All 140 seats between the General Assembly’s House of Delegates and Senate may be up for election later this year, but there also are several seats up for grabs locally in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area. As springtime is ushering in the blossoming of plants, budding campaigns are growing at the city, county and state level.
In February, Del. David J. Toscano, D-Charlottesville, announced his retirement from 57th District, which Charlottesville and parts of Albemarle County. While he is currently serving out his term, there are two Democrat women vying to pick up where he leaves off.
Charlottesville Councilor Kathy Galvin, an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia, announced her bid on March 14. Prior to her position on the council, Galvin served a term on the Charlottesville School Board.
In her announcement speech, she touched on a variety of issues, to include zoning that would address an affordable housing crisis, environmental protection, a $15 minimum wage, criminal justice reform, marijuana legalization and a push for “common sense” gun safety.
“I’m running because we are living in a time when global climate change and structural inequity threaten the foundations of our livelihoods and our Democracy,” Galvin said in an email. “We need strong, tested leadership in the General Assembly with steady hands and bold ideas to lead us towards a more, sustainable and equitable future where all of our children can thrive in a just and safe world.”
Meanwhile, in January, UVa professor Sally Hudson launched her campaign, of which health care, energy and redistricting are focal points.
Hudson noted that Democrats potentially are in a position to flip the majority in General Assembly.
“That means districts like ours need to elect innovative progressive champions to lead in Richmond,” Hudson said. “Our community faces big challenges — from the nation’s highest health insurance premiums to a looming climate crisis — and we need to confront those problems head on. To me, that means investing in practical solutions like a statewide public health insurance option; distributed, local clean power producers; and comprehensive election reform to secure responsive government for all Virginians.”
Hudson is actively involved with OneVirginia2021, a nonpartisan advocacy group that aims to end gerrymandering through redistricting reform.
Indivisible Charlottesville has endorsed Hudson. Both Charlottesville and Albemarle elected officials have endorsed her to include Supervisors Ned Gallaway and Rick Randolph; Charlottesville School Board members Jennifer McKeever, Sherry Kraft, Lisa Larson-Torres and Juandiego Wade; Councilor Heather Hill; and Mayor Nikuyah Walker.
The 58th District encompasses Greene County and parts of Albemarle, Fluvanna and Rockingham counties.
Incumbent Rob Bell, R-Albemarle, has held his seat since 2001 and is seeking reelection. His challenger is Democrat Elizabeth Alcorn.
Meanwhile the 25th District, which covers pieces of Albemarle, Augusta and Rockingham counties, is drawing the attention of five candidates total. Del. R. Steve Landes, R-Augusta, announced in early March that he would not seek reelection and would instead run for clerk of court in Augusta.
Presently, three Republicans and two Democrats are hoping to take the seat. The GOP hopefuls are businessman Chris Runion, Augusta Supervisor and JMU professor Marshall Pattie and Albemarle County farmer Richard Fox.
The Democratic hopefuls are Jennifer Kitchen, of Augusta, and Lauren Thompson, of Albemarle.
Meanwhile Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, who has held his Senate seat since 2001, is seeking reelection. So far, no challengers have made announcements for his seat. Deeds has advocated for improved mental health policies.
His Senate seat covers parts of Albemarle; all of the cities of Charlottesville, Buena Vista, Covington and Lexington; and all of Alleghany, Bath, Nelson, Highland and Rockbridge counties.
With Galvin seeking to jump to a state seat, and Councilors Wes Bellamy and Mike Signer announcing they would not seek reelection, all three of the City Council’s elective seats this year are open to newcomers.
“I love you, but I love my family more,” Bellamy said in a statement last week. “I love the people of this city, but I love my wife, my daughters and our unborn child more. And because of my love for them, I am stepping aside for new energy and not running for reelection to City Council.”
The seats have drawn the attention of a variety of candidates ahead of the June 11 primaries, and the deadline to file was March 28. Since January, housing activist Michael Payne; Sena Magill, of Region Ten Community Services Board; defense attorney Lloyd Snook; former Councilor Bob Fenwick; and Brian Pinkston, a project manager at UVa, have announced intentions to run as Democrats.
“I’m building my campaign around the idea of the common good,” Pinkston said. “I think that’s something we need to return to, and that it’s an idea that resonates with people.”
He cites his experience as a project manager for his ability to listen to different points of view and find common ground. Affordable housing, schools and supporting African American communities are some of his priorities.
Affordable housing is a main focus for Payne, who also plans to concentrate on zoning reform.
“Working families are being displaced daily due to skyrocketing rents, and I feel this pressure myself as someone who makes minimum wage and has 40% to 50% of my income go to rent,” he said.
With a ballot set for a Democratic primary on June 11, there are two independent candidates as well: John Edward Hall and Paul Long.
Four of the seven seats on the city School Board also will have elections. Board member James Bryant, who was appointed to fill a vacancy and then won a special election, plans to run for a full four-year term and has begun his filing. Ned Michie, who replaced Amy Laufer, is not running for that seat.. As the deadline for filing for the School Board is June 11 (the day of the primaries for Council), it is unclear if incumbent board members will seek reelection.
Albemarle County seats
The Albemarle Board of Supervisors is broken into six districts, with three of them open to election this year. Like Charlottesville, the deadline to file was last week.
In the Rivanna District, Norman Dill doesn’t plan to seek reelection. Jerrod Smith and Bea LaPisto Kirtley have announced their intentions to run as Democrats.
Rick Randolph, of Scottsville District, will not run again. Defense attorney Mike Hallahan is running Republican for the seat, while Donna Paula Price will challenge him as a Democrat.
In January, the incumbent Ann H. Mallek announced that she would seek a fourth term on the Board for the White Hall District.
As for the School Board, the members from the Rivanna and Scottsville districts, Jason Buyaki and Steve Koleszar, announced they would not seek reelection. White Hall’s David Oberg and the at-large Representative Jonno Alcaro have yet to release their intentions.
As school board members are required to run independently, and do not have primaries by political party affiliation, candidates have until the day of the primaries to file their paperwork.
Albemarle also will face a Democratic primary for a new sheriff in the wake of Republican J.E. “Chip” Harding announcing his intention to step down. Chief Deputy Chan Bryant will face off against former UVa athlete Patrick Estes in a Democratic primary. The winner in the primary will face former Charlottesville police officer and current town of Louisa Police Chief Ronnie Roberts, who is running as an independent. If elected, Bryant could be the first woman to hold the position of sheriff in Albemarle.
This article was adjusted on April 5 to clarify the interim position on the Charlottesville School Board.