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Cline wins 6th District GOP primary convincingly, will face Lewis in November

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Sixth District Republicans readily endorsed U.S. Rep. Ben Cline during a party primary election Tuesday.

Political newcomer Merritt Hale from Frederick County had drawn less than 20% of the vote with a majority of precincts reporting on Tuesday night.

Hale, a systems engineer and Navy veteran, conceded to Cline, R-Botetourt, with a post on social media before 8 p.m.

“I’d like to thank Congressman Cline for running a respectful campaign,” Hale said. “I’m confident he’ll continue to be a conservative champion for our district.”

The incumbent congressman Cline, who succeeded longtime Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte, is seeking a third term. In a statement Tuesday, Cline thanked campaign volunteers and said he was grateful to the district’s Republican voters.

“I look forward to continuing our campaign in the months ahead as we discuss the issues with voters and how we can work together to find real solutions to the challenges we face as a Nation,” Cline said.

Cline will face Democratic nominee Jennifer Lewis of Waynesboro during the general election in November.

Ahead of Tuesday’s primary, Cline had raised more than $570,000 for his campaign, compared to $27,000 raised by Hale, according to data from the Virginia Public Access Project.

The Democratic candidate Lewis has so far raised about $35,000.

The district now stretches up I-81 from Roanoke to the northern Shenandoah Valley, after newly drawn district boundaries were approved by the Virginia Supreme Court in January.

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Luke Weir covers higher education and state government. He can be reached at (540) 566-8917 or

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