Here’s what you’ll be facing when you go to vote on Tuesday.
Let’s start with Charlottesville. You’ll be voting for Senate of Virginia, House of Delegates, Clerk of Court, City Council, School Board, and Soil and Water Conservation Director. All but one of those races are contested, so pay attention. For Senate, incumbent Democrat Creigh Deeds is being challenged by Republican T.J. Aldous Jr. For House, incumbent Democrat David Toscano is being challenged by independent Robert Brandon Smith III for the second consecutive election. The Clerk of Court seat is open, with Democrat Llezelle Dugger being challenged by Pam Melampy, an independent who Dugger defeated in the Democratic primary earlier this year. For City Council, there are three Democrats (Kathleen Galvin, DeDe Smith, and incumbent Satyendra Huja) and five independents (Scott Bandy, Brandon Collins, Bob Fenwick, Paul Long, and Andrew Williams)—pick any three. For School Board, there are seven non-party-affiliated candidates running for four seats: Colette Blount, Ivana Kadija, Steven Latimer, Amy Laufer, Guian McKee, Jennifer McKeever, and Willa Neale. And while there are two incumbent candidates for the two Soil and Water Conservative Director positions (Rich Collins and John Conover), nobody is challenging them.
Onto Albemarle. We’ll be voting for Senate of Virginia, House of Delegates, Commonwealth’s Attorney, Sheriff, Soil and Water Conservation Director, School Board (at-large, Scottsville, Rivanna, and White Hall), and Board of Supervisors (Scottsville, Rivanna, and White Hall). Only some of these are contested. There are two Senate races in the county: incumbent Democrat Creigh Deeds is being challenged by Republican T.J. Aldous Jr., and incumbent Democrat Edd Houck is being challenged by Republican Bryce Reeves. (If you don’t recognize Houck’s name, don’t feel bad—redistricting earlier this year put a big chunk of Albemarle in his district.) There are three House races: incumbent Democrat David Toscano is being challenged by independent Robert Brandon Smith III for the second consecutive election; incumbent Republican Rob Bell has no challenger; and Democrat Connie Brennan, Republican Matt Farriss, and independent Linda Wall are all vying for the open seat formerly occupied by independent Watkins Abbitt. For Commonwealth’s Attorney, first-term incumbent Democrat Denise Lunsford is unchallenged. For Sheriff, first-term incumbent Republican Chip Harding is unchallenged. For the at-large school board seat, Cynthia Burket, Joe Oddo, and Ned Gallaway are all running against each other. In the Scottsville, White Hall, and Rivanna districts, there is just one candidate apiece (Steve Koleszar, Barbara Massie Mouly, and Jason Buyaki, respectively). Finally, for the trio of Board of Supervisors races, there’s an open seat in Scottsville (Republican James Norwood vs. Democrat Chris Dumler), Democratic incumbent Ann Mallek is unchallenged in White Hall, and a challenge in Rivanna (Republican incumbent Ken Boyd vs. Democrat Cynthia Neff). Albemarle County provides sample ballots for each precinct, which is worth looking at in advance.
Note that redistricting has resulted in some very confusing precincts in Albemarle county—four of them are split. That means that you and your neighbor may vote in the same precinct, but be voting in wholly different House or Senate races. If you’re in the Free Bridge, Jack Jouett, Stony Point, or Woodbrook precincts, you should double-check in which state-level district you’re in. To find out more about these elections and candidates, see Cvillepedia’s “2011 Election” entry.
There are a lot of down-ticket races that folks don’t know much about and, thanks to redistricting, even some top-of-the-ballot candidates that are mysteries to a lot of people. So I hope you’ll take this chance to explain who you’re supporting and—more important—why. Convince us to support your guy.