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Randy Forbes
Randy Forbes, official Congressional photo portrait, standing.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 4th district
In office
June 19, 2001 – January 3, 2017
Preceded byNorman Sisisky
Succeeded byDonald McEachin
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 14th district
In office
January 6, 1998 – June 19, 2001
Preceded byMark Earley
Succeeded byHarry Blevins
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 78th district
In office
January 10, 1990 – January 5, 1998
Preceded byFrederick Creekmore
Succeeded byHarry Blevins
Chair of the Virginia Republican Party
In office
Personal details
James Randy Forbes

(1952-02-17) February 17, 1952 (age 68)
Chesapeake, Virginia, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Shirley Forbes
EducationRandolph-Macon College (B.A.)
University of Virginia (J.D.)

James Randy Forbes (born February 17, 1952) is an American politician. A member of the Republican Party, he was the U.S. Representative for Virginia's 4th congressional district, serving from 2001 to 2017.

Prior to joining the United States Congress, he was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Virginia State Senate, and Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. Forbes formerly served as Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.

During the Donald Trump administration, Forbes has been reviewed as a prospective choice for Secretary of the Navy.[1][2][3][4][5][6] Forbes campaigned for Trump in the 2016 presidential election in 2016. Forbes was passed over twice for the first-round and second round nominations of Secretary of the Navy.[7][8]

Forbes served as a senior distinguished fellow at the U.S. Naval War College from February through December 2017.[9]

Early life, education and career

Forbes was born in Chesapeake, Virginia, the son of Thelma and Malcolm J. Forbes.[10] Forbes graduated first in his class from Randolph-Macon College in 1974.

He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1977. Forbes worked in private practice for Kaufman & Canoles PC.[11]

Political career

Forbes served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1989 to 1997 and the Virginia State Senate from 1997 to 2001. He was first elected to the House in 2001 to fill a vacancy caused by the death of ten-term Democratic Congressman Norman Sisisky; defeating Democratic State Senator Louise Lucas 52–48%.[12] After the 4th district was reconfigured as part of redistricting. He ran unopposed by Democrats in 2002 and 2006. In 2004, he faced Jonathan R. Menefee, and won with 65% of the vote.[13] He faced Wynne LeGrow in the 2010 election, and was easily re-elected with 62% of the vote. In 2012, he defeated Chesapeake City Councilwoman Ella Ward with 57% of the vote.[citation needed]

Forbes was the Founder and Chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus and the Congressional China Caucus. He championed a plan to rebuild the Navy to 350 ships as Chairman of the House Seapower Subcommittee.

Forbes was Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia from 1996 to 2001. On February 8, 2016, he announced that he would run for election to Virginia's 2nd Congressional District in November 2016, after the 4th District, where he had previously held office, was redrawn to cover most of the majority-black areas in and around Richmond. The 2nd District was vacated by Scott Rigell.[14]

Forbes accused state Delegate and former U.S. Navy SEAL, Scott Taylor, of criminal activity for speeding violations and missing a court appearance, including a scheduled hearing when Taylor was deployed with the Navy.[15] On June 14, 2016, Forbes was defeated in the Republican primary by Scott Taylor by a margin of 52.5% to 40.6%, with a third candidate, C. Pat Cardwell IV, receiving 6.8% of the vote. Taylor went on to win the general election on November 8, 2016.[16]

Forbes received $801,606 in campaign financing from donors in the defense industry during his tenure in Congress.[17] The largest donors to Forbes over his Congressional career have been defense contractors serving the U.S. Navy for aviation and ship construction, including Northrup Grumman, BAE Systems, Leidos and Huntington Ingalls.[18]

U.S. House of Representatives


Committee assignments

Rep. Forbes speaks with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead before testifying in 2011
Rep. Forbes speaks with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead before testifying in 2011
Navy commander greets House Armed Services' Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee Chairman Forbes in 2016
Navy commander greets House Armed Services' Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee Chairman Forbes in 2016


Forbes founded the Congressional Prayer Caucus in 2005 and co-chaired the caucus with Senator James Lankford.[19][20]

Political positions


Forbes speaks at the U.S. Naval Institute in 2014
Forbes speaks at the U.S. Naval Institute in 2014
Forbes speaks at Hudson Institute's Center for American Seapower in 2015
Forbes speaks at Hudson Institute's Center for American Seapower in 2015
Senior distinguished fellow of U.S. Naval War College Randy Forbes gives keynote address "Sea Control and Foreign Policy"
Senior distinguished fellow of U.S. Naval War College Randy Forbes gives keynote address "Sea Control and Foreign Policy"

Forbes was formerly Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee's Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee.

In 2013, Forbes publicly opposed military action in both Libya and Syria.[21] In 2014, he promised to promote President Obama's call for funds for action in Syria.[22]

In 2014, Forbes voted to address cuts imposed by sequestration with a $1.4 billion cut to operations, maintenance, and training funds, rather than mothballing 11 cruisers and three amphibious warships.[23]


Forbes was founder and chairman of the Congressional China Caucus.[24] Forbes spoke a panel discussion at Harvard University in the April 2012 on U.S. strategy to China's world power emergence.[25] Forbes has voiced concern for Chinese military ambition, cyber threats, contaminated exports, and human rights violations. His reputation has come under scrutiny with the recent acquisition of America's largest pork company, Smithfield Foods, by a Chinese competitor – a company headquartered within his district. This $4.7 billion deal is the biggest Chinese acquisition of a U.S. company to date.[26]

Energy independence

On June 12, 2008 Forbes introduced H.R. 6260, titled "New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence". The bill was offered as a substitute for the entire energy bill and outlined a series of prizes, similar to the X-PRIZE, which would be awarded to a private entity, which completed one of seven tasks related to achieving energy independence.

The bill included $14 billion in prizes and $10 billion in grants ($10 billion of which would have supported nuclear fusion research); provisions to establish a summit to discuss the challenge of energy independence; and creation of a commission to offer recommendations to fulfill the goal of becoming energy independent within 20 years. On June 26, 2009, the bill was offered as an amendment in the nature of a substitute for the Waxman/Markey-sponsored American Clean Energy and Security Act. The amendment was rejected by the House of Representatives 255–172.[27]

Electoral history

Virginia's 4th congressional district: Results 2000–2014[28][29][30]
Virginia's 2nd congressional district: Republican Primary Results, 2016
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2000 Norman Sisisky ** 189,787 99% (no candidate) Write-ins 2,108 1%
2001 Louise Lucas 65,190 48% J. Randy Forbes 70,917 52%
2002 (no candidate) J. Randy Forbes 108,733 98% Write-ins 2,308 2%
2004 Jonathan R. Menefee 100,413 35% J. Randy Forbes 182,444 64%
2006 (no candidate) J. Randy Forbes 150,967 76% Albert P. Burckard, Jr. Independent Green 46,487 23%
2008 Andrea Miller 135,041 40% J. Randy Forbes 199,075 60%
2010 Wynne LeGrow 74,298 38% J. Randy Forbes 122,659 62%
2012 Ella Ward 150,190 43% J. Randy Forbes 199,292 57%
2014 Elliot Fausz 75,270 38% J. Randy Forbes 120,684 60% Bo Brown Libertarian 4,427 2%
2016 Scott Taylor 21,406 53% J. Randy Forbes 16,552 41% Pat Cardwell Republican 2,773 7%

*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2004, write-ins received 170 votes. In 2006, write-ins received 886 votes. In 2008, write-ins received 405 votes. In 2010, write-ins received 432 votes. In 2014, write-ins received 257 votes.

** Sisisky died on March 29, 2001; Forbes won the 2001 special election to fill out the remainder of his term.


  1. ^ Why So Many National Security Experts Want Randy Forbes as Secretary of the Navy, The National Interest, 2016-11-10
  2. ^ Interview: US Rep. Joe Wilson, Defense News, 2016-12-13
  3. ^ Why there's only one choice for Trump's Navy secretary, The Hill, 2017-1-16
  4. ^ Why Trump, and Asia, need Randy Forbes as US Navy secretary, Asia Times, 2017-1-16
  5. ^ Trump's Navy Choice: A Secretary who knows Congress would help get to a 350-ship fleet., The Wall Street Journal, 2017-2-28
  6. ^ Randy Forbes Still A Long Shot For Navy Secretary After Bilden's Withdrawal, Breaking Defense, 2017-3-1
  7. ^ Bilden was formally nominated as Navy Secretary on Jan. 25 after back-and-forth reports in the media as to whether he or former congressman Randy Forbes would get the job.
  8. ^ Byrnes, Jesse (2017-06-02). "Trump to nominate Richard Spencer for Navy secretary". TheHill. Retrieved 2017-06-03.
  9. ^ Former Representative Randy Forbes joins Naval War College faculty, U.S. Naval War College, 2017-2-14
  10. ^ "forbes". Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  11. ^ Stamper, Megan (October 12, 2012). "Meet the Candidates: Rep. Randy Forbes". Inside Business. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  12. ^ [1] Archived March 7, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Virginia election results 2004". The Washington Post.
  14. ^ "Randy Forbes switching districts in 2016 congressional election". The Virginian-Pilot.
  15. ^ "Randy Forbes tells half the story about Scott Taylor's court record". @politifact. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
  16. ^ "Scott Taylor defeats veteran Randy Forbes in 2nd Congressional primary thanks to feisty grassroots campaign". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  17. ^ Times, Military. "gop-backers-defense-budget-hike-got-millions-donations". Military Times. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
  18. ^ "Rep. Randy Forbes: Campaign Finance/Money - Top Donors - Representative Career | OpenSecrets". Retrieved 2017-03-06.
  19. ^ What happens in Room 219, Washington Times, November 29, 2015
  20. ^ "Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation". 1923-08-03. Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  21. ^ "Forbes Releases Statement Opposing Intervention in Syria - Congressman J. Randy Forbes". Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  22. ^ Stevens, Connie (September 15, 2014). "Military Strikes Against ISIS". Virginia Tech. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
  23. ^ Freedberg Jr., Sydney J. "HASC Debates Sequestration's 'Terrible Dilemma': A Ready Force Or A Large One". Breaking Media, Inc. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  24. ^ "About the Caucus". Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  25. ^ "Forbes to Speak Tomorrow at Harvard on U.S.-China Relations". Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  26. ^ "Who's behind the Chinese takeover of world's biggest pork producer?". PBS NewsHour. 12 September 2014. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  27. ^ Bartel, Bill (June 27, 2009). "Forbes' GOP alternative to climate bill shot down". The Virginian-Pilot.
  28. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
  29. ^ "VA District 4 - Special Race - Jun 19, 2001". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  30. ^ "November 2008 Official Results". Virginia State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on 2013-10-05.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Norman Sisisky
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Donald McEachin
This page was last edited on 17 June 2020, at 18:44
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