Tim Griffin. Photo by Rachel Mahoney.
Tim Griffin. Photo by Rachel Mahoney.

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Tim Griffin, a conservative election attorney and former prosecutor, has been named the Republican nominee for the Virginia House of Delegates’ 53rd District after his competitor ceded to him at a Saturday convention.

Griffin, who’s worked at several right-wing law firms and agencies over the past few years, won over Sarah Mays at the event, which gathered residents from Amherst, Bedford and Nelson counties to serve as voting delegates. He’s the favorite to win the November general election over Democrat Sam Soghor in a district where 73% of voters favored Glenn Youngkin for governor, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

Griffin boasted more endorsements than Mays, a Bedford County resident who runs a daycare business in Amherst County, and had vastly crowded out May’s campaign signs at Jefferson Forest High School, the site of the Saturday morning convention.

Some time after GOP volunteers began tabulating votes, Mays moved to nominate Griffin by acclamation, deciding the outcome of the convention before officials announced the results among the 285 voting delegates, allocated based on each county’s share of the district’s population. The 53rd had no incumbent, drawn anew by special commission in 2021.

In his speeches, Griffin positioned himself as the ideal candidate to go on the offensive against Democratic “communists” and “groomers” in the statehouse given his background as an attorney. He promised he could hit the ground running in Richmond without needing any training.

“When a society falls into societal decay, there is a remaining amount of people that understand the culture that came before them, the history that came before them, their religious roots, their faith in God,” he said. “And this is the foundation upon which we bring society back.”

Convention delegate Teresa Craig said she has known Griffin as a fellow member of the Bedford County Republican Committee, which the nominee has been chair of for the past three years. Though she thought Mays’ heart was in the right place, she had more confidence in Griffin’s ability to stand strong in the bustle of the statehouse.

“He seems like he is very attentive, very aware of what’s going on,” she said. “I know he worked on a national campaign, which helps a lot to know that when he gets to Richmond to represent us, that he will be able to withstand the heat.”

Mays spoke toward her run as a foil to politicians who don’t deliver on promises and vowed to fight government overreach. She cast her run as that of a “common everyday citizen” looking out for the interests of her fellow citizens.

“We can no longer sit back and let others dictate what is best for us, what is best for our children and what is best for our country,” she said.

Amherst County resident Michael Brockman came out in support of Mays, noting that Griffin presents himself well but questioned his follow-through if elected.

“He’s a better speaker and he delivers well, but I don’t think he is as genuine as she is,” Brockman said. “’Cause we got a lot of ungenuine so-called Republicans down in the General Assembly – our Speaker of the House didn’t advance a single pro-gun bill that was presented to him.”

The only booing of the day came when Mays disavowed being the source of “rancor” in the race thus far.

An anonymous, uncredited website had exposed legal records from Griffin’s child support proceedings in court, and three Bedford County residents had unsuccessfully challenged the validity of his residence for purposes of voting and running for public office. In those records, a judge characterized his living situation as “essentially being homeless” in 2021, and he told the same judge in January 2023 that he was living in a garage. 

The Bedford County registrar decided about two weeks ago that he was fit to run for office. He blamed the Mays campaign for mudslinging, but she denied her team had leaked the information.

Both ran on similar policy platforms: vowing to outlaw abortion in Virginia without any exceptions, toss out Democratic-passed voting right expansions, allow tax dollars to be allocated toward options outside public school and protect gun rights, among others. 

Griffin has drawn on his efforts to “fight the Democrats when they were trying to steal our elections” in national battleground areas, training poll watchers and claiming “elections have become a disaster.” He’s touted his work for right-wing groups such as the Amistad Project, whose lawyers unsuccessfully challenged Donald Trump’s 2020 loss in courtrooms across the country.

Griffin will face off against Soghor in the Nov. 7 general election.

For a full list of General Assembly candidates in Southwest and Southside, see our election guide.

House District 53. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.
House District 53. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.

Rachel Mahoney has worked as a journalist in Virginia for seven years and has won several press awards....