Farmville attorney John Marsden has withdrawn from the Republican primary for a House of Delegates nomination in Southside, leaving Del. Tommy Wright, R-Lunenburg, unopposed.
In a letter to supporters on Monday that became publicly available Wednesday, Marsden said he had made “the difficult decision” to withdraw. “Over the last couple of weeks with the recent events that have happened within the Republican Party make this decision unavoidable,” Marsden wrote.
“Also, I cannot in good conscience serve alongside certain individuals who have recently secured the Republican nomination for Delegate in their respective districts. If elected, this would deprive the citizens of the 50th House District of a voice and the good quality representation that they deserve. Therefore, after much reflection, I have officially withdrawn my name as a candidate for the Republication [sic] nomination on June 20th.”
Marsden did not elaborate on what the “recent events” were or who the “certain individuals who have recently secured the Republican nomination” in other districts were. Attempts to reach Marsden by phone and email have been unsuccessful.
State Republican Party Chairman Rich Anderson was unaware of Marsden’s withdrawal when first contacted Wednesday morning. He later said he’d confirmed Marsden’s departure from the race and said he’d spoken with Wright. “He told me he will continue to campaign as if he has an opponent.”
Anderson said he’d never encountered a situation like this. Early voting started May 5. The Virginia Public Access Project reports that as of Tuesday, 500 ballots had already been cast in the race.
The last campaign finance reports, complete through March 31, showed that Marsden had more cash on hand than Wright — $66,247 for Marsden to $55,491 for Wright. Most of Marsden’s money — $50,000 — came from a single donor, Moore Properties, according to VPAP, a nonpartisan site that tracks money in Virginia politics.
Wright, who had never before faced a primary challenge in his 22 years in Richmond, would appear to now have a clear path toward reelection: So far there’s no Democratic candidate in the race.
For a full list of who’s running in Southwest and Southside, see our election guide.
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