Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: June 2001, 6th full term.

Born: February 17, 1952, Chesapeake

Home: Chesapeake

Education: Randolph-Macon Col., B.A. 1974, U. of VA, J.D. 1977

Professional Career: Practicing atty., 1977-2001.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Baptist

Family: married (Shirley) , 4 children

Republican Randy Forbes, who came to office in a June 2001 special election, is a Sunday school teacher who founded the Congressional Prayer Caucus. He also is a defense hawk who in 2013 became chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower.

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 one in Norfolk. His first job in politics was as an aide to a 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 Govs. George Allen and Jim Gilmore in law school, and in 1996, Allen made him state Republican chairman. In that job, he helped engineer the historic Republican 1997 sweep of all three statewide offices.

When 10-term Democratic Rep. Norman Sisisky died after cancer surgery in 2001, national and state Republican leaders asked Forbes to run for the competitive seat. He was nominated at a party convention and then caught 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 in support of President George W. Bush’s plan to partially privatize Social Security. 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 generally deviates from the party line on major legislation when he deems it too costly for the government. He has repeatedly pushed a bill that would adjust lawmakers’ salaries to correspond with federal spending, so that if spending was increased by 10%, their pay would be cut by that amount. He had led an effort to halt the removal of references to God in public dialogue. Emphasizing the importance of “In God We Trust” as the national motto, he noted that President Barack Obama, during a 2010 Indonesia trip, said that the national motto is “E Pluribus Unum.” After the House passed his resolution in November 2011 on a 396-9 vote, Obama retorted that lawmakers had more important things to do. “That’s not putting people back to work,” he said of the measure.

On Armed Services, Forbes is the Seapower Subcommittee chairman. He sharply rebuked the Pentagon in February 2013 for what he said was its unwillingness to disclose the impact of steep automatic budget cuts that kicked in after Congress was unable to reach a long-term spending deal. He earlier fought the Obama administration over its plans to close the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, attaching a provision to a House-passed spending bill in February 2011 that delayed the move. He was part of the Virginia delegation’s efforts to try to stop the Navy’s plans to shift an aircraft carrier from Norfolk to Jacksonville, Fla. He has cited China’s increasing economic and military strength as a reason for a U.S. military buildup. “If they (the Chinese) perceive a power vacuum, they get more bold,” he told a Hampton Roads audience in January 2011. Forbes is also interested in energy issues. He introduced a bill in 2011 calling for a new Manhattan Project of scientists to make the United States free of foreign oil within two decades.

In 2008, Forbes was held to a 60%-40% reelection victory against poorly-funded Democrat Andrea Miller, a former regional director for MoveOn.org who benefited from the local strength of Obama and Senate candidate Mark Warner. He had an easier time in 2010, winning 62%-37% over retired physician Wynne LeGrow. Republican redistricters provided him with some help in 2012 by moving black-majority Petersburg into Democrat Bobby Scott’s 3rd District, and Forbes dispatched Democrat Ella Ward, 57%-43%.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-6365

(202) 226-1170

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2135
Washington, DC 20515-4604

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-6365

(202) 226-1170

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2135
Washington, DC 20515-4604

DISTRICT OFFICE

(757) 382-0080

(757) 382-0780

Lake Center II Suite 104
Chesapeake, VA 23320-5178

DISTRICT OFFICE

(757) 382-0080

(757) 382-0780

Lake Center II Suite 104
Chesapeake, VA 23320-5178

DISTRICT OFFICE

(804) 318-1363

(804) 318-1013

9401 Courthouse Road Suite 202
Chesterfield, VA 23832-6685

DISTRICT OFFICE

(804) 318-1363

(804) 318-1013

9401 Courthouse Road Suite 202
Chesterfield, VA 23832-6685

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(757) 547-1000

PO Box 15100
Chesapeake, VA 23328-5100

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

PO Box 15100
Chesapeake, VA 23328-5100

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Amy Vitale
Legislative Counsel

amy.vitale@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-6365

Agriculture

Christopher Maneval
Senior Legislative Assistant

Animal Rights

Christopher Maneval
Senior Legislative Assistant

Appropriations

Christopher Maneval
Senior Legislative Assistant

Arts

Christopher Maneval
Senior Legislative Assistant

Budget

Christopher Maneval
Senior Legislative Assistant

Commerce

Christopher Maneval
Senior Legislative Assistant

Economics

Christopher Maneval
Senior Legislative Assistant

Education

Christopher Maneval
Senior Legislative Assistant

Energy

Christopher Maneval
Senior Legislative Assistant

Family

Amy Vitale
Legislative Counsel

amy.vitale@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-6365

Health

Christopher Maneval
Senior Legislative Assistant

Immigration

Burak Guvensoylar
Judiciary Legislative Advisor

burakg@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-6365

Intelligence

Burak Guvensoylar
Judiciary Legislative Advisor

burakg@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-6365

Labor

Christopher Maneval
Senior Legislative Assistant

Medicare

Christopher Maneval
Senior Legislative Assistant

Military

Jared Wyrick
Military Fellow

Alex Gray
Senior Advisor

alex.gray@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-6365

Religion

Amy Vitale
Legislative Counsel

amy.vitale@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-6365

Social Security

Christopher Maneval
Senior Legislative Assistant

Tax

Christopher Maneval
Senior Legislative Assistant

Technology

Burak Guvensoylar
Judiciary Legislative Advisor

burakg@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-6365

Telecommunications

Burak Guvensoylar
Judiciary Legislative Advisor

burakg@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-6365

Transportation

Christopher Maneval
Senior Legislative Assistant

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Randy Forbes
Votes: 199,292
Percent: 57.02%
Ella Ward
Votes: 150,190
Percent: 42.98%
2012 PRIMARY
Randy Forbes
Votes: 26,294
Percent: 89.71%
Bonnie Girard
Votes: 3,017
Percent: 10.29%
2010 GENERAL
Randy Forbes
Votes: 123,659
Percent: 62.33%
Wynne LeGrow
Votes: 74,298
Percent: 37.45%
2010 PRIMARY
Randy Forbes
Unopposed
2008 GENERAL
Randy Forbes
Votes: 199,075
Percent: 59.51%
Andrea Miller
Votes: 135,041
Percent: 40.37%
2008 PRIMARY
Randy Forbes
Unopposed
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (62%), 2008 (60%), 2006 (76%), 2004 (64%), 2002 (98%), 2001 special (52%)

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