WASHINGTON — US Rep. Randy Forbes, a key US lawmaker on naval issues, has been was unseated in a local primary — a victim of Ccongressional redistricting.
Forbes, a Virginia Republican and the powerful chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee, had switched into a more favorable district in the face of a new Ccongressional map. Forbes lost to Scott Taylor, a state delegate and former Navy SEAL.
With nearly 89 percent of precincts reporting, Taylor had 52.88 percent of the vote to 40.18 percent for Forbes and 6.93 percent for Pat Cardwell, a Virginia Beach lawyer, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Forbes, whose 4th District includes a portion of the Tidewater region that includes the US Navy’s largest naval base and shipbuilding giant Huntington Ingalls, switched to run in the 2nd District, based in Virginia Beach, after a three judge panel redrew his district as part of its effort to fix constitutional flaws with the 3rd District.
The 15-year lawmaker was dealt a setback recently when his plan to organize a congressional hearing aboard a Norfolk-based aircraft carrier and press for more Navy funding was scotched by the Pentagon. The embarrassment became part of the race when Taylor blasted the move as a political stunt.
Still, the episode underscored Forbes’ advocacy for the Navy, as it drew attention to an $848 million shortfall in its current operations and maintenance accounts. Forbes was among several lawmakers who, last month, instead toured the soon-to-deploy carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower last month. Forbes had also pressed to add $2 billion to the Obama administration’s naval budget request, and raise shipbuilding levels to $20 billion a year and beyond — numbers not seen since the 1980s.
"We are not currently providing our Navy with the resources it needs to do what we ask," Forbes said during the carrier visit. "At least not without burning out our ships and our planes and our sailors and undermining our long-term readiness."
Though Forbes on the campaign trailtouted his seniority on the HASC as vital to defense-rich Hampton Roads on the campaign trail, Taylor hammered him as a political opportunist who abandoned his district to preserve his political career.
With reporting by Christopher P. Cavas.