During his 20 years in the Virginia General Assembly, D. French Slaughter Jr. (R) supported segregated schools, the poll tax and sterilization for the epileptic and retarded.
During his campaign to win the seat from Virginia's 7th Congressional District, Slaughter maintained: "I can't change [my] record, and I wouldn't."
Even though his voting record dogged the Democrat-turned-Republican, Slaughter, 59, easily won the seat of retiring seven-term Rep. J. Kenneth Robinson (R) of Winchester, preaching Reaganism in solidly conservative central Virginia.
A Culpeper lawyer who graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law, Slaughter was regarded as a loyal lieutenant in the state political machine built by former senator Harry F. Byrd.
Slaughter was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates as a Democrat in 1957. He became an Independent in 1972 when many of the state's Byrd Democrats deserted the state party after George McGovern was nominated for president.
On Tuesday, Slaughter beat Lewis M. Costello (D), a Winchester tax attorney who never has held elective office, in the most expensive race ever in the district. Slaughter raised and spent nearly $400,000.
His platform espoused a balanced budget and opposed tax increases. His stands on social issues include support of voluntary prayer in public schools, and he opposed his rival's call for a mutual and verifiable freeze in the nuclear arms race.
When asked if he regretted favoring Virginia's policy of massive resistance to federally enforced desegregation of public schools in the early 1960s, Slaughter said "no," but added that he wouldn't support school segregation or the poll tax today because "it's no use to advocate legislation that has been overruled" by the courts.