By the early morning hours of November 4, Virginia Beach mayor Bobby Dyer had secured his re-election by defeating both Jody Wagner and Richard Kowalewitch. Dyer won by about eight points against the runner-up, Wagner – an even larger margin than his 2018 victory.
The incumbent cruised ahead comfortably within the first hour, holding a 30 point lead at 27 percent of votes. Dyer gained two points from his lead at around 9 p.m. EST, which reflected 74 percent of voters. In two hours, Dyer retained his lead despite a 14 percent increase in voters factored. By two in the morning, the incumbent had winnowed down to an eight point lead representing 97 percent of voters.
Dyer attended the Virginia Beach Republican Party’s election night watch party at The Westin Virginia Beach Town Center on Tuesday. The incumbent gave a speech during the first half of the event, addressing the successes of Virginia Beach first responders and emphasizing the need for America to preserve its values.
In an interview with The Virginia Star, Dyer shared his simple key to success was putting the individual first.
“You know being a physical therapist for four and a half decades, I’ve loved working with people. And, you know, government is sometimes too big: it comes after the individual, their families, and you show them that you care. I’ve done over a thousand-plus people exchanges since I’ve been mayor – and if it wasn’t for COVID, I would’ve done more. But, once again, it’s about people and it will always be that way with me.”
Virginia Beach demographics reflect rich colonial and military roots. The city has many veterans, as well as the Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana and Norfolk Navy Base Atlantic Fleet. Other heavy influencers within the region’s economy include commercial real estate, agriculture, and tourism.
Prior to becoming mayor, Dyer served as a city council member for 14 years. His platform this year focused on expanding economic development. Dyer’s leading competition, Wagner, presented a similar goal to bring new businesses into the city. The two diverged on the coronavirus’s impact on the city and racial justice.
In September, Wagner far out-raised Dyer by nearly $250,000. Most of those funds came from the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA). Dyer’s campaign told The Star in previous coverage that DPVA donations made a non-partisan race into a partisan election.
Dyer has also been an outspoken defender of police, as evidenced by Tuesday’s election watch party speech. In the immediate wake of last year’s tragedy, Dyer focused on assisting the families impacted by the Virginia Beach shooting rather than calling for any policy action.
Virginia law dictates that election results must be certified one week from Election Day.
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