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Roanoke City Council member Luke Priddy says he is seeking the Democratic nomination to succeed state Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, who recently announced his retirement after 28 years in Richmond.
Priddy, an aide to Edwards for the past five years, posted on Facebook a copy of a letter he sent to Edwards on Friday in which he said he hoped to “carry on your legacy.”
Priddy is the first Democrat to signal an interest in the seat. If he were to win the Democratic nomination, he would face state Sen. David Suetterlein, R-Roanoke County, with whom Edwards was paired in redistricting.
The district, which covers Roanoke, Salem, most of Roanoke County and part of Montgomery County, tilts Republican. The court-appointed mapmakers who drew the lines for the Virginia Supreme Court rated the district 52% to 54% Republican based on election returns from 2017. The Virginia Public Access Project says Democrat Tim Kaine took 51.4% of the vote in the district in the 2018 U.S. Senate race but Republican Glenn Youngkin took 54.7% in the 2021 governor’s race.
“The new lines for Senate District 4 present a challenge, an uphill battle I am prepared to take on, because as I believe, this district is winnable with the right strategy and effort,” Priddy wrote. “This campaign needs a candidate who is hungry, somebody young with the energy and experience to deliver policies that will improve people’s lives, protect their rights, and advance their interests. This region needs someone who will carry on your legacy in the Senate of Virginia. That is why I have decided to pursue your seat full-time.”
Priddy was elected to Roanoke City Council in a special election to fill the term of a council member who forfeited his seat when he was convicted of a felony. He took 55.7% of the vote.
All 140 seats in the General Assembly will be on the ballot this fall. Republicans currently control the House 52-48 while Democrats control the Senate 22-18.