In Roanoke, three Democratic candidates are seeking their party’s nomination in the 4th Senate District to succeed Sen. John Edwards. Photo by Dwayne Yancey.

For more on Virginia politics, sign up for our free weekly political newsletter, West of the Capital.

On Tuesday, Virginia voters are set to return to the polls and cast their ballots in state-run primary elections in dozens of redrawn or newly created districts in the commonwealth that were approved by the Virginia Supreme Court in late 2021. 

In the coverage area of Cardinal News in Southwest and Southside, a total of six Republicans and five Democrats are seeking their party’s nomination on primary day in an election year when all of the General Assembly’s 140 legislative seats are at stake. 

While Democrats from Southwest Virginia and Southside will pick their candidates exclusively in Tuesday’s primary election, Republicans have already nominated five of their own at party-run conventions and mass meetings throughout May and the first half of June. 

The primary contests set the table for the general election in November, when Republicans hope to win back the state Senate, where Democrats currently hold a 22-18 majority. GOP lawmakers control the House of Delegates by 52-48 seats — a majority that Democrats in return are hoping to flip. 

Because the success of Gov. Glenn Youngkin hangs in the balance based on the results of the general election, Virginia legislative candidates have raised more than $20 million in cash and other donations in just over two months in the run-up to next week’s primary election, according to data provided by the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonprofit tracking money in politics.

Early, in-person voting for primaries ends on Saturday. On Tuesday, polls are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. If you want to vote on Election Day, you can find your polling place here

Here are other House of Delegates primary races to follow, listed by district:

House District 39. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.
House District 39. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.

House District 39

Franklin County, part of Roanoke County and two voters in Bedford County.

Two GOP operatives with deep roots in the region are vying for the Republican nomination in the newly created 39th House of Delegates District. Will Davis, a fourth generation Rocky Mount attorney, is facing Ron Jefferson, who spent 43 years with Appalachian Power in various roles before retiring and returning to his native Franklin County. 

Both candidates for the most part are ideologically aligned — they are firm Christian believers who stress the need to expand gun rights, defend the unborn, support law enforcement and protect children from “sexually explicit material” in schools. In regard to issues facing the region, both mention the need to improve local roadways including U.S. 220 and U.S. 40 while cutting taxes and reducing energy rates. 

Joe Szymanski, a political analyst with Elections Daily, said that Davis is the clear favorite in the district’s Republican primary, because he has “racked up endorsements from area politicians,” and with seven county supervisors and both Roanoke and Franklin counties’ commonwealth attorneys, he has most of his party’s establishment behind him. 

But one shouldn’t underestimate Jefferson, Szymanski said. “He has been able to fund his own campaign, and has the support of longtime GOP delegate Kathy Byron. But the underlying factors make Davis the favorite over Jefferson.”  

The winner of Tuesday’s primary is likely going to be the district’s new delegate, as no Democratic candidate for the general election has filed yet — and the filing deadline, which is also Tuesday, is fast approaching.

House District 47. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.
House District 47. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.

House District 47

Carroll, Patrick and Floyd counties, parts of Henry County and Galax City. 

One of the most watched contests in the commonwealth this year is the nomination fight in the newly created 47th House District where two Republican incumbents — Del. Marie March, R-Floyd County, and Del. Wren Williams, R-Patrick County — have been taking verbal swings at each other since last year, beginning with March swearing out an assault warrant against Williams after he had bumped into her at a GOP fundraiser in Wytheville in September.

Both March and Williams are freshman lawmakers who were first elected in November 2021, a little over a month before the Virginia Supreme Court approved the new maps. But during the 2023 legislative session, Williams has emerged as the GOP establishment’s favorite, who has collected endorsements from prominent Republicans, including Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears and Attorney General Jason Miyares. 

March, however, has remained true to her image as the anti-establishment candidate, alienating even many of her Republican colleagues, including Earle-Sears, with whom she clashed over a policy disagreement in January. She also is the only legislator this year who couldn’t get any bills past her own party.

“This is the race where Republicans are trying to get rid of Marie March,” said Szymanski, the political analyst. One of the most — if not the most — conservative members of the GOP caucus, March is facing “a real uphill battle against” against Williams, Szymanski added. 

“The issue for March is that she has been struggling to work inside the House, while Williams has been able to make friends with his fellow delegates. March has almost no money as well, while Williams has all the institutional support. I expect Williams to run away with this big,” Szymanski said. 

The primary’s winner will face Democrat Patty Quesenberry in November. 

Senate races to follow, listed by district:

Senate District 4. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.
Senate District 4. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.

Senate District 4

Roanoke and Salem, most of Roanoke County and part of Montgomery County, including Christiansburg

A highly contested Democratic faceoff is happening in Roanoke, where three candidates are seeking their party’s nomination in the 4th Senate District to succeed Sen. John Edwards, who announced in February that he would retire by the end of the year after 28 years. 

Edwards would have faced Sen. David Suetterlein, R-Roanoke County, in the general election in November after both senators were drawn into the same new district, which leans Republican. 

The Democratic candidates hoping to take on Suetterlein, who faces no primary challenge, are Roanoke City Council member Luke Priddy, an aide to Edwards for the past five years; Trish White-Boyd, also a city council member and a former grassroots coordinator for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2007; and DeAnthony “DA” Pierce.

Despite the crowded field, this Democratic primary is going to come down to two candidates, Szymanski said. “I do not expect DA Pierce to be much of a factor, this is a primary between Roanoke Councilwoman Trish White-Boyd and fellow councilman and former Chief of Staff for Senator John Edwards Luke Priddy.” 

While Priddy recently received Edwards’ endorsement, White-Boyd has the backing of multiple key figures in Roanoke area politics, specifically among the Black community in the district, Szymanski said. “This is a race I expect to be pretty close between Priddy and White-Boyd, and it may come down to whose base turns out the most on Tuesday.”

Senate District 11. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.
Senate District 11. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.

Senate District 11 

Albemarle, Amherst and Nelson counties, parts of Louisa County and the city of Charlottesville.

One of the marquee contests among Democrats on Tuesday is playing out in the newly created 11th state Senate District, where Sen. Creigh Deeds, who currently represents the 25th Senate District, faces a primary challenge from Del. Sally Hudson, D-Charlottesville.

After being paired in the same Senate district with Sens. Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta County, and Mark Obenshain, R-Rockingham County, Deeds decided to move from Bath County to Charlottesville and try his luck in a new district.

Hudson has been one of the most progressive members of the House of Delegates since 2019, when she became the first woman to serve Charlottesville in the Virginia State House, succeeding Del. David Toscano, the former House Minority Leader. 

Deeds was first elected to represent the 18th House of Delegates district in 1991. Ten years later, in December 2001, he won a special election in the 25th state Senate District, succeeding Sen. Emily Couric, who had died of pancreatic cancer. 

“I like Deeds over Hudson here,” Szymanski said. While the race in the 11th District has a similar pattern to primary challenges that may be successful in Northern Virginia and in the Richmond area — a young, more progressive woman going against an older, establishment man — Szymanski said that he doesn’t see Hudson as a winner here. 

“I think Hudson probably could have waited another four years until 2027 to get the seat passed on to her by Deeds, but this run, if it fails, may take her out of the running for now and could see her jumped if Deeds does retire in 2027.”

The winner of this Democratic primary faces Republican Philip Hamilton and independent J’riah Guerrero in the general election. 

The 17th state Senate District. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.
The 17th state Senate District. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.

Senate District 17

Isle of Wight, Southampton, Greenville and Brunswick counties, the cities of Suffolk, Franklin and Emporia, and parts of Portsmouth and Dinwiddie County. 

A GOP primary in the newly created 17th state Senate District, which was overshadowed by litigation over an unprecedented change of the nomination process, pits two candidates against each other who give voters in the district a choice between a seasoned state delegate and a political newcomer who became nationally known as a NASCAR driver and wrestling promoter. 

The two Republicans seeking their party’s nomination in the district are Hermie Sadler, an entrepreneur from Emporia, and Del. Emily Brewer, R-Suffolk, who announced in early 2022 that she would retire from her House of Delegates seat to run for the state Senate.

Brewer was first elected to represent the 64th District in the House of Delegates in November 2017. At 38, she was the youngest Republican delegate to be sworn in during the subsequent session. During her campaign, she has cast herself as an experienced legislator with a track record of working with her colleagues from across the aisle, which has earned her endorsements from Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears and Attorney General Jason Miyares. 

Sadler made his NASCAR debut in 1992, winning the NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year award. He has since competed in 66 NASCAR Cup Series and more than 250 Busch Series races, and he founded his own NASCAR team in 2001 before joining FOX NASCAR as a pit reporter.

Sadler owns Sadler Brothers Oil Co., now a third-generation business that manages truck stops and convenience stores across Southside Virginia. With his wife, Angie, he also operates several restaurants in the Emporia area. He has cast himself as an anti-establishment candidate.

While Sadler forced a primary in this race after the lawsuit, Szymanski said that the former NASCAR driver struggles with geography in the newly formed district. “Coming from the less populous Eastern part of the district, Brewer has her connection in the power parts of this seat in Isle of Wight and Suffolk City, where I expect her to do well.” 

While Sadler has “put up an impressive challenge” against Brewer, Szymanski said that Youngkin’s endorsement and Brewer’s built-in name recognition in the more populated areas of the district “make her the favorite in my eyes.” 

The district’s Republican nominee will face the Democratic nominee Clinton Jenkins from Suffolk, Brewer’s colleague in the House of Delegates, in the general election in November.  

For a full list of legislative races this fall in Southwest and Southside, see our election guide.

Primaries for local offices

Some localities on Tuesday will also hold Republican primaries for certain local offices. Here’s the list for the localities in Southwest and Southside holding local primaries:

Botetourt County

Blue Ridge District supervisor: Billy Martin (incumbent) vs. Walter Michael

Valley District supervisor: Mac Scothorn (incumbent) vs. Robert Young

Buchanan County

Clerk of court: Alisa Smith Stiltner vs. Christie Coleman Stiltner 

Commonwealth’s attorney: Gerald Arrington (incumbent) vs. Nikki Stiltner

Knox District supervisor: Trey Adkins (incumbent) vs. Pamela Tester Wilson

North Grundy District supervisor: Ryan Clevinger vs. Lee Dotson Jr.

Prater District supervisor: David Rose vs. Eddie Sturgill Jr. 

Carroll County

At-large supervisor: Greg Horton vs. Shirley Ann Bunn

Treasurer: Malette Pickett vs. David Cooley vs. Joey Dickson

Carroll County and Galax

Sheriff: Ronnie Horton vs. Kevin Kemp (incumbent)

Roanoke County

Clerk of court: Rhonda Perdue (incumbent) vs. Michael Galliher

Catawba District supervisor: Martha Hooker (incumbent) vs. Tom McCracken

Markus Schmidt is a reporter for Cardinal News. Reach him at or 804-822-1594.