In addition to previously announced Democratic and Republican nominees for area statehouse races, two independent candidates qualified for the Nov. 5 ballot — Janice Allen of Rockingham County, who is running for delegate in the 25th House District, and B. Eli Fishpaw, a Lexington resident seeking the 24th House seat.
Allen will be in a three-way race to replace Del. Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave, who chose to run for Augusta County clerk of court and forgo re-election to a 13th House term. Jennifer Kitchen, a Craigsville Democrat, and Rockingham County Republican Chris Runion also are running for the 25th House seat.
The district represents parts of Augusta, Albemarle and Rockingham counties.
Fishpaw also will be in a three-way race, running against Del. Ronnie Campbell, R-Raphine, and Democrat Christian Worth of Lexington. The 24th House District represents parts of Augusta and Amherst counties, all of Bath and Rockbridge counties and the cities of Buena Vista and Lexington.
Campbell, a former Rockbridge County supervisor, defeated Worth in a special election last December to fill the vacancy created by Ben Cline’s election in November to Congress representing Virginia’s 6th District.
Fishpaw, a Rockbridge County architect, ran for the 18th House seat in 1997, losing to Creigh Deeds, a Democrat who has since been elected to the state Senate in the 25th District, according to the Virginia Department of Elections. The department indicates Fishpaw ran as an independent, but Green Party of Virginia online records indicate he was a member of the Greens during that election.
Attempts to reach Fishpaw for comment were unsuccessful.
In an email response, Allen said she intends to kick off her campaign next month.
In 2008, Allen finished third behind former U.S. Rep. Goodlatte, a Roanoke Republican, and Democratic candidate Sam Rasoul in the 6th District contest.
In 2016, running as Janice Allen Boyd, she challenged Republican Howard Morgan Griffith for the 9th Congressional District seat, which represents much of Southwest Virginia, according to the Roanoke Times. Congressional candidates are not required by the U.S. Constitution to live in the district in which they run, only in the state.
During that race, she was described by the Times as being “pro-life, pro-guns, pro-coal,” who supported the platform of then-presidential nominee Donald Trump.
A Valley native, Allen said she was educated in Rockingham County schools and attended Bridgewater College. According to Allen, she earned a master’s in urban planning from Virginia Tech.
Allen, who has worked as a residential and commercial real estate broker in Northern Virginia and Rockingham County, previously worked in various government roles, including as a planner assisting Bridgewater, Mount Crawford, Grottoes and Fairfax, according to her statement.
Party nominees automatically gain a spot on the general election ballot, but independent candidates for the House of Delegates must file a petition with the signatures of 125 eligible voters in the district in which they are running to qualify.
The ballot only became official following the June 24 certification of the results of the June 11 Democratic and Republican primaries, and publicly released Monday by the Department of Elections.
Every seat in the 100-member House of Delegates and 40-member state Senate are up for election this year. Republicans hold slim majorities in both chambers.
The GOP’s two-seat advantage in the Senate narrowed to a 20-19 edge when Frank Wagner, a Virginia Beach Republican, resigned his seat to take a post in Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration. In the House, the Republican margin increased by one to 51-48 with the resignation of Del. Matthew James, D-Portsmouth, who also took a job with the administration.
Voters in Waynesboro, Staunton and Augusta County will help decide two other statehouse races — the 24th Senate and 20th House district seats.
Del. Richard “Dickie” Bell, R-Staunton, announced his retirement from the 20th after serving five terms, ensuring another new face in next year’s General Assembly. John Avoli, a Staunton Republican, will vie with Waynesboro Democrat Jennifer Lewis for the 20th House seat.
Incumbent Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Mount Solon, will be opposed by Democrat Annette Hyde of Madison County in the 24th Senate.
State Senate terms are four years and House terms are two.
City clerk of court
While every constitutional office in Augusta County — clerk of court, treasurer, commissioner of revenue, commonwealth’s attorney and sheriff — will be voted on this year, only Waynesboro’s clerk of court term expires in 2019. Nicole Briggs, running unopposed as an independent candidate, is seeking a third eight-year term in the office, which she first won election to in 2003
Absentee voting for the general election begins Sept. 20 and the last day to register to vote or update an existing registration is Oct. 15.