Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County, announced Thursday night that he's seeking the Republican nomination to succeed Rep. Tom Garrett.
The 5th District Republican Committee will meet at 10 a.m. Saturday to pick a nominee. The committee has been scrambling to find a replacement for Garrett, who announced Monday he is an alcoholic and is ending his re-election bid for a second term.
The district stretches from Fauquier County to the North Carolina border. It includes Franklin County and part of Bedford County.
Stanley, a lawyer and former chairman of the 5th District Republican Committee, was first elected to the state Senate in 2011.
"My proven conservative votes and leadership in the Virginia General Assembly — whether on life, the 2nd amendment, or just plain common sense have prepared me for whatever challenge lies ahead," Stanley wrote in a statement on Facebook. "As the former 5th District Chairman, I love this district, the rank and file of its members, and the grassroots that have made it one of the most conservative congressional districts in the nation."
District Chairman Melvin Adams said he'll release on Friday a list of candidates who notified him by the preferred deadline. However, not informing the chairman by 8 p.m. Thursday does not preclude anyone from seeking the nomination.
GOP candidates who have publicly announced they are seeking the nomination include: Martha Boneta, a farmer and property-rights advocate from Fauquier County; Michael Del Rosso, who lost to Garrett in a 2016 convention; Denver Riggleman, a Nelson County distillery owner who briefly ran for governor last year; Del. Michael Webert, R-Fauquier County; Joe Whited, who was also defeated by Garrett in 2016; and Dale Woodson.
Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Spotsylvania, said Thursday he would not seek the nomination, saying his "work in the Senate of Virginia is not done."
"The state budget that just passed makes it clear to me that my focus and enthusiasm is on the laws coming out of Richmond," Reeves wrote on Facebook. Reeves opposed Medicaid expansion.
Riggleman said that Bedford County real estate developer Jim McKelvey, who unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination for the seat in 2010 and 2016, has dropped out and is endorsing him.
Candidates will compete for 37 votes on Saturday. The committee drafted rules Tuesday but still needs to adopt them Saturday. No details of the rules were disclosed.
The Republican nominee will face Democrat Leslie Cockburn, a journalist and author.