Virginia House District 66 Profile: With No Incumbent, Mike Cherry Must Keep Katie Sponsler from Flipping the District

Virginia Republicans only need to flip six seats to retake the majority in the House of Delegates, but to do that, they must protect a handful of vulnerable Republican districts like House District 66. Former Speaker of the House Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) is retiring after assuming office in 199o, and the urban, suburban, and rural district leans Democratic. It’s one of a handful of seats that survived Trump-era Democratic waves in greater Richmond in 2017 and 2019. GOP candidate Mike Cherry is running against Democrat Katie Sponsler in a battle of turnout and name recognition.

“This is an open seat so for the first time in decades, voters have the opportunity to learn about and choose between two new candidates, without the weight of incumbency skewing the election,” Chesterfield County Democratic Committee Chair Sara Gaborik told The Virginia Star.

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Republicans Competitive to Retake Virginia House of Delegates Majority

Republicans have a good chance to retake the majority in Virginia’s House of Delegates, powered by historically-Republican voters in swing districts who were alienated by former President Donald Trump. To win the majority, Republicans need to protect what they have and take six seats. They see opportunities in Northern Virginia, metro Richmond, Virginia Beach, and downstate Virginia.

“We feel that with the environment that’s going on right now, we’ve got great opportunities to pick up five to nine seats to take over,” Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Wise) told The Virginia Star. “That’s one thing you don’t have any control of, but the environment, you know, of Biden and just the overreach by a lot of the Democrats’ bills last year has really focused the independents back our way.”

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Virginia Court Dismisses Recall Effort Against Fairfax County School Board Member Elaine Tholen at Request of Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney

The effort to recall Fairfax County School Board Member Elaine Tholen hit a dead end Friday, when Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Hingeley asked Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Richard Gardiner to dismiss the recall petition. According to Tholen’s press release, Hingeley said the petition did not have factual allegations that met the legal standard.

“In this case, a small group of people unhappy about Covid restrictions tried to use the law to substitute their opinion for a unanimous consensus of the Fairfax County School Board. I was happy to hear the special prosecutor tell the judge that the case was about a policy disagreement, and that the recall process is not a vehicle to resolve such disputes with elected officials and governing bodies. That is why we have elections,” Tholen said.

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Michael Bills and Clean Virginia Biggest Losers in Virginia Democratic Primary

Democrats nominated former governor Terry McAuliffe, Attorney General Mark Herring, and Delegate Hala Ayala (D-Prince William) for governor, attorney general, and lieutenant governor respectively. Progressive candidates lost both in those races, and down-ballot in the House of Delegates.

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Ayala Takes $100,000 from Dominion Energy After Taking Funds from Clean Virginia

Dominion Energy gave lieutenant governor candidate Delegate Hala Ayala (D-Prince William) $100,000 at the end of May, according to new campaign finance reports published by The Virginia Public Access Project. That angered anti-utility activist group Clean Virginia which had contributed $25,000 to Ayala’s campaign; Ayala had committed to not accept money from the utility.

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Clean-Virginia-Funded Commonwealth Forward PAC Working to Primary Candi King, Steve Heretick

The Commonwealth Forward PAC is a new Democratic PAC founded to fight lobbyists and corporate interests, even within the Democratic Party, and is funded primarily by $525,000 from the Michael Bills-funded Clean Virginia Fund. Bills has donated $3 million to the fund in 2021, according to the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP.)

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Follow The Money: Who Is Investing in the Richmond Mayor’s Race?

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has passed the $916,255 he raised in 2016 campaign, hitting $1.07 million in 2020 by raising $302,294 in the first three weeks of October, according to data from The Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP). Alexsis Rodgers has now raised $415,760 in total, despite beginning her race in June. Kim Gray has raised $391,502.

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