Creigh Deeds.
Creigh Deeds.

For more election coverage:

House primaries: Del. Williams ousts Del. Marie; Davis cruises past Jefferson

Local primaries: Incumbents lose in Roanoke County, Botetourt County and Buchanan County

Opinion: Republicans pull back from the brink while Democrats edge further left

Election night analysis: Five incumbents lose, including Senate Finance co-chair Barker

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Update: While his lead shrunk to 533 votes throughout Wednesday, Sen. Creigh Deeds at 1:40 p.m. turned to Twitter and declared victory in the Democratic primary in the newly created state Senate District 11.

Sen. Creigh Deeds, a 31-year veteran of Virginia’s state legislature, appeared to have fended off a primary challenge from progressive Democrat Sally Hudson, who has represented Charlottesville in the House of Delegates since 2019 and had vowed to usher in a generational change in the state Senate. 

By 10:35 p.m. on Tuesday, Deeds was up by 2.9%, leading Hudson by 755 votes, according to unofficial data provided by the Virginia Department of Elections. In total, Deeds had 13,436 votes, and Hudson 12,681. 

Deeds moved to Charlottesville in the newly created 11th state Senate District from Bath County last year after new legislative maps approved by the Virginia Supreme Court in 2021 had paired him in the same Senate district with Sens. Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta County, and Mark Obenshain, R-Rockingham County. 

The 25th Senate District, which Deeds currently represents, includes the city of Charlottesville and much of surrounding Albemarle County, and stretches to include all of Alleghany, Bath, Highland, Nelson and Rockbridge counties and the cities of Buena Vista, Covington and Lexington.

The new 11th District, which encompasses all of Charlottesville and ends just outside Lynchburg to the south, also includes the majority of the people that Deeds has represented for the last 20 years, which is why he decided to try his luck there. 

On Tuesday, Deeds won in every locality in the district, with the exception of Charlottesville.

Hudson, 34, wasn’t even a preschooler when Deeds, now 65, 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. 

In the last two decades, Deeds has proven to be a skilled lawmaker who hasn’t shied away from campaigning in the deepest red pockets of his district. During the 2023 legislative session, Deeds carried a total of 38 bills, getting 26 of them passed, including 10 resolutions creating judgeships. 

After the tragic death of his 24-year-old son Gus, who in November 2013 attacked and injured his father at his Bath County home with a knife before killing himself, Deeds added mental health-related legislation to his priorities in the state Senate, including an effort that changed the screening and admission process for people undergoing an emergency psychiatric examination in Virginia.

In order to be a successful legislator, “you have to build seniority and you have to build relationships. Because you don’t get any time off from being a problem solver when you’re in the minority, you still have to work to get things done,” Deeds said in a recent interview

A native of Iowa City, Iowa, Hudson has been an assistant professor of economics at the University of Virginia for the past seven years. She said in a recent interview that she was “politicized” during the Trump era, in particular the events around the white supremacist Unite the Right rally that took place in Charlottesville in August 2017. 

Hudson decided to run for the House of Delegates in 2019, challenging incumbent Del. David Toscano, D-Charlottesville, in the 57th House of Delegates District, which at the time included parts of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Toscano, however, did not run for reelection and Hudson faced architect Kathleen Galvin in the primary, winning with 65.5% of the vote. Hudson ran unopposed in the general election and won with 96.1% of the vote.

Hudson told Cardinal News that during her first two terms in the House, she was most proud of being named Virginia’s Legislator of the Year in 2021 by NARAL, a nonprofit group working to expand access to abortions, for her legislation repealing a state law that prohibited plans on the state’s health insurance exchange from covering abortions, and in her role in repealing two of Virginia’s coal tax credits that a state investigation had found generated economic losses for the commonwealth. 

Trish White-Boyd. Courtesy of the candidate.
Trish White-Boyd. Courtesy of the candidate.

White-Boyd wins in Democratic primary in Roanoke Valley

Farther to the west, Democrat Trish White-Boyd emerged as the winner in a three-way nomination contest in the redrawn 4th Senate District. The Roanoke city council member and former grassroots coordinator for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign defeated her two primary opponents with 4,059 votes – or 59% – by 9:45 p.m. Tuesday.

White-Boyd is hoping to succeed Sen. John Edwards, who announced in February that he would retire by the end of the year after 28 years. She will be facing Sen. David Suetterlein, R-Roanoke County, who was drawn into the same new district with Edwards, in the general election in November. Suetterlein did not face a primary challenge this year.

Luke Priddy, White-Boyd’s colleague on the council who has served as Edwards’ aide for five years, came in second with 2,673 votes (38%), followed by political newcomer DeAnthony “DA” Pierce, who received 350 votes (5%).  

The 4th District now includes Roanoke and Salem, most of Roanoke County and part of Montgomery County, including Christiansburg. The court-appointed mapmakers who drew the lines rated it 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.

Should she be victorious in November, White-Boyd would be the only remaining Democrat from west of the Blue Ridge serving in the state Senate. 

White-Boyd told Cardinal News last month that her experience as a business woman and community leader for many years prepared her to be the ideal Democratic candidate to win the general election this fall because she would be able to gather much needed support from both sides of the aisle. 

A native of rural Florida, White-Boyd, 60, moved to Roanoke in 1984. For 18 years, she worked for the city’s Division of Child Support Enforcement as a liaison between the court and the agency, before starting her own home care business. 

Since announcing her bid in March, White-Boyd has collected numerous endorsements, including from Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea, council members Peter Volosin and Vivian Sanchez-Jones, and city treasurer Evelyn Powers, among others. 

Del. Emily Brewer, R-Suffolk. Courtesy of Brewer.
Del. Emily Brewer, R-Suffolk. Courtesy of Brewer.

Brewer defeats Sadler in Southside Republican primary

In the newly created 17th state Senate District in Southside, Del. Emily Brewer, R-Suffolk, defeated former NASCAR driver, wrestling promoter and political newcomer Hermie Sadler in a GOP primary. 

By 9:15 p.m., Brewer, who announced in early 2022 that she would retire from her House of Delegates seat to run for the state Senate, edged her opponent from Emporia with 59-41% of the votes. In total, Brewer won 9,284 votes; Sadler 6,332. She now faces Democratic nominee Clinton Jenkins, her colleague in the House of Delegates, in the general election in November.  

“I am humbled by the confidence that the voters of the 17th Senate District showed in me today,” Brewer said in a statement Tuesday. “I promise that as the Republican nominee, I will work with Governor Youngkin to cut taxes, be tough on crime in our communities, and stand up for Virginia families and parents.”

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. Brewer is a founding member of the Virginia Future Caucus, which is co-chaired by her colleague Del. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke.

During her campaign, Brewer 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.

The newly created 17th District includes all of Isle of Wight, Southampton, Greenville and Brunswick counties; the cities of Suffolk, Franklin and Emporia; and parts of Portsmouth and Dinwiddie County. 

An analysis from the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project found that the district’s share of votes from the 2021 governor’s race favored Youngkin, a Republican, by about 5% over former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat. 

The district’s Republican nomination contest was overshadowed by litigation over an unprecedented change of the nomination process, forcing a court to step in and order the primary election. 

Sadler, who owns Sadler Brothers Oil Co. – now a third-generation business that manages truck stops and convenience stores across Southside Virginia – and several restaurants in the Emporia area, in an interview last month painted Brewer as an establishment politician. 

“She’s become part of the problem, an establishment politician. She is more concerned about her personal political future than she is about representing the people of the 17th District,” Sadler said in the interview.

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