Feb. 9, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Virginia - 4th District

Incumbent -- J. Randy Forbes (R) ; Running for re-election

Safe Republican
Race Ratings Key

CQ Politics rates this race as "Safe," meaning the incumbent party is virtually certain to win the seat.


District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

Located among the rivers and swamps of southeastern and south-central Virginia, the 4th begins in Hampton Roads in the growing city of Chesapeake before heading west into rural tobacco- and peanut-producing areas. It then bends north to reach the Tri-Cities area -- Petersburg, Hopewell and Colonial Heights -- south of Richmond.

Hampton Roads depends on the military, and a 2011 Defense Department decision to reorganize the U.S. Joint Forces Command may cost the district jobs. The population of Chesapeake, by far the 4th's most populous city, has grown for decades as manufacturing and other industries moved in alongside residents who commute to nearby Norfolk or Virginia Beach. Farther north, the Tri-Cities area hosts Fort Lee, which gained thousands of new positions on base and residents in the community following the 2005 round of base realignments.

Outside the 4th's population centers, tobacco and peanut farming play a central role in the economy. There also are pork-producing facilities here in sparsely populated counties such as Isle of Wight, home to Smithfield Hams, and Sussex.

The 4th traditionally votes Republican at the national and statewide levels, but Democrats fare better in areas with sizable black voting blocs -- the district has the state's second-largest black population (33 percent) -- and can win local elections across the 4th. Petersburg, which is nearly four-fifths black, gave Democrat Barack Obama 88 percent of its presidential vote in 2008, his best showing in the state. Overall, Obama won the district by just more than 1 percentage point.

Major Industry

Military, agriculture, tobacco, health care, manufacturing

Military Bases

Fort Lee (Army), 6,254 military, 2,985 civilian (2009); Naval Support Activity Norfolk, Northwest Annex, 1,326 military, 1,458 civilian; Defense Supply Center, Richmond, 42 military, 2,850 civilian (2011)


Chesapeake, 222,209; Suffolk, 84,585; Petersburg, 32,420


Suffolk, which calls itself the peanut capital of the world, is the birthplace of Planters' Mr. Peanut and hosts an annual Suffolk Peanut Festival.




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