By Leonard E. Colvin
New Journal and Guide
All 40 State Senate and 100 House of Delegates seats will be on November 7 General Election Ballot.
But before the General Election, on June 20 a primary election will determine the Democratic and Republican candidates who will be competing in these respective House and Senate races.
In 2021 all of the districts were redrawn. Incumbents in the old districts are now running in new districts which have been renumbered and geographic boundaries redefined.
Old districts which once included two or more locales are now more compact or include partial portions of nearby cities.
This was especially true for members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus (VLBC) whose numbers in the legislature may remain the same or increase after the upcoming election.
Senatorial District 17
Senate District 17 is poised to be a pick up for the Democrats and the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. It covers Emporia, Franklin, Suffolk, and a tiny slice of Portsmouth.
Democrat Clinton Jenkins is the lone Democrat who filed for the seat. Two Republicans are facing off in the June primary for that district.
Jenkins hopes to jump to the Senate from House District 76 which he now represents.
Senatorial District 18
In South Hampton Roads, the June 20th primary race pits Senate Pro Tempore, L. Louise Lucas, and Sen. Lionell Spruill, Sr. against each other for the newly drawn 18th Senatorial District seat.
District 18, before redistricting, was the power base of Lucas, which covered Portsmouth, Franklin, Suffolk, and other parts of Southeast Virginia.
Spruill was in Senate District 5, which covered a large portion of Chesapeake and Norfolk.
However, after the 2020 Census, new lines were drawn for a new Senate District 18 which now covers 60 percent of Chesapeake and 40 percent of Portsmouth. Both Lucas and Spruill were drawn into the new 18th District when Senate District 5 was moved completely out of Hampton Roads.
Now the competing candidates have support in both cities and will face off on June 20th.
This may be the most heavily funded race in the region’s history.
Lucas had raised $962,586 and Spruill $727,190 as of March 8, according to the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) Website.
Senatorial District 21
Senate District 21 is new and covers Norfolk. It is being sought by two popular and familiar Norfolk politicians: Angelia Williams Graves and Andria McClellan.
Graves is a Virginia House Delegate, currently representing the 90th District House seat. McClellan is Norfolk’s Super Ward 1 Councilperson.
Senatorial District 22
District 22 is new and covers a portion of Virginia Beach. Aaron Rouse, a former Virginia Beach City Councilperson, is the lone Democrat thus far in the primary race.
Sen. Rouse won Senatorial District 7 in a close race earlier this year.
House Districts 84, 76
The new House District 84 includes parts of Suffolk, Franklin, Chesapeake, and Isle of Wight County.
Delegate Nadarius Clark resigned from the 79th District seat to move in order to run for the 84th where he faces Michele Joyce in the upcoming Democratic Primary.
In the newly drawn 76th House District located in Chesterfield County, Debra Gardner, a Black woman is in the primary race. The district is majority white (41 percent) but leans Blue and may stay in Democrats’ hands.
House District 88
Minority Leader Don Scott could be the first Black Speaker of the House if Democrats reclaim the House of Delegates. He is now running for the new House District 88 which is primarily in Portsmouth.
House District 89
House District 89, which once sat in Norfolk and was strongly Democratic, is now shared by Chesapeake and Suffolk and now leans Republican.
Current Chesapeake Councilperson Don Carey, an African-American and Republican, is running against two rivals Baxter Ellis and Jason Woolridge, who is Black, in the GOP June Primary.
Democrat Karen L. Jenkins, the wife of Clinton Jenkins, is running unopposed thus far in the primary race in that district.
House District 91
State Delegate Cliff Hayes was drawn out of the old 77th District seat and he is seeking reelection in the new 91st. Eighty percent of the new district is in Chesapeake and 14 percent is in Portsmouth and leans Blue.
House District 92
Another safe Democratic seat is in Norfolk – the new 92 where two political newcomers are facing each other: Bonita Anthony and Kim Sudderth.
Anthony is a Norfolk native, is currently Director of Retention at Virginia State University.
Sudderth is a member of the Norfolk Planning Commission and works for Health Resources Action.
House District 93
State Delegate Jackie Glass is seeking another term, this time in the newly drawn 93rd district in Norfolk. John Sitka, III, who lost a bid for Norfolk school board last year, is running as a Republican.
House District 94
The new 94th district in the northern sector of Norfolk (Ocean View) is competitive. Phil Hernandez and Mike Podlodowski are on the primary ballot for the Democrats. Four Republicans are seeking that seat: Amy Chudzinski, Kenneth G. O’Brien, Andrew B. Pittman and Antonio Respass.
House District 95
Former Democrat House member Alex Askew is running in the new District 95 seat. He will be facing Rick James. District 95 is mostly in Virginia Beach and two precincts in Norfolk and leans Democratic.
House District 96
In the new 96th district, incumbent Kelly Fowler, a white Democrat, is facing three African-American challengers: Susan Hippen, Brandon Hutchins, and Sean Monteiro.
House District 97
Democrat political activist Michael Feggans thus far is the lone Democrat in the primary race.
Senate District 23
Incumbent Democrat and Senate Caucus Chair Mamie Locke will now run in the new Senate District 23 which encompasses Hampton and a small portion of Newport News.
House District 85
State Delegate Marcia Price is now running in the new House District 85 which sits mostly in Newport News.
House District 87
State Delegate Jeion Ward is now running for the new 87 House seat which represents mostly Hampton.
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