10 Vir­ginia House races to watch

Democrats hope to flip seats in 66-34 ma­jor­ity Repub­li­can state body

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - METRO - BY PA­TRICK WIL­SON

Don­ald Trump’s sur­prise elec­tion to the pres­i­dency gen­er­ated a wave of first- time Demo­cratic can­di­dates for of­fice in Vir­ginia.

Democrats hope that trans­lates into mak­ing gains against the 66- 34 Repub­li­can ma­jor­ity in the state House of Del­e­gates on Nov. 7, when all 100 seats are up for elec­tion. Democrats be­lieve they can flip some seats, mainly in North­ern Vir­ginia. Here are 10 races to watch ( plus a few ex­tras) — in no par­tic­u­lar or­der:

Dis­trict 50 ( Manas­sas and part of Prince Wil­liam)

Repub­li­can Del. Jack­sonH. Miller, a del­e­gate since 2006, faces a chal­lenge from Demo­crat Lee Carter. Carter is an IT spe­cial­ist and for­mer Marine; Miller, a for­mer Manas­sas po­lice of­fi­cer, is the House ma­jor- ity whip.

Miller was con­sid­ered a fa­vorite to win a spe­cial elec­tion in April for clerk of cir­cuit court in Prince Wil­liam, Manas­sas and Manas­sas Park. But he lost to Demo­crat Jacque­line C. Smith, who re­ceived nearly 54 per­cent of the vote. That spe­cial elec­tion was con­sid­ered an early test of voter turnout in the Trump era. Miller’s de­feat did not go un­no­ticed by both par­ties.

Carter, who backed Bernie San­ders for pres­i­dent, is avoid­ing cor­po­rate money and op­poses the two con­tro­ver­sial nat­u­ral gas pipe­lines in Vir­ginia that most Repub­li­cans and Democrats sup­port. His sup­port for a sin­gle- payer health care sys­tem is out­side the be­liefs of the Demo­cratic es­tab­lish­ment and has brought him un­der GOP at­tack.

Dis­trict 42 ( Part of Fair­fax County)

Repub­li­can Del. David B.

Albo, who has held the seat since 1994, would have been tough to beat but he opted not to seek re­elec­tion. Now, both par­ties an­tic­i­pate a pos­si­ble Demo­cratic flip in the race be­tween DemocratKathy Tran and Repub­li­can Lolita Mancheno- Smoak.

Tran and her par­ents fled Viet­nam as refugees when she was a baby. Mancheno- Smoak em­i­grated from Ecuador with her par­ents when she was a child.

In a dis­trict that leans Demo­cratic in statewide elec­tions, the party has been sting­ing ManchenoS­moak for a 2015 tweet in which she called Trump “My ideal Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date!” Tran has a sig­nif­i­cant money edge.

Dis­trict 13 ( Manas­sas Park, part of Prince Wil­liam)

Repub­li­can Del. RobertG. Mar­shall, one of the most so­cially con­ser­va­tive mem­bers of the leg­is­la­ture, faces Demo­crat Dan­ica Roem, a for­mer news­pa­per re­porter.

Roem’s sta­tus as a trans­gen­der can­di­date and her abil­ity to raise large sums of money have made this race a na­tional story. Each party con­sid­ers the race to be close.

Roem talked about her trans­gen­der iden­tity in a YouTube ad: “There are mil­lions of trans­gen­der peo­ple in the coun­try, and we all de­serve rep­re­sen­ta­tion in gov­ern­ment.”

Mar­shall, an op­po­nent of abor­tion and gay rights and a mem­ber of the leg­is­la­ture for 25 years, has re­fused to de­bate Roem.

Dis­trict 31 ( Parts of Prince Wil­liam and Fauquier)

Demo­crat El­iz­a­beth Guz­man is out­rais­ing GOPDel. L. Scott Lingam­fel­ter and wants the seat he’s held since 2002. Lingam­fel­ter’s a pro- gun con­ser­va­tive in a dis­trict grow­ing more racially di­verse and less friendly to Repub­li­cans — a seg­ment of the elec­tor- ate Guz­man is try­ing to ac­ti­vate.

To get there, the Bernie San­ders sup­porter up­set Sara Townsend, who had the back­ing of the Demo­cratic es­tab­lish­ment, in a pri­mary.

Guz­man, a pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tor and so­cial worker from Dale City, came to the U. S. from Peru as a sin­gle mother. If she’s able to up­end Lingam­fel­ter, she would be­come the first Latina mem­ber of the Vir­ginia House.

Lingam­fel­ter, an Army vet­eran from Wood­bridge, went neg­a­tive early in a cam­paign mailer, sig­nal­ing to Democrats that he’s feel­ing pres­sure. In­de­pen­dent can­di­date Nathan Lar­son also is on the bal­lot.

Dis­trict 2 ( Parts of Prince Wil­liam and Stafford)

Demo­crat Jennifer Car­roll Foy gained an edge af­ter GOP can­di­date Laquan Aus­tion dropped out over rev­e­la­tions that he fal­si­fied his aca­demic cre­den­tials, and was re­placed by Michael Ma­kee. The seat is open be­cause

Repub­li­can Del. L. Mark Du­den­hefer did not seek re- elec­tion to in­stead run for a county su­per­vi­sor seat in Stafford.

The dis­trict was pre­vi­ously held by Demo­cratic Del. Michael Futrell.

Foy, an African- Amer­i­can woman who lives in Prince Wil­liam, was in the third class of women to grad­u­ate from his­tor­i­cally male Vir­ginia Mil­i­tary In­sti­tute. Ma­kee is a Naval Academy grad­u­ate and Navy vet­eran who lives in Stafford.

Dis­trict 32 ( Part of Loudoun County)

Repub­li­can Del. Thomas A.“Tag” Grea­son is fac­ing Demo­cratic chal­lenger David Reid.

This is among House dis­tricts Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton car­ried eas­ily last year in a 71 per­cent turnout statewide — but one that won’t see nearly that level of voter turnout in a non­pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year.

The race fea­tures white male vs. white male, so it’s re­ceived less na­tional me­dia at­ten­tion than other races. Democrats be­lieve they have a chance, while Repub­li­cans, re­al­iz­ing the dis­trict is close, think Grea­son fits the dis­trict pro­file of an ed­u­cated, higher- in­come tech- sec­tor pop­u­la­tion. Reid owns a small con­sult­ing busi­ness.

Grea­son, who has held the seat since 2010, was re- elected in 2015 with 53 per­cent of the vote.

Dis­trict 72 ( Part of Hen­rico County)

Out­side of North­ern Vir­ginia, the race to suc- ceed re­tir­ing Repub­li­can Del. Jim­mie Massie could be the most com­pet­i­tive. Massie has held the seat since 2008.

Demo­crat Schuyler VanValken­burg, a teacher, faces

Repub­li­can Ed­die Whit­lock, a lawyer and for­mer chair­man of the Hen­rico County Repub­li­can Com­mit­tee. Democrats con­sider this their best op­por­tu­nity in the Rich­mond area to flip a GOP- held seat.

This is not an easy dis­trict for a Demo­crat. While Clin­ton won it in the pres­i­den­tial race, Repub­li­can Ed Gille­spie eas­ily topped U. S. Sen. Mark Warner, D- Va., in the 72nd in 2014.

Dis­trict 67 ( Parts of Fair­fax and Loudoun coun­ties)

Repub­li­can Del. James M. LeMun­yon is feel­ing the squeeze— so much so that he co­zied up to Demo­cratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe in cam­paign mail­ers to high­light his bi­par­ti­san­ship. He’s fac­ing a chal­lenge from Demo­crat Kar­rie De­laney— who was a Repub­li­can when she lived in Florida — in a dis­trict where Clin­ton beat Trump 58 per­cent to 36 per­cent.

“Since the last elec­tion, Repub­li­can Del­e­gate Jim LeMun­yon au­thored more bills signed into law by Demo­cratic Gov­er­nor Terry McAuliffe than any other mem­ber of the Vir­ginia leg­is­la­ture,” reads a mailer by LeMun­yon, who has held the seat since 2010.

Dis­trict 87 ( Parts of Loudoun and Prince Wil­liam coun­ties)

Repub­li­cans are putting Democrats on de­fense in this dis­trict, which Demo­cratic Del. John J. Bell has held since 2016. Repub­li­can Sub­baKolla, a busi­ness­man who an­nounced Vir­ginia’s roll call vote for Trump at the 2016 Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion, has raised big money.

Kolla has the back­ing of U. S. Rep. Bar­bara Com­stock, R- 10th, and for­mer Del. David Ra­madan, who held the seat be­fore Bell’s elec­tion in 2015. Kolla im­mi­grated to the United States from In­dia, earned an MBA and started his own real es­tate busi­ness. He has not agreed to ap­pear at any can­di­date fo­rum with Bell.

Dis­trict 12 ( Giles County, parts of Mont­gomery and Pu­laski coun­ties, city of Radford)

Repub­li­can Del. Joseph R. Yost is fac­ing a chal­lenge from for­mer broad­cast news an­chor Chris Hurst. Democrats see an op­por­tu­nity, and Repub­li­cans are con­fi­dent.

The race is get­ting na­tional at­ten­tion be­cause Hurst was en­gaged to Ali- son Parker, the WDBJ TV re­porter who was fa­tally shot while do­ing an in­ter­view in 2015.

“I don’t want your pity or your sym­pa­thy. I’m not run­ning for of­fice for me or Ali­son. I’m run­ning for you, the peo­ple of the 12th Dis­trict,” Hurst tweeted Sept. 28.

Vot­ers rec­og­nize Hurst when he knocks on their doors. But Yost is a pop­u­lar in­cum­bent with a 100 per­cent score on the Vir­ginia Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion score­card, and has the VEA’s en­dorse­ment and that of LGBT rights group Equal­ity Vir­ginia.

Other races of note:

♦ Fresh­man Del. N. D. “Rocky” Hol­comb III, RVir­ginia Beach, a cap­tain in the of­fice of Vir­ginia Beach Sher­iff ( and for­mer state sen­a­tor) Ken Stolle, is chal­lenged by Demo­crat Ch­eryl Turpin in the 85th Dis­trict. Hol­comb beat Turpin by 362 votes in a spe­cial elec­tion in Jan­uary.

♦ Demo­crat Kelly

Fowler is chal­leng­ing Del. Ron­ald A. Vil­lanueva, RVir­ginia Beach, in Dis­trict


♦ Del. Richard L. An­der­son, R- Prince Wil­liam, faces a se­ri­ous chal­lenge from Demo­crat Hala Ay­ala in Dis­trict 51.

♦ Del. J. Ran­dall Minchew, R- Loudoun, faces a chal­lenge from Demo­crat Wendy Good­i­tis in Dis­trict 10.

♦ Repub­li­can can­di­date Heather Cor­dasco is chal­leng­ing Del. Michael P. Mullin, D- New­port News, who beat her in a spe­cial elec­tion last year in Dis­trict 93.

♦ Demo­crat Shelly Si­monds is chal­leng­ing Del. David E. Yancey, R- New­port News, in the 94th Dis­trict pwil­son@times­dis­patch.com (804) 649-6061

Twit­ter: @patrickmwil­son



John Carr ofWinch­ester en­tered his polling place for the June pri­mary elec­tion. The gen­eral elec­tion is Nov. 7.

Lingam­fel­ter Guz­man

















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