Today, on the steps of the Augusta County Courthouse in Staunton, Virginia, Michele Edwards announced her intention to seek the Democratic nomination for the 20th district seat in the House of Delegates. Below is a video of her announcement. Sorry that it is a bit shakey. In retrospect, I should have worn gloves as it was cold outside.
Republican Dickie Bell has represented the 20th district since 2010. He has not had a Democratic opponent since 2011 when Laura Kleiner challenged him. This year, he is facing Libertarian Will Hammer and now Democrat Michele Edwards.
Delegate Bell emerged victorious in the 2015 contest, but today Hammer has announced his plans for a second go at the office.
In his press release, Mr. Hammer states, “I believe that my strong showing in 2015 and growing distrust and distaste for the two major parties, specifically incumbents, represents a great opportunity to go to Richmond as a third party candidate.”
Will Hammer highlights some of his campaign issues adding, “When elected, I will fight against the Dominion pipeline because property rights are sacred, to end gerrymandering and corruption, bring transparency to Richmond and publish a reasoning for every vote that I place. I will hold online and in person public forums for my constituents. I will protect your gun rights as I was given an A grade from Gun Owners of America and “very pro-gun” rating from Virginia Citizens Defense League. I will fight for judicial reform and marijuana legalization, which will reduce government expenditure and create a booming new industry which means thousands of jobs. I will walk the walk, not talk the talk. If you are tired of business as usual and the duopoly of the Republicans and Democrats, join me and let’s seriously drain the swamp known as Richmond.”
Presumably, Mr. Hammer will be able to collect the signatures of 125 valid and registered voters in the 20th district to make the ballot. Assuming he is the Republican nominee once more, Delegate Bell will not be required to collect signatures. The 20th district includes the cities of Staunton and Waynesboro as well as all of Highland County and parts of Augusta and Nelson Counties. Right now, there are no other candidates in this race and Will Hammer is the only Libertarian candidate running in the Shenandoah Valley.
If you’d like to learn more about either of the two candidates, you can find information about both Bell and Hammer on their respective websites.
On Friday, Will Hammer of Staunton declared his intent to run for the Virginia House of Delegates for the 20th district. As mentioned in his announcement, he plans to be the Libertarian Party candidate. Also running is Delegate Dickie Bell of Staunton, the recently certified Republican candidate who has represented the 20th district since 2010. The 20th district includes the cities of Staunton and Waynesboro as well as Highland County and portions of Augusta and Nelson Counties.
Mr. Hammer, as some readers may recall, ran as the Libertarian Party candidate against Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-6) in the 2014 election cycle. To the best of my knowledge, he is the first ever Libertarian to run for House of Delegates in the Shenandoah Valley. One can find the official press release of his announcement on his website.
Unlike most districts in the Shenandoah Valley, the 20th has seen quite a few races lately, being contested in two of the last three election cycles with Erik Curran running under the Democratic banner in 2009 and Laura Kleiner doing likewise in 2011. However, so far, no Democratic candidate has announced this year and it is growing increasingly doubtful that anyone will do so.
On a lighter note, given their last names, I expect that we will see quite a few puns appear dealing with this race.