This is the district that will hold a special election August. 29. Courtesy of VPAP.
This is the district that will hold a special election Aug. 29. Courtesy of Virginia Public Access Project.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin has set Aug. 29 as the date for a special election to fill the remainder of the term of Del. Jeff Campbell, R-Smyth County, who resigned earlier this summer to take a judgeship.

The election will be in the district that Campbell was elected to in 2021 — House District 6, consisting of Carroll County, Wythe County and part of Smyth County.

Jed Arnold.  Courtesy of the Arnold campaign.
Jed Arnold. Courtesy of the Arnold campaign.

Campbell had earlier said he would not seek re-election and Republican Jed Arnold of Smyth County is unopposed for the seat in November, but that’s for a differently drawn district under redistricting — House District 46, consisting of Grayson County, Smyth County, Wythe County and part of Pulaski County. Arnold announced Friday that he will also run in the special election. Updated Saturday, August 5: On Saturday, Youngkin endorsed him for that nomination, as did Attorney General Jason Miyares, House Speaker Todd Gilbert, House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore and Deputy House Majority Leader Israel O’Quinn, and House Caucus Chair Amanda Batten. Updated Sunday, August 6: On Sunday, Arnold was named the Republican nominee.

The deadline for candidates to file is 5 p.m. Aug. 9. Information regarding candidacy requirements can be found on the Department of Elections website.  

The electoral history of House District 6 is strongly Republican: Campbell’s lowest vote share in a contested race was 57%; his highest, 81%.

The Virginia Mercury points out that this is the first use of a new law that requires a special election to be called with 30 days of a vacancy. That bill was sponsored by state Sen. David Suetterlein, R-Roanoke County, after a state Senate seat in Southwest Virginia stayed vacant for the entirety of a General Assembly session following the death of Sen. Ben Chafin, R-Russell County. There are other vacant seats in the General Assembly that are currently going unfilled because those vacancies happened before the new law took effect July 1.

Filling this seat for the remainder of the term will become important if Youngkin convenes a special session of the General Assembly to deal with amendments to the two-year state budget. Negotiations between the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House have been going slowly, but this past week saw some movement toward a compromise.