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.
Today, on the steps of the Augusta County Court House in Staunton, Ellen Arthur officially announced her campaign for the 24th district House of Delegates seat. Seeking the Democratic nomination, she is challenging Republican Delegate Ben Cline who has represented the district since 2002. The 24th district includes Bath County, Buena Vista, Lexington, Rockbridge County, as well as portions of Augusta and Amherst Counties.
About two dozen people came out for the event which lasted a little less than half an hour. Introduced by Augusta Democratic Chairman and former State Senator Frank Nolen (D-24), Ms. Arthur explained a little about her family life and her reasons for running, including her three campaign issues: improving medical care, expanding educational opportunities, and curbing the influence of money in politics. Along these same lines, she spoke out against the Dominion pipeline, saying that it transported a “obsolete source of energy” and mentioned that Delegate Cline has received over $12,000 in campaign contributions from Dominion.
During the brief question and answer period that followed, Angela Lynn, a fellow candidate who is running for House of Delegates in the nearby 25th district, spoke in favor of Ms. Arthur, as did Staunton City Council member Erik Curren, and Staunton School Board member and local Young Democrat leader Laura Kleiner. Lastly, she was joined on the steps by Angela Lynn for a joint photo.
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.