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
In office
January 3, 2017 – January 3, 2019
Preceded byRobert Hurt
Succeeded byDenver Riggleman
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 22nd district
In office
January 11, 2012 – January 3, 2017
Preceded byRalph K. Smith
Succeeded byMark Peake
Personal details
Thomas Alexander Garrett Jr.

(1972-03-27) March 27, 1972 (age 46)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Dana Garrett (1998–2009)
Flanna Garrett (2016–present)
Children3 daughters
EducationUniversity of Richmond (BA, JD)
WebsiteHouse website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1995–2000
RankUS-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Unit214th Fires Brigade

Thomas Alexander Garrett Jr. (born March 27, 1972) is an American politician and attorney. He served one term as the U.S. Representative for Virginia's 5th congressional district. A Republican, Garrett formerly represented the 22nd District in the Virginia Senate.[1]

Early life and family[edit]

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[edit]

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

Political career[edit]

Commonwealth's attorney[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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]

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.[11] 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.

2018 election[edit]

In the spring of 2018, reports surfaced of using his congressional staff for personal use, leading his chief of staff to abruptly quit. Personal use included running errands, house sitting, chauffeuring his kids and cleaning up after their dog.[12][13][14]

Rumors also spread that Garrett might not run again.[15][16] Garrett clarified later that he intended to run[17] in what long-time political analyst Larry Sabato called "one of the oddest" speeches.[18] As of April 2018, Garrett was outraised by multiple Democratic opponents.[19] In light of these fundraising numbers, the Cook Political Report moved the race from "likely Republican" to the more competitive "leans Republican."[20] Democrats went on to nominate former investigative journalist Leslie Cockburn.[21]

On May 28, 2018, Garrett announced that he is an alcoholic and said he would not seek reelection to his seat in the 2018 elections.[22]


  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. ^ "How Virginia candidates responded to the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville". Washington Post. August 12, 2017. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  12. ^ [1] | Aides to a GOP congressman say they spent most of their days chauffeuring their boss's family and cleaning up dog poop | Grace Panetta | [2]
  13. ^ [3] | May 25, 2018 | Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett accused of making staffers his 'personal servants' | Alex Pappas | Fox News | [4]
  14. ^ [5] | June 1, 2018 | GOP Lawmaker Requested 'Sensitive' Email Audit Of His Own Staff | Susan Davis | [6]
  15. ^ "Garrett in turmoil, might quit Congress". POLITICO. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  16. ^ Hammel, Tyler. "Report: Garrett might drop out of 5th District race". The Daily Progress. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  17. ^ reports, The Daily Progress staff. "Garrett says he will run for reelection". The Daily Progress. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  18. ^ "Larry Sabato on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  19. ^ "Democrats crush House Republicans in fundraising". POLITICO. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  20. ^ "New House FEC Reports: Rating Changes in 7 Districts". The Cook Political Report. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  21. ^ Progress, Tyler Hammel The (Charlottesville) Daily. "Cockburn receives 5th District Democratic nomination". Roanoke Times. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  22. ^ Washington Post. "Rep. Garrett announces he is an alcoholic and will not seek re-election". Retrieved May 28, 2018.

External links[edit]

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

Succeeded by
Denver Riggleman