Filling out the ballot: Other races to watch (and who’s running)

Albemarle County resident Amy Laufer, a former teacher who served on the Charlottesville School Board, is challenging Republican incumbent Bryce Reeves in a closely watched 
race. Reeves received an “A” rating from the NRA in 2015, while Laufer supports gun control measures like universal background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines. Albemarle County resident Amy Laufer, a former teacher who served on the Charlottesville School Board, is challenging Republican incumbent Bryce Reeves in a closely watched race. Reeves received an “A” rating from the NRA in 2015, while Laufer supports gun control measures like universal background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines.

By Spencer Philps

Albemarle County Board of Supervisors

Three of the six districts in Albemarle County have elections for the Board of Supervisors, where members serve four-year terms.

Scottsville District

Lawyer and retired Navy captain Donna Price (D) is squaring off with Mike Hallahan (R), also a lawyer and a former deputy sheriff for Albemarle and Greene counties. Hallahan, who represented Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler after the August 2017 rally, wants to bring a conservative voice to the Democrat-controlled board. He says he’ll maintain property rights and revisit the revenue-sharing agreement between Char­lottesville and Albemarle County. Price wants to bring more equity to the county, focusing on education, health care, and the area’s affordable housing crisis.

White Hall District

Incumbent Ann Mallek (D) is being challenged by Steve Harvey (R), an army veteran and outreach director for the 5th Congressional District. Mallek has sought to increase public safety and economic development and promote local agriculture during her time in office. Harvey wants to halt future tax hikes, cut regulations, and renegotiate the revenue-sharing agreement with the city.

Rivanna District

Bea LaPisto Kirtley (D) is running unopposed. A former principal and city council member in California, she has said expanding broadband access and addressing transportation issues are her top priorities.

Charlottesville School Board

With Charlottesville City Schools still reckoning with the findings of last year’s New York Times/ProPublica report on persistent racial inequities in its schools, many school board candidates are campaigning on platforms of increasing equity. Five candidates are running for four open spots on the school board, where members serve four-year terms.

James Bryant (Incumbent)

Charlottesville native Bryant, a retired music teacher and school counselor, was appointed to fill a school board vacancy in 2018. He supports efforts to restructure the Quest gifted program, and to hire more minority teachers, who he hopes will offer more diverse perspectives.

Jennifer McKeever (Incumbent)

McKeever, an attorney, is seeking her third term on the school board, which she chaired in 2019. During her time in office, she’s sought to boost graduation rates, reconfigure the city’s middle schools, and increase equity across the school system.

Dr. Sherry Kraft (Incumbent)

Kraft, who’s lived in Charlottesville since 1976, was elected to the board in 2015. She’s a clinical psychologist who has sought to increase equity as well as mental health resources in city schools.

Lashundra Bryson Morsberger

Morsberger is campaigning to bridge the achievement gap for students of color. She endorsed all the demands of the Black Student Union at Charlottesville High School, and wants to redraw attendance zones to make city schools more racially and economically diverse.

Chris Meyer

Meyer, the executive director of the Local Energy Alliance Program, is running on a campaign of increasing teacher support, reconfiguring the city’s middle schools, and improving after-school care.

Albemarle County Sheriff

Chan Bryant (D) vs. Ronnie Roberts (I)

Bryant, the current chief deputy for the Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office, is squaring off against Roberts, a former Charlottesville police lieutenant who later served as chief of police for Louisa. Bryant, who is the first woman to hold the position of chief deputy, has received the endorsement of retiring Albemarle County Sheriff Chip Harding, and is vowing to expand community programs for children and elders. Roberts says he’ll tackle elder abuse, domestic violence, and gang activity, and reform mental health care.

Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney

Robert Tracci (R) vs. Jim Hingeley (D)

Republican incumbent Tracci, who was elected in 2015, is facing a progressive challenger in Hingeley, a longtime public defender and adjunct law professor at UVA. Tracci says he has worked to curb elder abuse, establish a mental health docket, and improve DNA collection practices. Hingeley says he’ll end cash bail, increase the use of diversion programs, and reduce the harm involved in marijuana misdemeanor charges.

Virginia State Senate

All the seats in the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates are up for re-election this year. With the razor-thin majority that Republicans hold in both bodies, flipping just a few seats across the commonwealth would give Democrats a powerful position in upcoming debates over redistricting, gun control, women’s health rights, and right-to-work laws.

17th District

Incumbent Bryce Reeves (R) is being challenged by Amy Laufer (D), a former Charlottesville School Board member. Reeves, a veteran, says he has fought to protect religious liberties, gun rights, and “the rights of the unborn,” and focused on reforming Virginia’s foster care system. Laufer, who was a teacher and Peace Corps volunteer, is championing increased teacher pay, universal preschool, abolishing the work mandate for Medicaid recipients, and universal background checks for firearm purchases.

25th District

Incumbent Creigh Deeds (D) is up against Elliot Harding (I), a criminal defense lawyer. Deeds, who’s represented the district since 2001, has been a champion of Medicaid expansion, and wants to increase teacher pay and support workforce training programs. Harding says he’s fighting against the status quo in Richmond, and vows to introduce criminal justice reforms and a Virginia data-privacy bill of rights.

Virginia House of Delegates

25th District

Business owner Chris Runion (R) is up against Jennifer Kitchen (D), a local community organizer. Runion wants to bring fiscal conservatism to Richmond to tackle what he sees as financial irresponsibility. Kitchen’s platform includes increasing rural broadband access, introducing a living wage, and fighting against the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines.

57th District

Economist and organizer Sally Hudson (D), an assistant professor at UVA, is running unopposed.

58th District

Incumbent Rob Bell (R) is being challenged by Dr. Elizabeth Alcorn (D), a dentist and small business owner. Bell, who has been in office since 2002, has introduced measures to bolster mental health support, and voted for Virginia’s Constitutional marriage amendment, which sought to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Alcorn wants to expand affordable and accessible health care coverage, increase Virginia teacher salaries, and support efforts for clean energy in the region.

59th District

Incumbent Matt Fariss (R) is being challenged by educator Tim Hickey (D), an instructional coordinator at Greene County Public Schools. Since taking office in 2011, Fariss, a farmer and small businessman, has advocated against abortion, gun control, same-sex marriage, tax hikes, and increased government regulation. In 2011, Fariss’ website stated that he believed capital punishment is appropriate “for those who take life.” Hickey seeks to protect reproductive and LGBTQ rights, instill universal background checks for gun purchases, provide universal health care, and expand rural broadband, among other goals.

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I reached out to Bea to ask her how she would have voted for the installation of a 135′ cell tower with four radiation emitters on top right behind the stony point elementary school playground. I was surprised when she responded with contact info for someone at the county and told me he could provide me with more information. Does he know how you would vote? was my response. It took some time and some prodding for Bea to get up to speed on the subject and finally provide me with an answer on how she would have voted. I… Read more »