Two Republican primaries of local interest — Virginia House of Representatives Districts 22 and 24 — went to the incumbents.
The Republican nomination for the Virginia House of Representatives District 22, Incumbent Delegate Kathy Byron, R-Bedford, won over political newcomer Isaiah Knight. The district covers Lynchburg and the counties of Bedford, Campbell and Franklin.
Byron won the nomination with 79 percent of the votes. Byron, who co-owns B&B Presentations, has held the seat since 1998.
In a statement published on Facebook, Byron wrote, “I am humbled and honored to have been chosen as the Republican nominee for another term representing the people of Bedford, Campbell, Franklin, and Lynchburg.
“With their votes, Republicans in the 22nd District reaffirmed my service and my consistent conservative record of representing them in Richmond by an overwhelming margin. For that, I am deeply grateful.”
Byron thanked her fellow Republican nominees for their support in her campaign, as well as the elected officials who provided their endorsements.
“Now I look forward to focusing on the fall campaign,” she wrote, where she will face Democrat Greg Eaton.
In House District 24, Del. Ronnie Campbell, R-Rockbridge, comfortably took the nomination with 2,089 votes, or 87.4%, over challenger Mark Reed, who had 299 votes, or 12.5%.
Campbell, who is seeking his second term, had 91.6% of the vote in Amherst County and was 71% or much higher in carrying Augusta, Bath and Rockbridge counties and the cities of Lexington and Buena Vista. In a phone interview, he said he is excited to have the GOP’s backing in returning to Richmond and help in the fight to turn the state legislature back over to Republican leadership.
“My campaign was based on my record and that’s where it stayed,” Campbell said, describing his stances as highly conservative, adding he is among the strongest supporters of First and Second Amendment rights.
He was one of three Republican lawmakers removed from committees in January in response to a letter they sent to former Vice President Mike Pence asking him to not accept Virginia’s electoral vote in the 2020 presidential election. Campbell said in a phone interview Tuesday Democrats violated the Constitution with election laws in place and he “just didn’t roll over” in addressing House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn’s decision to remove him from the Courts of Justice committee.
A retired state trooper, he said watching House and Senate Democrats “destroy law enforcement” with regulations the past few years has been the worst experience of his life. “Every day they were attacking law enforcement,” Campbell said.
He said it’s paramount to preserve qualified immunity, a legal defense for law enforcement, adding if it’s done away with officers will leave the profession in droves and “you can’t blame them.” Campbell said he’s for increasing pay for police officers, describing what many of them make as “ridiculous,” and also lamented what he described as a left-leaning agenda being forced on students in public schools.
“We have to take Virginia back, that’s the bottom line,” Campbell said. “This radical agenda they’re pushing is going to destroy the country and the state if we don’t get it turned around.”
Campbell is set to face Amherst resident Sam Soghor, who is running as the Democratic candidate. Soghor said ensuring students have reliable internet access and helping farmers and entrepreneurs take full advantage of legalized marijuana, a new state measure soon taking effect, are among his priorities. Soghor said he wants to represent the needs and concerns of all the people of the 24th so that they get the best representation in Richmond.
“If we're going to bring the 24th boldly into the future we must do it together. We're all in this together and I want to find our common ground and represent our shared values of kindness and determination,” Soghor said. “Our way forward is through those values and I look forward to listening and leading with compassion and strength.”
Carrie J. Sidener contributed.