Councilman contests race saying winning opponent falsely claimed residence in Beach District

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A member of Virginia Beach City Council who lost a re-election bid by a small margin is contesting the results of the election — claiming his opponent did not live in the contested district.

Court documents filed today detail by Councilman John Uhrin accuse Councilman-elect David Nygaard of falsely claiming to have lived in the Beach District when qualifying for the election. Uhrin also claims Nygaard was not a resident in the district at the time of the election.

Nygaard beat Uhrin for the seat by a narrow margin of 212 votes in the November general. A judge approved petitions requesting recounts in this race and two others in late-November. 

Uhrin, who was running for a reelection this year, claims in documents filed Thursday that Nygaard has been a longtime resident of the Lynnhaven District, and falsely claimed to live in a duplex in the 500 block of 20th street the Beach District.

The documents go on to state that Nygaard changed his address with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to an apartment located near the convention center three weeks after the election.

Uhrin is requesting a judge hear the matter and grant relief by declaring Nygaard not be qualified to hold the office of Virginia Beach City Council, therefore handing Uhrin victory as the runner up. 

10 On Your Side reached out to Nygaard, who sent the following statement: 

John Uhrin is seeking to overturn the will of the people; he is asking a judge to achieve what he could not achieve on Election Day, in an undemocratic outrageous abuse of the legal system through malicious legal moves. On election night I had the most votes.  After the canvass I had the most votes and was certified the winner. I am confident after the recount that I will still have the most votes. We are fully confident the judges will see this for what it is, a crass political stunt.

Uhrin issued a statement Thursday regarding the court documents.

Today I am filing the necessary paperwork to have officials verify the residency of David Nygaard in the Beach District.  Soon after the election, I received numerous calls from citizens concerning whether Mr. Nygaad’s residency satisfied the legal requirements for a district councilmember.  I feel the residency requirements are fundamental to a diverse representation from different parts of our city that is intended by our laws. I am unable to verify these issue on my own and therefore will follow the remedies available to ensure that the Beach District is represented by someone who was a resident of the Beach District when he registered and ran for the District seat on City Council.

This is the second time Nygaard’s residency has been questioned in recent months. Over the summer, former beach council candidate RK Kowalewitch brought up the issue. 

“Absolutely, it needed to be done,” Kowalewitch said. “”Lies lies lies and more lies and I’m just tired of it.”

On October 1st, Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle wrote to the Director of Elections that at this point, I find there is insufficent evidence to prove that a crime has been committed.”

Thursday afternoon, 10 On Your Side asked Nygaard why he choose to run in the beach district if he also part owns a home in Lynnhaven. 

“My answer is that I can more faithfully serve Virginia Beach in the beach district because this is where I lived for many years, before this time. I grew up in the city and I have had my business for many years,” Nygaard said.

A hearing has not yet been scheduled. 

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