The three candidates vying for the Samuel Miller BoS seat held a debate last night, Brandon Shulleeta writes in today’s Progress. (Or, at least, I assume that it was a debate and it was last night. Due to what I assume is some unfortunate editing, the articles makes no mention of how these three candidates came to be interacting or when they did so. So I’m going with a debate, last night.) Republican Duane Snow, Democrat Madison Cummings, and independent John Lowry are all looking to replace Democrat Sally Thomas, who is retiring. Lowry argued that millions of dollars could be added to county coffers not by raising taxes, but by encouraging new businesses to start in the area. Boldly defeating a strawman, Lowry disagreed with “the no-growth people don’t want to have business in the growth area.” (Who are these people? I want names.) He also criticized Snow for supporting keeping open the three elementary schools in the county facing consolidation, saying it was “entirely inappropriate” for Snow to state his opinion prior to the superintendent’s recommendation that they be kept open. Snow advocated zero-based budgeting—a popular proposal among state and local candidates of all political stripes—and said that education is his highest priority. Cummings, a two-term school board veteran, wants to increase school funding, wants to reemphasize physical fitness in the schools, and thinks the county needs a rainy day fund.
This race has been incredibly scattered, and it’s tough to know how it’ll turn out. Lowry has proved to be far and away the best fundraiser, taking in $14.5k without benefit of a party to back him. Cummings has the second-largest total, $10k, but that includes the $5k that he’s donated to himself. Snow has taken in $8k, including $2,500 from the Virginia Association of Realtors. Cummings has $7.5k cash on hand, or about half again as much as his opponents. No issue has come to the fore as one that will dominate the race, and Lowry is running a strong enough race that one can’t simply assume that Cummings will win by virtue of being a Democrat.