It’s election season in Virginia.
With control of the entire Virginia General Assembly at stake all 140 seats in both the House of Delegates and the Senate are up for election this year.
With an eye on control over the legislature this fall, Virginia’s 2019 elections are among the last major contests before the Presidential election next year.
And both parties are taking nothing for granted.
Virginia is on track to see more contested general and nomination elections this year than at any point in recent history.
But before the general election catches the attention of Virginians across the Commonwealth, numerous primaries and conventions across the state will play out this spring and summer to determine party nominees heading into the November elections.
As of March 7, there are no less than 25 Senate and House districts holding primaries, conventions, or firehouse primaries to determine the Republican, Democratic, or in some cases, both major party nominees.
Within the Republican Party, there are currently 10 nomination battles taking place in the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates.
These districts include seats that have opened up for the first time in decades after being held by long-time incumbents such as Sen. Frank Wagner and Del. Steve Landes. Other races in heavily Republican-leaning districts against Republican incumbents who voted for Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion in 2018 like Sen. Emmett Hanger and Delegates Chris Peace and Bob Thomas.
This article will serve as the first in a series breaking down the various Republican nomination challenges across Virginia, with the focus being on the statewide picture as a whole.
The two most common types of races currently playing out within the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) are races in open seats where the incumbent is retiring or the district is currently held by a Democrat, or in seats where the Republican incumbent is being challenged from within their own party.
The districts currently being challenged are as follows:
- House District 20
- Retiring Incumbent: Delegate Dickie Bell (Republican)
- Republican Primary Contenders: John Avoli, Dave Bourne
- House District 25
- Retiring Incumbent: Delegate Steve Landes (Republican)
- Republican Firehouse Primary Contenders: Richard Fox, Marshall Pattie, Christopher Runion
- House District 28
- Incumbent: Delegate Bob Thomas (Republican)
- Republican Primary Challenger: Paul Milde
- House District 68
- Incumbent: Delegate Dawn Adams (Democrat)
- Republican Primary Contenders: Garrison Coward, Lori Losi
- House District 97
- Incumbent: Delegate Chris Peace (Republican)
- Republican Convention Challenger: Scott Wyatt
- Senate District 13
- Retiring Incumbent: Senator Dick Black (Republican)
- Republican Primary Contenders: Mike Buscher, Geary Higgins, Ron Meyer
- Senate District 15
- Incumbent: Senator Frank Ruff (Republican)
- Republican Primary Challenger: Dale Sturdifen
- Senate District 17
- Incumbent: Senator Bryce Reeves (Republican)
- Republican Primary Challenger: Rich Breeden
- Senate District 24
- Incumbent: Senator Emmett Hanger (Republican)
- Republican Primary Challenger: Tina Freitas
- Senate District 40
- Republican Incumbent: Senator Bill Carrico (Republican)
- Republican Primary Contenders: Ken Heath, Todd Pillion
Over the course of the 2019 nomination contests, New Virginia Press will be breaking down each of these primary, convention, and firehouse primary contests, beginning with the seats in the Virginia House of Delegates.
In the 10 contested districts, all of them save one is currently held by Republicans, with four of them being held in open seats. The remaining six races feature primaries against sitting incumbents.
The winner of most of these districts is likely to win the seat in the general election, as the bulk of these 10 races are located in heavily Republican territory across the Commonwealth.
Stay tuned as Primary season heats up!