FILE - Virginia State Capitol

The Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, Virginia.

Republican challenger Paul Milde defeated Virginia state Rep. Bob Thomas in Tuesday's primary after heavily criticizing Thomas for voting with Democrats to expand the commonwealth’s Medicaid program.

In a Facebook post, Milde thanked his supporters, volunteers and team members and touted his background in transportation.

“Virginians want conservative government that works,” Milde said. “That is my record and that is what I will deliver. This means better transportation, efficient government, and making certain that tax dollars we send to Richmond are being spent to improve Stafford and Fredericksburg. I’ll continue to work to earn our district’s support for the November General Election!”

House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, thanked Thomas, R-Stafford, for his service in the state legislature, but also congratulated Milde on his victory. Thomas had support from much of the GOP establishment.

“Congratulations to Paul Milde on earning the Republican nomination in House District 28,” Cox said in a statement. “Paul is well known by the people of Stafford County and has a long history of service on the Board of Supervisors. Holding the majority in the House of Delegates is our top priority and we will begin working with Paul to hold the 28th District in November.”

Republicans hold a 51-49 seat advantage in the Virginia House.

Thomas was one of only three Republican lawmakers who voted with Democrats on Medicaid expansion.

Milde won the primary with 51 percent of the vote to Thomas’ 49 percent and will face off against Democratic nominee Josh Cole, who lost to Thomas by just 82 votes in 2017.

Staff Writer

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and Ohio for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.