Anne Ferrell Tata wins Republican nomination for 82nd district

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By about a 20-point margin, well-connected Anne Ferrell Tata beat out a former Navy pilot for the Republican nomination for Virginia’s 82nd district, local party officials said Saturday.

Tata, who works in Christian media, is the daughter-in-law to Bob Tata, who represented Virginia Beach’s 85th district in the House of Delegates for 30 years. She touted her fundraising ability, high-profile endorsements — including two former governors — and ability to work with others when pitching herself to voters.

“I am so honored to win the Republican nomination for Delegate today and humbled by the show of support from voters throughout the 82nd,” Tata, 59, wrote on Facebook, congratulating her opponent. “Now the hard work begins to win this seat in November. We are going to campaign full-speed with our great statewide candidates Glenn Youngkin, Winsome Sears and Jason Miyares. We are in this to WIN.”

Tata beat Kathy Owens, a president of a local real estate company. During the truncated campaign, Owens, 57, ran as a can-do outsider, pitching herself as a leader in her community for years who would fight in Richmond for her constituents.

Tata received 927 votes to Owens’ 598, party officials announced. Bill Curtis, chairman of the Republican party in Virginia Beach, called both candidates “outstanding” and said Tata would be the “overwhelming favorite” this fall in a general election.

The 82nd district has been solidly Republican in recent elections. Miyares, in a 2019 contest, beat his Democratic challenger by roughly 20 points. The opening was created when Miyares, the incumbent, won the party’s nomination in the race for attorney general.

In November, Tata will face Scott Flax, who is unopposed in his bid for the Democratic nomination for the district.

Tata was nominated by local Republicans through a “firehouse primary” process, which is an election run by a political party. It was held at Galilee Church at the Oceanfront; about 1,500 district residents voted from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The contest between Owens and Tata was friendly, and the two knew each other from volunteering on another Republican campaign.

Both had said they largely agreed on the issues and had similar platforms, which focus on abortion, gun rights and making Virginia Beach and the state more business-friendly. Owens and Tata said that voters’ choices came down to who was more likely to win in November.

Peter Coutu, 757-222-5124, peter.coutu@pilotonline.com

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