Del. Chris Hurst, D-Montgomery County.

Less than 24 hours before polls close, Del. Chris Hurst, a Democrat from Montgomery County seeking a third term in the House of Delegates in Tuesday’s election, was stopped by police in Radford Monday evening after an unidentified female passenger in his car was seen tampering with campaign signs.

Radford City Sheriff Mark Armentrout said in a phone interview that shortly before 9:30 p.m. one of his deputies spotted the woman “taking and turning over campaign signs” near the Radford Recreation Building, a local voting precinct. The woman then got into a car and left the scene. 

Armentrout said that his department contacted Radford City Police, which shortly after pulled over the vehicle and identified Hurst as the driver. Police officers found that Hurst’s license was suspended and issued a notification of driving with a suspended license, which is not a traffic ticket, Armentrout said. 

The unauthorized removal or vandalizing of campaign signs is a violation of state law, but it is unclear whether the woman in Hurst’s car will face charges. Hurst’s office did not immediately respond to emails asking for comment on Tuesday. Radford City Police in a press release confirmed “damage to several political signs at the original location,” adding that at the request of Chief Jeff Dodson the matter has been turned over to Virginia State Police. 

Hurst is running for reelection in the 12th House District, which was ranked by Ballotpedia as one of the most competitive in the state this year. He is facing Republican Jason Ballard. 

Hurst already had an encounter with police in January of 2020 in Christiansburg, when he was pulled over for suspicion of drunken driving. He was detained and released, despite failing the field sobriety tests and being over the legal limit. Hurst later released a statement, calling his actions “a grave mistake that rightfully has some of you questioning my judgement.”

Markus Schmidt

Markus Schmidt is a reporter for Cardinal News. Reach him at markus@cardinalnews.org.