By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: June 8, 2019 | 12:30 p.m.
Upcoming primary also serves as deadline to qualify for Nov. 2019 General Election
PRINCE GEORGE – While the month of June normally invokes images of high school graduations, vacations, and warm summer nights, this June will feature a staple of the fall season as voters and local registrars gear up for next week’s primary elections and the deadline for candidates to qualify for the upcoming November Election.
On June 11, voters across the Commonwealth will head to the polls to take part in Republican and Democratic primary elections as seats in both the House of Delegates and State Senate are up for election during the Nov. 5 election later this year. These primaries will determine who will represent their party in races across the Commonwealth’s districts come this fall.
For those living in Prince George County, which primary voters will be able to cast a ballot in will be determined by which district they live in, with three different House districts and two State Senate districts encompassing the county.
On the House side, the 62nd District, made up of the northern reaches of Prince George, essentially due north of Temple Avenue, Hopewell, and north toward Chester, both Republicans and Democrats are vying for the seat that will soon be vacated by Del. Riley Ingram (R), who previously announced his plans to retire after serving as the district’s representative since 1991.
Ingram’s retirement comes after redistricting that has changed the makeup of the district, as portions of central Chesterfield and Henrico County were subtracted and sections of South Chesterfield and Hopewell were added, setting up an opportunity for Democrats to try and flip the district to their side.
According to records from the Virginia Department of Elections, two Democrats have qualified for the June 11 primary – Lindsey Dougherty of Chester and Tavorise Marks of Henrico County.
Only one candidate has declared for the Republican ticket as Carrie Coyner of Chesterfield faces no challengers within their party as the primary approaches as, according to election records, a 62nd District House primary for the Republican side has not been scheduled.
Redistricting has transformed the 63rd House District, currently represented by Del. Lashrecse D. Aird (D). Prior to the new district’s re-draw, Aird represented portions of Prince George County, mainly through much of Fort Lee, along Courthouse Road and much of the Courthouse District. Now, based on the new maps, the 63rd District’s eastern border now ends at the Petersburg-Prince George line along Courthouse Road near Walton Elementary School.
With that reduction, all of Dinwiddie County, Petersburg, and portions of southwestern Chesterfield have been added to the district, removing Prince George from the district’s footprint.
Both Republican and Democratic primaries in the district were canceled and Aird will run unopposed in the 63rd District during the November 2019 election. Aird has served as the district’s representative since 2016 after winning the 2015 primary before going unchallenged in that year’s election.
In similar fashion, in the 64th District, represented by Del. Emily Brewer (R), both Republican and Democratic primaries for the House of Delegates were canceled as she, too is slated to face no challengers on the November ballot. Brewer was elected to the House in 2018 after defeating John Wandlling and Jerry Cantrell in the 2015 Republican primary and Democratic challenger Rebecca Colaw during the Nov. 2017 general election.
On the State Senate side, longtime senator Frank Ruff faces a challenge in the 15th Senate District from fellow Republican Dale Sturdifen, with a listed address of Clarksville. Unlike what was seen in the House, Senate districts have not been redrawn since 2011, according to state records. The 15th Senate District makes up much Prince George County, including Carson, Disputanta, Newville and Burrowsville, along with the vast majority of Dinwiddie County, down to the Virginia-North Carolina border, including Keysville, Kenbridge, Chase City, among others.
Ruff has served as the district’s representative since 2000, according to election records.
As of this report, no Democratic candidates have filed to run for office in the district.
In the 16th Senate District, while no Republican candidates have filed to run, a Democratic primary is scheduled for June 11 as current representative Rosalyn Dance faces a challenge from attorney and former lawmaker Joe Morrissey. Dance, who is most known across Southside Virginia for her time as a council member and mayor in Petersburg in the 1990s, has served as State Senator since 2014 after having served in the House of Delegates for several years.
Morrissey has served previously as a state delegate, representing the 74th House District from January of 2008 until March of 2015, during which time he resigned after a conviction relating to his relationship with a teenager before winning a special election in January of 2015 to regain his seat, a seat he would resign from again in March of that year ahead of a planned state senate run against democrat Dance. He would run as an independent candidate before ending his campaign later that year in September, citing health concerns.
Prior to this year’s Senate primary, Morrissey also ran for mayor of Richmond but was unsuccessful in his bid, losing to Lavar Stoney while earning nearly a quarter of the vote in 2016’s election.
The 16th Senate District is made up of much of Dinwiddie’s northeastern side, including Sutherland and West Petersburg, along with majority of Hopewell, and Petersburg, along with portions of Prince George County, including areas west of Route 156, Wildwood Farms, New Bohemia, the Courthouse Road corridor, Fort Lee, and points north of Temple Avenue.
In addition, the district reaches as far north as Downtown Richmond, down along the I-95 area, and the eastern reaches of Chesterfield near its border with Hopewell.
While the upcoming primary will serve to solidify the General Assembly candidates for the November general election, June 11 is also the last day for candidates to declare and be certified as candidates for the election in the fall, which is of note for local offices as many localities’ governing boards and constitutional officers are up for election.
In Prince George specifically, after moving to staggered terms several years earlier, this cycle a majority of seats on the county school board and board of supervisors, three each, are on the ballot.
According to election officials, as of late May, a total of ten people, both incumbents and challengers have qualified for the upcoming election.
On the board of supervisors, where three seats are on the ballot, District 2’s two seats have three people listed as seeking election to the positions, including current supervisors TJ Webb and Donald Hunter. In addition, as of May, former supervisor William Gandel has qualified for the November election, as well.
The lone District 1 seat is also on the ballot this November, currently held by longtime supervisor Alan Carmichael. As of last week, he had not been listed as qualified for the November election but, when asked, he said he intends to seek re-election and he was in the process of finalizing his paperwork.
In regards to the school board, District 1 representative Robert Cox, Jr. confirmed he will be running for re-election to the board in November, expecting to get his paperwork turned in by the end of last week. Cox will face a challenge from Sharon Jadrnak, who ran for the school board during the county’s first staggered term elections in 2017, and Cecil Smith as both have been formally qualified for November’s election.
In an interview, Lewis Stevenson, the current holder of one of the two District 2 seats on the school board that will be on the ballot this fall said he will not return to the school board this year and has no plans to run for office this November.
“I am not running again,” he remarked briefly. “12 years on the school board is plenty. It is time for some new folks with new ideas.”
Fellow school board member Kevin Foster was contacted to learn his plans for November, but calls to Foster were not returned by press time. He did state publicly during the May 13 school board meeting that he did not intend to seek reelection.
As of this report, current Commissioner of Revenue Darlene Rowsey, Commonwealth Attorney Susan Fierro, Treasurer Susan Vargo, and Sheriff H.E. “Bucky” Allin, III face no challengers in the November election.
According to state election officials, the complete list of candidates for local and state offices will be available after June 24 on their website, http://elections.virginia.gov.
For those casting ballots in the upcoming primary, the deadline to vote in-person absentee is Saturday, June 8. For questions regarding the primary elections, the state’s election website and the Prince George Registrar’s office can offer valuable resources and information, including voting locations, and other details.
Even though the summer is a time to get away from some, new county registrar Allan Richeson encouraged voters to partake in their civic duty next week.
“Please come out and vote,” he said. “The primary may happen in June when school is getting out and people are heading away on vacation, so it’s normal for primaries to be pretty slow so we encourage people to vote next week.”
In regards to the November election, where local offices are on the ballot, the deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration is Tuesday, October 15. The last day to request an absentee ballot be mailed to you is Tuesday, October 29. The deadline to vote in person via absentee ballot is Saturday, November 2.