Richmond Times-Dispatch

Special election set to fill state Senate seat

- BY AMY FRIEDENBER­GER

A special election to fill the late Sen. Ben Chafin’s seat will be held March 23.

Chafin, R-Russell, died Jan. 1 from complicati­ons related to COVID-19. He was 60.

The seat will remain vacant through the General Assembly’s regular session, which starts Wednesday and will last about a month. The 38th Senate District represents a swath of far Southwest Virginia and includes part of the New River Valley.

At least three people — all Republican­s — have indicated they will seek the seat:

♦ Jony Baker is a Dickenson County sheriff’s deputy.

♦ Elijah Leonard is a Lebanon Town Council member.

♦ Kimberly Lowe, who had most recently been running for a House of Delegates seat in Southside represente­d by Del. Roslyn Tyler, D-Sussex, said she’s now going to compete for the open Senate seat. (State legislator­s have to reside in the district they represent.)

With multiple Republican­s running, the local party leaders will have to choose a nomination method. No informatio­n on when that will be has been announced yet.

The last day for candidates to file to appear on the ballot is Jan. 22.

With the Senate seat remaining vacant during the regular session, the Democrats will hold a slim majority of 21-18.

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