In a rematch of a December special election, Republican Ronnie Campbell easily clinched a first full-term in his briefly held seat in 24th House of Delegates District.
Campbell, a retired state trooper and former Rockbridge County supervisor and school board member, led Democratic attorney Christian Worth, by a 2-to-1 margin. Worth pulled 40% of the vote in December.
Independent Eli Fishpaw was a very distant third.
The seat, held for 16 years by Republican Ben Cline, opened when Cline was elected to Congress last year. The district includes Buena Vista and Lexington, Bath and Rockbridge counties and parts of Amherst and Augusta counties.
Campbell, 66, sought to continue work on establishing a more seamless path for technical training for workforce preparedness. He also said he’d like to tackle a dearth of troopers on Virginia highways he attributes to a staffing shortage and low pay. Campbell joined a handful of fellow Republicans in backing a transportation package to improve Interstate 81.
Worth, 50, of Lexington, touted a “rural blueprint” as the centerpiece to her campaign, with a focus on broadband expansion, affordable health care access, school funding, workforce development and clean energy.
Worth also cited a need for mental health care providers in the Rockbridge region and the need for economic incentives to draw business to the area.
Walker wins first term in 23rd
Wendell Walker cruised to victory in the 23rd House District, keeping the district in Republican hands after incumbent Scott Garrett declined to run again.
Walker bested Democrat David Zilles of Lynchburg by a 28-point margin. The 23rd includes parts of Amherst County, Bedford County and the city of Lynchburg.
Zilles, 46 and a nuclear engineer, called for gun law reform, including adding universal background checks and red flag laws. He was backed by his local chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Walker, 66, is the chairman of the Lynchburg Republican Committee and works for the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry.
He defended gun rights on the campaign trail and cited opposition to abortion, unnecessary business regulations, new taxes and the Green New Deal as priorities.
Byron dispatches Woofter
Voters in the 24th House District returned Republican Kathy Byron to Richmond for a 12th term Tuesday.
Byron breezed past Democrat Jennifer Woofter of Lynchburg by a 39-point margin.
Byron, of Bedford County, hadn’t faced a challenge since 2013 in the district that includes parts of Lynchburg and Campbell, Bedford and Franklin counties.
Woofter, a former U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs staffer, owns Strategic Sustainability Consulting.
She sought to unseat Byron with a platform of gun control measures, boosting economic development with funding for education and infrastructure and improving health care for rural residents.
Byron boasted a record of expanding workforce training in the region and opposing abortion and defending gun rights. She opposed tax increases and government control of health care.
Wampler continues family tradition
Republican William Wampler extended his family’s history of elected office to a third generation with a runaway win in the 4th House of Delegates District.
Wampler, 28, grandson of a former congressman and son of a former state senator, brushed off Democrat Starla Kiser, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.
The two competed for a seat vacated by Republican Todd Pillion, who ran for state senate instead.
Both candidates said they wanted to improve the quality of life in Southwest Virginia. The two agreed that greater oversight was needed on the region’s only hospital provider, Ballad Health System.
Kiser, 35, a physician from Coeburn, cited health care as her top issue. She also said economic development efforts should target young people in Southwest Virginia by seeking not just any industry, but high-paying, high-skill jobs. She also championed making it easier for entrepreneurs to start small businesses.
Wampler, an Abingdon attorney, said improving the region’s economy is his top priority.
He called for protecting natural resources based industries — such as the coal business — while seeking to diversify to add high-paying jobs. He sees opportunity in data centers and distribution centers for companies like Amazon.