Robert Hurt (politician)

Robert Hurt
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Preceded by Tom Perriello
Succeeded by Thomas Garrett, Jr. (elect)
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 19th district
In office
January 9, 2008  January 3, 2011
Preceded by Charles R. Hawkins[1]
Succeeded by Bill Stanley[2]
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 16th district
In office
2002  2007[3]
Preceded by Clifton Woodrum
Succeeded by Donald Merricks
Member of Chatham, Virginia Town Council
In office
2000  2001[3]
Personal details
Born ( 1969 -06-16) June 16, 1969
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kathryn Raine Heithaus
Children 3
Residence Chatham, Virginia, U.S.
Alma mater Hampden-Sydney College (B.S.)
Mississippi College School of Law (J.D.)
Profession Attorney
Religion Presbyterianism
Website Official House website
Campaign website

Robert Hurt (born June 16, 1969) is the U.S. Representative for Virginia's 5th congressional district, serving since January 2011. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district stretches from Charlottesville to Southside and west to Bedford and Franklin counties. Prior to joining Congress, Hurt was a state senator and delegate, councilman and attorney.

Hurt was born in New York City and raised in Chatham, Virginia. After graduating from Hampden-Sydney College and Mississippi College School of Law, Hurt served as a chief assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for Pittsylvania County, Virginia from 1996 to 1999. Afterwards, he worked as an attorney for the firm H. Victor Millner, Jr. P.C. in Chatham from 1999 to 2008 and opened his own law firm in 2008.

Hurt's political career began with his election to the Chatham Town Council. A year later, he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates and served three terms. In 2007, Hurt was elected to the Senate of Virginia. In October 2009, Hurt announced that he would run for the U.S. Representative seat for the 5th congressional district in Virginia. After easily winning the primary, Hurt was elected to the House of Representatives, defeating the incumbent Democrat, Tom Perriello. On December 23, 2015, Hurt announced that he would not seek reelection at the end of his current term.[4]

Early life, education, and law career

Hurt was born in New York City,[3] where he lived for about nine years.[5] His father, Henry Hurt, was a journalist and editor for Reader's Digest. In 1986, Henry wrote a book questioning the findings of the Warren Commission called Reasonable Doubt: An Investigation into the Assassination of John F. Kennedy.[6] Hurt was raised in Chatham, Virginia, attended Hargrave Military Academy and graduated from Episcopal High School in Alexandria. He earned a bachelor's degree in English from Hampden-Sydney College in 1991 and a law degree from Mississippi College School of Law in 1995.[7] Hurt also graduated from the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership program in 2000.[8] He served as a chief assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for Pittsylvania County from 1996 to 1999. From 1999 to 2008, Robert worked in a general law practice with the firm of H. Victor Millner, Jr. P.C. in Chatham. In 2008, Robert opened up his own law practice in Chatham.[6] Hurt is a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.[9]

Early political career

Hurt began his political career as a member of the Chatham Town Council.[10] He was elected with 82 percent of the vote.[11] Hurt was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2001 and served three terms.[10] He represented the 16th District, which includes part of Pittsylvania County. He was elected and re-elected to the House of Delegates with at least 62 percent of the vote.[11] He cited bringing the New College Institute and the Virginia Museum of Natural History as accomplishments that he and other legislators of both parties have worked together to bring to the area.[12]

During his time as a delegate, Hurt worked to increase state funding for K-12 education and increase the safety of Virginia’s children through membership on the Courts of Justice Committee and the Youth Internet Safety Taskforce.[12] Hurt voted two dozen times to cut taxes and supported 28 bills in the General Assembly that sought to reduce taxes on food, gas, cigarettes, cars, real estate, computer sales and other items.[13] In 2004, Hurt voted in favor of a $1.4 billion tax increase to narrow the gap in Virginia’s budget. Hurt stated that the increase was essential, based on the information lawmakers had at the time, to refrain from a government shutdown over a budget impasse and has since stated regret over the vote.[14][15]

In November 2007, Hurt was elected to the Senate of Virginia, winning 75 percent of the vote. Hurt represented the 19th district, which includes the city of Danville, all of Pittsylvania and Franklin counties, and part of Campbell county.[11]

U.S. House of Representatives


Hurt speaks at the Sorensen Institute

On October 7, 2009, Hurt officially declared himself a candidate for Virginia's 5th congressional district.[16] The district stretches from Charlottesville to Southside Virginia and west to Bedford and Franklin counties.[17] Hurt was the Republican establishment candidate in the primary and was not received well by the Tea Party.[18] On June 8, 2010, Hurt won the Republican nomination with a plurality in a crowded field of six other candidates.[10] All of Hurt's opponents in the primary endorsed him.[19] A local Tea Party Leader said his group would "unite behind" and "support" Hurt.[20]

Hurt campaigned against Democratic incumbent Tom Perriello and Independent candidate Jeffrey Clark in the general election.[21] Republicans viewed his as a pickup opportunity and poured resources into the race.[22][23] Perriello was listed as one of the 10 most vulnerable House incumbents by Roll Call.[24] Hurt was a member of the National Republican Congressional Committee's "Young Guns" program.[25]

On June 12, Hurt stated that he would "absolutely" participate in debates that included all the candidates, including Independent candidate Clark. Just days later, Hurt stated that he would not debate Clark. Although the statement was made in response to a direct query from a reporter as to whether he would debate Clark, Hurt’s campaign later tried to justify their position by insisting this was untrue.[26] Hurt skipped the first debate which was organized by the Senior Statesmen of Virginia, becoming the first candidate to skip the forum since it started in 1996.[27][28] In addition to the first debate, Hurt skipped two subsequent debates one sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce in Nelson County and another hosted by American Legion Post 325 in Danville making a total of three skipped debates.[29][30]

Hurt campaigned on his opposition to the Democratic-backed initiatives that Perriello supported, such as health-care reform, the economic stimulus package and clean energy legislation.[31] On August 20, Hurt released his first television ad. Hurt's first television ad stated that he would fight tax increases, stop Washington’s spending and start creating jobs, however he never mentions his opponent. "You definitely see that he’s running against Congress as a whole and Democrats as a whole," Isaac Wood, an analyst at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said. "That was very clear. He spent just a few seconds introducing himself, then pivoted right away to attack the negative things happening in D.C. With voters, that can be effective."[32] Another ad from Hurt called Perriello a "rubber stamp" for the policies of President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.[33] Hurt won with 51 percent of the vote.[34]


Hurt was challenged by Democratic nominee John Douglass, a retired United States Air Force Brigadier General and former Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Hurt won re-election to a second term on November 6, 2012.


After his win, Hurt submitted a formal letter of resignation from the Virginia General Assembly to Governor Bob McDonnell that would be effective on January 5, the day Hurt was sworn into Congress.[35] Hurt voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which successfully passed the House.[36] In February, Hurt criticized President Barack Obama's $3.73 trillion 2012 federal budget proposal for its excessive spending and borrowing.[37] Hurt would vote to pass a $1.2 trillion bill that would cut the year's budget federal budget by $61 billion.[38] On April 8, Hurt voted for a continuing resolution that prevented the government from shutting down that day.[39] Hurt expressed support for Paul Ryan's budget plan that month as well.[40] On July 19, Hurt voted for the Cut, Cap and Balance Act.[41] On August 1, Hurt voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011 that raised the debt ceiling and cut spending by $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years.[42] Hurt co-sponsored a bill that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from cracking down on farm dust. The bill passed the House on December 8.[43]

Social issues

Virginia Citizens Defense League, a pro-gun organization, gave Hurt an 78% approval rating. Asked if he supports the purchase and possession of guns, Hurt has consistently affirmed his support for gun rights.[44]

Hurt has traditionally voted for legislation that restricts abortion. Virginia Society for Human Rights gave him a 100% approval rating.[45] Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice have consistently given him 0% approval ratings every year since 2002.[45]

Equality Virginia has given him between 0% and 11% approval ratings for his position on LGBT rights.[45]

Hurt has affirmed that he supports capital punishment for certain crimes.[44]

Fiscal issues

Hurt cosponsored the Balanced Budget Amendment, which did not pass the House of Representatives in November 2011. Hurt said of the bill, “By passing a Balanced Budget Amendment, Congress will be required to spend no more than it takes in, reining in out of control spending once and for all”[46] Hurt also sponsored the Small Business Capital Access and Job Preservation Act that would exempt private equity funds advisers from certain registration and reporting standards.[47] In July, 2011 Hurt sponsored the Market Transparency and Taxpayer Protection Act which would “protect the taxpayers of the United States by requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to sell or dispose of the assets of such enterprises that are not critical to their missions.” [48] However, because very little political leverage was used to pass this legislation, it most likely will die in committee.[48] Hurt’s position on Government regulation is clear in his statement that “By reducing the unnecessary government regulations that hinder small businesses, keeping taxes low and allowing people to keep more of what they make, and cutting spending to get our fiscal house in order, the private sector will gain the confidence necessary to expand and create the jobs that the people of the 5th District need and deserve.” [49]

During 2000–2010, the Virginia League of Conservation Voters gave Hurt an average approval rating of 40%.[45] However, in 2010, when Hurt was running against incumbent Tom Perriello, the Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters released television and radio ads against Hurt, attacking him on an alleged conflict of interest regarding uranium mining. However, the ads were deemed to be false by independent fact checkers due to the fact Robert Hurt had no personal investment in uranium mining.[50] Hurt strongly opposed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s 2009 proposed “Cap-and Trade” climate control legislation.[51] Hurt called on the Virginia Department of Interior secretary Ken Salazar to remove bans on off-shore drilling and development.[52]

Hurt has made it a priority to rein in federal regulation of the private sector. Hurt cosponsored the Farm Dust Prevention Regulation Act,[53] the Preserving Rural Resources Act,[54] and the Supporting Home Owner Rights Enforcement Act.[55] He has voted to ensure that cost-benefit analysis is applied to federal rulemaking and he has voted to roll back currently proposed regulations. Hurt has been a staunch opponent to the Affordable Care Act, of which he says, “The President’s health care law represents a fundamental departure from the founding principles of our nation by placing more faith in government than in the American people and by inserting the federal government in between patients and their doctors.” [56]

Bills sponsored

The following is an incomplete list of major bills sponsored by Rep. Hurt.

Committee assignments

Electoral history

Virginia House of Delegates, District 16: Results 2001 to 2005[60]
Year Republican Votes Pct Democrat Votes Pct Third Party Party Votes Pct
2001 Robert Hurt 11,853 65% Randy Collins 6,382 35%
2003 Robert Hurt 8,744 62% Kimble Reynolds, Jr. 5,441 38%
2005 Robert Hurt 12,821 99% no candidate Write-ins 123 1%
Virginia Senate, District 19: Results 2007[60]
Year Republican Votes Pct Third Party Party Votes Pct
2007 Robert Hurt 29,735 76% Sherman Witcher Independent 9,488 24%
Virginia's 5th congressional district: Results 2010,[61] 2012,[62] and 2014 [63]
Year Republican Votes Pct Democrat Votes Pct Third Party Party Votes Pct
2010 Robert Hurt 119,560 51% Tom Perriello 110,562 47% Jeffrey Clark Independent 4,992 2%
2012 Robert Hurt 193,009 55% John Douglass 149,214 43% Kenneth J. Hildebrandt Independent Green 5,500 2%
2014 Robert Hurt 124,735 60.9% Walter Lawrence Gaughan 73,482 35.9% Kenneth J. Hildebrandt Independent Green 2,209 1.1%

Personal life and family

Hurt is a descendent of a number of important figures in Virginia and American history, including: founding fathers Robert Morris and George Mason, statesmen Edmund Randolph and John Forsyth, jurists James Mercer and James Markham Marshall (brother of U.S. Chief Justice John Marshall), politician James Mercer Garnett, military officer Walker Keith Armistead, academic Josiah Meigs, John Dandridge (father of Martha Washington), the likewise named paternal grandfather of Thomas Jefferson, and William Bradford, colonial governor of Massachusetts.[64]

Hurt lives in Chatham and is married to Kathryn Raine Heithaus. He has three sons, Charles, Clement and John.[65] Hurt is a member of Chatham Presbyterian Church and Chatham Rotary Club. Also, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the New College Institute, the Virginia Bar Association’s Board of Governors, the Hampden-Sydney Wilson Center Advisory Board, the John Marshall Foundation Board, the Board of Directors of Roman Eagle Nursing Home and the board of directors of the W. E. Skelton 4-H Conference Center at Smith Mountain Lake.[66] His brother, Charles Hurt, is a journalist and political columnist for the Washington Times.[67][68] Hurt gave the commencement address at Piedmont Virginia Community College in May 2011.[69]


  1. Martz, Michael (2010-11-02). "Supporters gather as Hurt watches returns". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  2. Thibodeau, Denice (2011-01-12). "Two elected to fill vacant seats in General Assembly". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
  3. 1 2 3 "Faces of the Senate" (PDF). 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
  4. "Statement of Robert Hurt". 2015-12-23.
  5. Meola, Olympia (2010-09-05). "5th District: Voters' anxiety threatens Perriello". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
  6. 1 2 "Robert Hurt (R)". National Journal. 2010-10-26. Retrieved 2010-12-22.
  7. Davis, Tim (2009-10-07). "Hurt announces bid for U.S. Congress". Womack Publishing Service. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
  8. "Hurt Announces Bid for U.S. Congress". Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership. 2009-10-08. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
  9. Huston, Andy (2012-12-06). "Greeks in the 113th Congress". NIC Blog. Retrieved 2013-01-03.
  10. 1 2 3 Rucker, Janelle (2010-06-09). "Hurt picked to challenge Perriello in 5th District". The Roanoke Times. Retrieved 2010-06-11.
  11. 1 2 3 Collins, Paul (2010-06-09). "Hurt wins GOP primary". Martinsville Bulletin. Retrieved 2010-06-11.
  12. 1 2 Buck, Amanda (2007-03-28). "Hurt bids for seat in Senate". Martinsville Bulletin. Retrieved 2011-01-05.
  13. McNeill, Brian (2010-01-12). "Opponents say Hurt's Web site misleads on voting record". The Daily Progress. Retrieved 2010-06-18.
  14. McNeill, Brian (2009-10-07). "State senator wants GOP nod for 5th District". The Daily Progress. Retrieved 2011-01-05.
  15. Reed, Ray (2010-08-05). "Hurt addresses tax vote in tea party meeting". The News & Advance. Retrieved 2011-01-09.
  16. "State Sen. Hurt aims to return 5th District to GOP". The Washington Times. 2009-10-08. Retrieved 2010-06-18.
  17. Wray, Ginny (2008-05-19). "Nomination in hand, Perriello talks strategy". Politico. Retrieved 2011-03-04.
  18. Isenstadt, Alex (2010-06-11). "McKelvey mum on Hurt endorsement". Politico. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
  19. "McKelvey pledges support to Hurt". Politico. 2010-08-05. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
  20. "Republicans uniting around Hurt to face Perriello". Danville Register & Bee. 2010-06-09. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
  21. McNeill, Brian (2010-06-20). "Clark to play role of spoiler in 5th District?". The Daily Progress. Retrieved 2011-01-04.
  22. Cillizza, Chris (2010-06-08). "Super Duper Tuesday Viewer's Guide". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
  23. Sherfinski, David (2010-06-06). "Congressional hopefuls assemble war chests ahead of primary". The Washington Examiner. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
  24. "Virginia: GOP Poll Portrays Hurt as Unquestioned Frontrunner". Congressional Quarterly. 2010-05-18. Archived from the original on May 23, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
  25. "NRCC Adds 16 To 'Young Gun' Ranks". Congressional Quarterly. 2010-06-30. Archived from the original on August 10, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-08.
  26. McNeill, Brian (2010-06-18). "Hurt, Perriello differ on 3-way debate". The Daily Progress. Retrieved 2010-06-20.
  27. McNeill, Brian (2010-08-11). "Hurt to skip debate with Perriello, Clark". The Daily Progress. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  28. McNeill, Brian (2010-08-12). "Opponents criticize Hurt for skipping 5th District debate". The Daily Progress. Retrieved 2011-01-05.
  29. Lewis, Dannika (2010-10-10). "Perriello, Clark debate without Hurt". WVIR-TV. Retrieved 2010-10-15.
  30. McGrath, Erin; Ray Reed (2010-09-15). "Perriello, Clark meet in 'gentleman's debate'". Nelson County Times. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  31. McNeill, Brian (2010-10-02). "Hurt unseats Perriello". The Daily Progress. Retrieved 2011-01-05.
  32. Amos, Catherine (2010-08-21). "5th District campaigns taking shape". Danville Register & Bee. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
  33. Pershing, Ben (2010-10-15). "Hurt ad calls Perriello a 'rubber stamp' for Obama, Pelosi". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-10-16.
  34. "Virginia congressional race wrap-up". WTOP-FM. Retrieved 2011-01-05.
  35. Helderman, Rosalind S. (2010-11-22). "Hurt, Griffith formally resign from General Assembly to join Congress". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2011-01-09.
  36. Hatcher, Angela (2011-01-19). "Rep. Robert Hurt hopeful Senate will also pass health care repeal". WSLS-TV. Retrieved 2011-03-24.
  37. "Rep. Robert Hurt bashes Obama's budget proposal". WSLS-TV. 2011-02-14. Retrieved 2011-03-04.
  38. Hatcher, Angela (2011-02-22). "Rep. Robert Hurt: Senate needs to stop government shutdown". WSLS-TV. Archived from the original on February 25, 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-04.
  39. "Griffith, Hurt OK fund bill". Martinsville Bulletin. 2011-04-10. Retrieved 2011-04-11.
  40. Reed, Ray (2011-04-28). "Hurt says he supports Ryan budget plan". WSLS-TV. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  41. Holland, Tiffany (2011-07-20). "Hurt votes for budget cut bill". The News & Advance. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
  42. Holland, Tiffany (2011-08-03). "Hurt: Debt bill step in right direction". WSLS-TV. Retrieved 2011-08-04.
  43. "House passes bill to prevent EPA from regulating farm dust". The News & Advance. 2011-12-08. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  44. 1 2 Project Vote Smart
  45. 1 2 3 4 Robert Hurt Ratings and Endorsements – Project Vote Smart
  46. Robert's Round-Up: We Need A Constitutional Amendment To Balance Our Budget | Congressman Robert Hurt
  47. H.R. 1082 – Summary: Small Business Capital Access and Job Preservation Act (
  48. 1 2 Read The Bill: H.R. 2440 –
  49. Economy and Jobs | Congressman Robert Hurt
  50. Hurt highlights Perriello climate vote ahead of Obama visit – The Hill's E2-Wire
  51. Virginia Members Call On Interior Department To Reconsider Commonwealth Offshore Energy Development Ban | Congressman Robert Hurt
  52. – Summary: Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act (
  53. – Summary: Preserving Rural Resources Act (
  54. – Summary: Supporting Home Owner Rights Enforcement Act (
  55. – Summary: What they're saying about the healthcare ruling (Lynchburg News & Advance)
  56. "H.R. 1564 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  57. "CBO – H.R. 1105". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  58. "H.R. 1105 – All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  59. 1 2 "Robert Hurt – Elections History". Virginia Public Access Project. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
  60. "November 2, 2010 General and Special Elections Official Results". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
  61. "November 6, 2012 General Election Official Results". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  62. "November 4, 2014 General Election Official Results". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  63. "Robert Hurt ancestry". Retrieved 2014-09-05.
  64. "Get to know the candidates in the 5th District". The Daily Progress. 2010-10-23. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
  65. Riddle, Sonny (2010-11-01). "Hurt hopes to unseat Perriello for seat in Washington". The Gazette-Virginian. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
  66. "Robert Hurt Bio". Associated Press. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  67. "Staff Members\Charles Hurt". Washington Times. Retrieved 2014-10-14.
  68. Jaglois, Jessica (2011-05-13). "Hurt Gives Speech at PVCC Graduation; Talks Jobs, Gas Prices". WCAV. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Robert Hurt.
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Tom Perriello
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th congressional district

January 3, 2011 – present
Succeeded by
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Randy Hultgren
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Bill Johnson
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