden ran as an independent in 2003, and Finerfrock ran in 1989.
With Dillard announcing his retirement in March, both Republican candidates went to work, placing the issue of taxes at the heart of their campaigns, emphasizing an issue both said was crucial to voters of the 41st District. Golden supports the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which is hailed by U.S. Sen. George Allen (R-Virginia) and others.
Golden also said he will support the "lock box" approach to the transportation trust fund, which would funnel taxes directly into transportation programs.
"People in this district want somebody who is committed to a better tax system, who has a real plan to lower property taxes, to stop the ridiculous increases. One of the things … people really responded to was that we have a real detailed plan, not three words on a lawn sign, for how we can eliminate government waste, eliminate inefficiencies, to strengthen education, and have practical benefits for this community."
Finerfrock, who emphasized alternative transportation solutions, had hoped that his experience — as a lobbyist for health care issues for over 20 years — would give him an edge over Golden, an appellate attorney.
"I don't know that the message was a whole lot different, but it may just have been that he outworked me," said Finerfrock. "Michael ran a good campaign and hats off to him. Hopefully he can do the same in the general election. I think it's important for us to keep that seat."
In the primary, Golden prevailed by a clear margin in all but one precinct. The Sangster precinct, Finerfrock’s home precinct, gave him an edge, but by only 17 votes. The Orange precinct, Golden’s home precinct, was good to the candidate, yielding the highest voter turnout in the district. Golden claimed 300 of the 400 votes cast in that precinct.
Voter turnout was low in the race, as it was countywide for the traditionally slow summer primaries. Only 6.9 percent of voters visited the polls on Tuesday in the 41st District, a median rate among other county Delegate races.
As of June 1, Marsden had outpaced Golden in campaign contributions, with a balance of $69,820 to Golden's $36,363. Finerfrock’s spending lagged behind, with $14,381 raised.