Tom Garrett (Virginia politician)

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Tom Garrett
Tom Garrett official congressional photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded by Robert Hurt
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 22nd district
In office
January 11, 2012 – January 3, 2017
Preceded by Ralph K. Smith
Succeeded by Mark Peake
Personal details
Born Thomas Alexander Garrett Jr.
(1972-03-27) March 27, 1972 (age 46)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Dana Garrett (1998–2009)
Flanna Garrett (2016–present)
Children 3 daughters
Education University of Richmond (BA, JD)
Website House website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1995–2000
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Unit 214th Fires Brigade

Thomas Alexander Garrett Jr. (born March 27, 1972) is an American politician and former prosecutor. He is the United States Representative for Virginia's 5th congressional district. A Republican, Garrett formerly represented the 22nd District in the Virginia Senate.[1]

Early life and family

Thomas Garrett was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to Thomas Alexander Garrett Sr. and his wife, Lois. Garrett is a graduate of Louisa County High School and earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Richmond.[2] He resides with his wife, Flanna, and three daughters, Carolyn, Laura and Locke in unincorporated Buckingham County (with a Scottsville address).

Military career

Garrett served for six years in the U.S. Army,[3] where he was a Field Artillery Officer.[4]

Political career

Commonwealth's attorney

Garrett served as an Assistant Attorney General under Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell. In 2007, he was elected Commonwealth's Attorney for Louisa County.

State Senate

After the General Assembly redistricted the State Senate as required by the Virginia Constitution in 2011, Garrett decided to run in an open seat. The 22nd District was open due to the incumbent Republican Ralph K. Smith's home in Roanoke being drawn into another district.

In the Republican primary, Garrett came in first in a five-person field with nearly 26% of the vote and a margin of fewer than 200 votes.[5] During his time in office, he served on the General Laws and Technology, Courts of Justice, Education and Health, and Privileges and Elections committees.

2016 congressional election

In May 2016, after three ballots at the Republican nominating convention, Garrett won the Republican nomination for U.S. Representative in Virginia's 5th congressional district.[1]

In the November 2016 general election, Garrett defeated Democratic nominee Jane Dittmar, the former chairwoman of the Albemarle County board of supervisors. Garrett won with 58.2% of the vote to Dittmar's 41.6%.[6][7]

115th Congress

In January 2017, Garrett was named to the House Committees on Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, and Education and the Workforce. He is also a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus,[8] though he told voters during the campaign that he would not join the hard right group.[9] Garrett is a member of the Republican Study Committee.[10]

2018 re-election campaign

In the spring of 2018, reports surfaced that Garrett might not seek re-election after his second chief of staff resigned.[11][12] Garrett clarified later that he intended to run[13] in what long-time political analyst Larry Sabato called "one of the oddest" speeches.[14] As of April 2018, Garrett was outraised by multiple Democratic opponents.[15] In light of these fundraising numbers, the Cook Political Report moved the race from "likely Republican" to the more competitive "leans Republican."[16] Democrats went on to nominate former investigative journalist Leslie Cockburn.[17]

In 2018 former staffers told Politico that Garrett and his wife often assigned them tasks "that were unofficial and personal in nature".[18] On May 28, 2018, Garrett announced that he is an alcoholic and said he wouldn't seek reelection to his seat in the 2018 elections.[19]

Jason Kessler Controversy

In March 2017, Garrett posed for a photo with Jason Kessler, one of his constituents who was an organizer of the Unite the Right rally, a far-right rally held in August 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The rally became the site of violent clashes leaving about 30 people injured, followed shortly by an incident in which a white supremacist rammed his car into a crowd, killing a woman and injuring another 19 other people.[20] Following the violence at the rally, Garrett disavowed the organizer and said he was unaware of Kessler's role in the rally when they initially met.


  1. ^ a b Rohr, Alex (May 14, 2016). "Sen. Tom Garrett wins 5th District Republican nomination on third ballot". The News & Advance.
  2. ^ "Garrett to Challenge Short for Louisa Post". The Central Virginian. June 21, 2007.
  3. ^ Staff reports, Candidates for 5th District outline priorities for Southside, Gazette-Virginian (October 31, 2016).
  4. ^ James Ivancic, Freshman Congressman Tom Garrett looks forward to busy session, Fauquier Times (December 27, 2016).
  5. ^ "2011 Results, Virginia State Board of Elections". Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  6. ^ "Virginia 2016 general election results". November 9, 2016. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  7. ^ "Virginia Elections Database » Search Elections". Virginia Elections Database. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  8. ^ Portnoy, Jenna (March 15, 2017). "Three Virginia GOP congressmen, including Rep. Tom Garrett in 5th District, line up against GOP health care plan". The Roanoke Times. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  9. ^ BOARD, THE EDITORIAL. "An Endorsement: Garrett Would Fight for Fifth District in Congress". Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  10. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Garrett in turmoil, might quit Congress". POLITICO. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  12. ^ Hammel, Tyler. "Report: Garrett might drop out of 5th District race". The Daily Progress. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  13. ^ reports, The Daily Progress staff. "Garrett says he will run for reelection". The Daily Progress. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  14. ^ "Larry Sabato on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  15. ^ "Democrats crush House Republicans in fundraising". POLITICO. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  16. ^ "New House FEC Reports: Rating Changes in 7 Districts". The Cook Political Report. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  17. ^ Progress, Tyler Hammel The (Charlottesville) Daily. "Cockburn receives 5th District Democratic nomination". Roanoke Times. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  18. ^ "Ex-aides say congressman made them his servants". Politico. May 25, 2018. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  19. ^ Washington Post. "Rep. Garrett announces he is an alcoholic and will not seek re-election". Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  20. ^ "How Virginia candidates responded to the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville". Washington Post. August 12, 2017. Retrieved 2017-08-31.

External links

  • Congressman Thomas Garrett Jr. official U.S. House website
  • Campaign website
  • Tom Garrett at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
Senate of Virginia
Preceded by
Ralph K. Smith
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 22nd district

Succeeded by
Mark Peake
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robert Hurt
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th congressional district

Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Mike Gallagher
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Vicente González
Retrieved from ""
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