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Forest business owner announces primary challenge to Republican Del. Kathy Byron
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Forest business owner announces primary challenge to Republican Del. Kathy Byron

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Del. Kathy Byron and Isaiah Knight

Del. Kathy Byron, R-Bedford, and Isaiah Knight

ROANOKE — A Bedford County Republican activist announced he plans to challenge Del. Kathy Byron, R-Bedford, in a primary contest next year.

Isaiah “Izzy” Knight, 33, who leans libertarian, announced his candidacy Friday before a group of supporters in Forest.

“I don’t know about you, but I have had enough of the Richmond radicals, and it is time we the people stand up and take back Virginia,” Knight said. “I pledge to restore the Second Amendment in Virginia, fight to preserve the lives of the unborn and lead in the effort for school choice to stop the socialism in our schools.”

Elected in 1997, Byron is one of the longest-serving members of the current House of Delegates. She’s never faced a primary challenger. There were rumors last year that she would retire as a delegate, but she said this week she planned to seek reelection.

“As the Republican woman with the most seniority in the General Assembly, I am proud of the consistent conservative record I have accumulated on life, on taxes, and on guns,” she wrote in a statement. “Working diligently to represent the needs of our region, I am one of the General Assembly’s foremost advocates for extending broadband, reducing regulation to encourage business growth and attract new businesses, and expanding workforce development.”

Byron was elected last year to the House Republican Caucus Chair, the first woman to hold that post.

Knight owns a media marketing company. He serves as director of the Peaks of Otter Soil and Water Conservation District. He serves on the board of directors for the Virginia Coalition for Open Government, and he’s known for making regular use of public record laws to obtain government records.

He also served two terms on the Young Republican Federation of Virginia Executive Committee.

The 22nd House of Delegates district includes parts of Bedford, Campbell and Franklin counties as well as a part of Lynchburg. A new map of the legislature’s districts are slated to be redrawn next year.

Knight didn’t mention Byron during his campaign announcement, focusing his message more on battling the Democrats that have the majority in the General Assembly and executive branch.

“Northam and his pack of far-left radicals have tried to destroy the Virginia we all love,” Knight said. “We do not need politics as usual, rather we need champions for life, liberty and private property to rip out every single law passed in 2020 and instead bring freedom and liberty back home here in Virginia.”

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