VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Incumbent Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer has won re-election.
Mayoral candidate Jody Wagner conceded to Dyer on Wednesday with 99 percent of precincts reporting. Dyer had 110,247 votes for 52 percent of the vote, with 92,931 or 44 percent for Wagner and 4 percent for R.K. Kowalewitch who received 9,082 votes.
Dyer’s victory lands him a full term as mayor. Since 2018, he had been fulfilling the remainder of the term of former Mayor Will Sessoms. He has sat on City Council since 2004.
“The strength of Virginia Beach is the people of Virginia Beach,” Dyer said in a statement Wednesday. “Let’s move forward to show everyone the Virginia Beach way to make a great city even greater with unity and community.”
Dyer’s win can be seen as somewhat of a shock. While all candidates ran with no party affiliation, the local Democrat and Republican parties endorsed Wagner and Dyer respectively. The Wagner campaign tried to tie the former Marine to the Republican party — a party that didn’t fare so well in the city on Tuesday.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Mark Warner and Congresswoman Elaine Luria are all Democrats and all won the majority of the votes in Virginia Beach for their respective races.
“It’s going to take a lot to unpack this,” said Dr. Ben Melusky, an assistant professor of political science at Old Dominion University. “With the 2016 election, split-ticket voting was a virtual low. It led many in the field to say that split-ticket voting was officially dead.”
Melusky said in such a partisan election, it speaks some to Dyer’s popularity among the electorate.
Dyer said Tuesday night that he wants Wagner to be apart of a “unity event” he plans to hold in January in lieu of an inauguration party.
Thank you to all of my supporters for a fantastic campaign effort. What a coalition! The honor of being your Mayor, only the third directly-elected Mayor in our city’s history, is very humbling. To everyone who helped with campaign signs, who invested your time and talents, who financially supported our campaign, thank you.
From the great organizations who endorsed my re-election, to other elected officials who supported and helped the campaign, thank you.
To my campaign team and steering committee, you amaze me with your work ethic, professionalism and spirit. I am full of gratitude for everything you brought to the table.
To people who helped spread our message to your friends and neighbors, greeting people at election locations, or sharing our social media, thank you.
And to my opponents who each ran spirited campaigns, thank you for stepping up and giving voters a choice and making Virginia Beach proud.
The strength of Virginia Beach is the people of Virginia Beach. Let’s move forward to show everyone the Virginia Beach way to make a great city even greater with unity and community.
A busy Election Day
Registered voters in Virginia Beach began lining up early Election Day morning to cast their ballots in the general election.
Mailed ballots needed to be postmarked by Tuesday, but may be received and counted through Friday, according to city spokeswoman Julie Hill.
In 2016, the turnout in Virginia Beach reached 66%, but this year, city officials believe voter turnout could reach 80% once everything is tallied.
On Tuesday afternoon, election officials said there was a video circulating showing a person burning ballots, but they are not real ballots. Freeze-frames of the video show that they are sample ballots, officials said.
Fire officials are “looking into the illegal burning,” the city said.
Election officials said there was an approximate 45-minute wait at some polling locations during the day, but 10 On Your Side heard from some Virginia Beach voters who had almost no wait at all for in-person Election Day voting.
Virginia Beach officials said wait times were minimal or “non-existent” as of 5 p.m. Tuesday. No traffic issues had been reported as of 5 p.m. either.
Chopper 10 flew above several voting precincts in Virginia Beach Tuesday morning. A line of early voters wrapped around Providence Presbyterian Church in the Fairfield area.