By Maya Lora

Republican Ben Cline beat his Democratic challenger by nearly 20 percentage points to represent the 6th Congressional District, keeping the district red.

In the Rockbridge area, Cline, a state delegate for 16 years, took Rockbridge County with 64.69 percent of the votes and Buena Vista by 67.77 percent. Jennifer Lewis, the Democrat, won in Lexington with 67.07 percent.

Cline will replace Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who announced his retirement last year after serving 13 terms.

Cline served as an aide and chief of staff to Goodlatte for eight years after graduating from Bates College. Cline has represented the Richmond area in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Jennifer Lewis, a mental health worker, was running for office for the first time.

Cline has said he will stand up to President Donald Trump when it comes to long-term tariffs once he arrives in Washington. Cline said he is worried that tariffs are hurting farmers, including those that live in the Shenandoah Valley.

Asked about the debt incurred by the GOP tax bill passed last year, a major legislative victory for Republicans, Cline said he was worried. He said he plans to introduce words rarely heard in the Congress these days: “We can’t afford it.”

Lewis wanted to bring campaign reform to Congress. She has stated on her website that lobbyists and campaign contributions from corporate PACs influence public policy more than everyday citizens are able to. Lewis was one of the 185 Democratic candidates who pledged not to accept money from political action committees, according to The Atlantic.

Lewis faced an uphill battle. Political experts rated the 6th Congressional District as a solid Republican seat.

Cline also had a financial advantage, having raised several times more money than Lewis in campaign donations.

Cline said he has worked with Democrats in the Virginia House of Delegates on issues such as government transparency, higher education and domestic violence.

Polling locations opened at 6 a.m. and closed at 7 p.m in Lexington, Buena Visita and Rockbridge County.

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