Rep. Randy Forbes (R)
Elected: June 2001, 4th full term.
Born: Feb. 17, 1952, Chesapeake .
Education: Randolph-Macon Col., B.A. 1974, U. of VA, J.D. 1977.
Family: Married (Shirley); 4 children.
Elected office: VA House of Del., 1989-97; VA Senate, 1997-2001.
Professional Career: Practicing atty., 1977-2001.
The congressman from the 4th District is Randy Forbes, a Republican who won a June 2001 special election. Forbes grew up in Chesapeake, majored in government at Randolph-Macon College, and graduated from the University of Virginia law school. He started a law firm in Chesapeake that later merged with a larger Norfolk firm. His first job in politics was as an aide to the Democratic member of the House of Delegates from Chesapeake. When his boss retired in 1989, Forbes ran and won the seat as a Republican. Four years later, when Republicans were still in the minority, he became the party’s floor leader. In 1997, he was elected to the state Senate. Forbes was a classmate and friend of Governors George Allen and Jim Gilmore in law school, and in 1996 Allen made him Republican State chairman. In that job, he helped engineer the historic Republican 1997 sweep of all three statewide offices.
|Randy Forbes (R)||199,075||(60%)||($942,026)|
|Andrea Miller (D)||135,041||(40%)||($37,670)|
|Randy Forbes (R)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (76%), 2004 (64%), 2002 (98%), 2001 (52%)
When 10-term Democratic Rep. Norman Sisisky died after cancer surgery in 2001, national and state Republican leaders asked Forbes to run in the competitive seat. He was nominated at a party convention, and then got a break when the strongest Democrat, Sisisky’s son, Mark, declined to run. Democrats chose state Sen. Louise Lucas of Portsmouth, an African-American who held a majority-black seat. Both national parties and their interest-group allies spent heavily on the race. Republicans attacked Lucas for opposing repeal of the sales tax on non-prescription drugs and for supporting a gasoline tax increase. Democrats criticized Forbes for his position on Social Security after Forbes said that he favored President George W. Bush’s proposal to let younger workers invest some of their payroll taxes in individual investment accounts. Lucas carried Portsmouth 63%-37%. But Forbes won in more populous Chesapeake 61%-39% and in rural counties for an overall victory of 52%-48%.
In the House, the conservative Forbes is the new ranking Republican on the Readiness Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, a plum post considering the military presence in his district. He generally backed the Bush administration on the war in Iraq, though in June 2006 he did call for a gradual withdrawal of troops by the end of that year if the Iraqi government wouldn’t declare legal protections for U.S troops.
In the 110th Congress (2007-08), Forbes was the ranking Republican on the Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, where he pushed a “law and order” agenda to address drug trafficking, child pornography and gang violence. In 2006, the House passed his bill to make any illegal alien found to be a member of a criminal gang detainable, deportable and ineligible to receive political asylum or other benefits. On the committee, Forbes also cosponsored a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages and supported an effort to force doctors to inform pregnant women that a fetus can feel pain during an abortion. He founded the Congressional Prayer Caucus, which has tried to halt the removal of references to God in public dialogue.
Forbes is also interested in energy issues. In 2008, he unveiled a “New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence,” calling for cash awards for companies that meet certain goals such as designing a car that gets 70 miles per gallon of gasoline.
In 2008, Forbes was held to a 60%-40% re-election victory against poorly-funded Democrat Andrea Miller, a former regional director for MoveOn.org who benefited from the local strength of presidential nominee Barack Obama and Senate candidate Mark Warner.