In decisive fashion, LaRock ousts May in GOP primary
It was all about taxes then, and it still is.
LaRock now hopes to take his fiery conservative pitch to a wider audience, Virginia's House of Delegates. On Tuesday he defeated 20-year-incumbent Del. Joe May in the House of Delegates 33rd District GOP primary, capping a heated, months-long race that featured an arrest record, trespassing, Grover Norquist and a much-hyped adult entertainment roadside sign.
With 31 of 32 precincts reporting late on election night, LaRock had unofficially secured 57 percent of the vote.
A staunch conservative from Hamilton, LaRock becomes the 33rd District Republican nominee for November's election. He'll square off against recent Democratic nominee, Purcellville's Kathee Myers, in the conservative-leaning district comprised predominantly of western Loudoun County.
The chief owner and operator of LaRock Builders, LaRock also serves as director of The 1789 Project, a conservative advocacy organization designed to “help concerned citizens find and support candidates in close, winnable races for the U.S. House and Senate,” according to the group's website.
LaRock has been a vocal opponent of two of the commonwealth's most significant transportation initiatives in the past year – the extension of Metro's Silver Line into Loudoun County and this year's transportation funding reform bill – because of the costs and taxes attached.
LaRock's campaign could not immediately be reached for comment following the victory.
“This entire campaign has been a team effort, with countless volunteers knocking doors, calling phones, donating, hosting events, and praying for us,” LaRock, a signer of Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge, stated on his campaign website June 11. “Many people have told us that, whether we win or lose, our campaign has been worthwhile as we have opened their eyes to our opponent's voting record, and presented a clear, issues-centered conservative message.”
In the 2013 General Assembly session, May voted in favor of the historic transportation bill, something for which he was relentless attacked by LaRock, who considers the bill a massive tax hike on Virginians, and specifically those in Northern Virginia.
May hadn't seen a primary challenger since 2005, when he defeated Republican Christopher Oprison by nearly 20 percent. He was unopposed in the previous two general elections. The last time he had a general election challenge was in 2007, when he defeated Democrat Marty Martinez, now a Leesburg Town Council member, by nearly 20 percent of the vote.
Speaking to a group of supporters at a Purcellville restaurant, May focused on a message of “you haven't seen the last of Joe May.”
He said he will be visible and active in the community and will help secure victories for Loudoun's Republican incumbents in the statehouse.
"While I wish that the election had turned out differently it did not,” May said to his supporters on Facebook. “Dave LaRock won fair and square and I have just called him to acknowledge his victory. I sincerely thank all of you for your help and friendship. While we gave it our best effort, it just wasn’t enough. I genuinely appreciate all that each of you have contributed to my experience serving the 33rd District and on my campaigns over the years."
The Republican duel had gotten personal in recent weeks, with the May campaign calling attention to a criminal citation against LaRock; an incident that stemmed from LaRock's removal of a roadside advertisement for an adult novelty shop in West Virginia.
On Memorial Day, LaRock entered a May campaign call center to, according to LaRock, have a discussion with some of May's supporters about “nonsense” they were writing in letters to the editor in the local media.