State Capitol. Photo by Markus Schmidt.
State Capitol. Photo by Markus Schmidt.

Voters in Amherst County, Augusta County, Bath County, Rockbridge County and the cities of Buena Vista and Lexington are in the process of choosing a successor to the late Del. Ronnie Campbell, R-Rockbridge County, who died of cancer.

The formal election day is Tuesday but early voting is available now.

Ellen Campbell.

The Republican candidate is Ellen Campbell, the late delegate’s widow. The Democratic candidate is Jade Harris, the vice mayor of Glasgow.

Because this is a special election to fill the remainder of the term to which Ronnie Campbell was elected in 2021, it is being held under the district lines that existed then, not the new lines approved by the Virginia Supreme Court that will start with the November elections.

If Campbell is elected, she would be in a new district with Del. John Avioi, R-Staunton, who has already declared for re-election. If Harris is elected, she would be in a district with Del. Terry Austin, R-Botetourt County.

Jade Harris

That election is one of three special elections across Virginia on Tuesday.

In Fairfax County, there’s a special election to fill the seat of Del. Mark Keam, D-Fairfax, who resigned to take a job with the administration of President Joe Biden. The candidates there are Democrat Holly Seibold and Republican Monique Baroudi.

Before Keam’s resignation and Campbell’s death, the House of Delegates was split between 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats, which means that party control of the House is not at stake in those elections.

The other special election is in Virginia Beach and Norfolk for the seat formerly held by state Sen. Jen Kiggans, R-Virginia Beach, who has been elected to Congress. The candidates there are Democrat Aaron Rouse and Republican Kevin Adams. That election does have implications for party control of the state Senate. Before Kiggans left, the Senate was 21 Democrats, 19 Republicans. If Adams wins, that margin would stay the same. If Rouse wins, Democrats would have a 22-18 majority, with more breathing room for defections on some issues. That’s of particular interest on abortion legislation, where state Sen. Joe Morrissey, D-Richmond, is said to be open to some restrictions. In a 21-19 Senate, if he were to vote with Republicans, that would allow Republican Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears to break the tie.