By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Aug. 26 — For three hours on Tuesday afternoon, Congressman Ben Cline spoke with local business owners as part of his ongoing Main Street Tour across the 6th District of Virginia.
Accompanied by Grayson Markowitz, the clerk of the Page County Circuit Court, and Commissioner of Revenue Becky Smith, Cline visited the Mimslyn Inn, Marlow Ford, Farm Bureau, Page One, Rancho Viejo and Skyline Paint and Hardware discussing such issues as dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The congressman also came to Luray this week to help mark the grand opening of the Page County Republican Committee’s election headquarters at 229 W. Main St. The former McKim and Huffman Pharmacy building that has housed two restaurants in recent years, filled with more than 40 GOP-faithful Tuesday evening.
Newly elected chairman of the local Republican Committee, Dan Bogdewic, introduced Cline.
“He’s gonna tell us everything that is wrong, and how he’s gonna fix it,” Bogdewic said.
“I don’t have enough time to tell you about all the things going wrong in Washington,” Cline responded to a round of laughter.
“The Left calls themselves ‘woke’, well the Right is awake,” Cline told those in attendance, “and we are not going to sit back and let them push this ‘woke’ agenda on our communities.”
The one-term congressman spent the majority of his 10-minute address promoting the party’s platform, touting how the Republicans will “supercharge the economy” and “enforce our borders.” He spoke out against the “unobstructed socialist liberalism in Richmond” that he said was being exercised by Democrats both in the governor’s administration and in the state legislature.
“They are taking right from Nancy Pelosi’s agenda,” Cline said.
Cline defeated Democrat Jennifer Lewis in 2018. That kept the 6th District seat with Republicans after longtime congressman Bob Goodlatte decided not to run for another two-year term after nearly three decades in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In November, Cline will face Nicholas Betts, who was nominated by Democrats at a convention after no one from the party stepped forward for the June 23 primary.
Cline spent more of his time with Page Republicans praising the current president and his re-election bid, rather than promoting his own campaign to return to Washington.
“Our president has stood for life; our president has embraced our Second Amendment freedoms…,” Cline said. “This is the first time that I have been able to run alongside a president, and I couldn’t be more proud to run with Donald Trump.”
Cline also touted the Republican nominee that is challenging former governor Mark Warner for his seat in the U.S. Senate — Daniel Gade.
“I don’t have a partner in the Senate and I would love to have that,” Cline told party supporters.
Gade’s wife, Wendy, appeared at the Page County rally on his behalf. She followed Cline and proceeded to steal the show, as the well-spoken mother of three gave a 20-minute presentation on who her husband is and why he will make Republicans proud.
“We got into this race to continue our family’s lifetime of service,” Wendy Gade said.
A product of West Point, Daniel Gade served 25 years in the U.S. Army before retiring in 2017 as a Lt. Colonel. He was deployed to Iraq, where he was wounded in combat — losing his right leg in 2005.
He considered quitting the military, but continued to serve in the Army. He taught young cadets and displayed an “iron will,” according to his wife, because in his words: “The enemy will not determine when I am done serving.”
During the recent Republican primary, Gade won every city and county in the Commonwealth, according to his wife.
“We are going out against Mark Warner together,” Wendy Gade said. “Daniel can not do this alone. We are all going to have to do this together.”
She stressed several times to the crowd how her husband needs to bring his current level of support from about 45 percent, up to 51 percent, in order to win the November election.
The focus of the night was on potential swing voters — and convincing them that a grim future lies ahead if Democrats win.
“We know what they have in mind for us in Washington because we have seen it in Richmond,” Wendy Gade said on Tuesday in Luray. “We need to win this seat back for Virginia values. We are the law and order party. The Democrats want to defund the police and take away your Second Amendment rights.
“When more people get to know Daniel Gade,” she concluded, “I think they are going to like what they see.”
The local Republican rally began shortly after 6 p.m. on Tuesday with Jenni Augler, legislative aid to Virginia Senator Mark Obenshain (26th-Harrisonburg). Augler spent several minutes reviewing current legislative issues in the General Assembly, including Sen. Obenshain’s work on a bill dealing with parole.
Local elected officials attending the grand opening of the Republican’s election headquarters were Markowitz, and Allen Louderback, District 2 representative on the Page County Board of Supervisors.
The local Republican Party currently holds four of the five constitutional offices in Page County, as well as all five district representatives on the board of supervisors. Members of the school board and town councils do not declare party affiliation.
Visit the Page County Republican Committee’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pagerepublicans