(The Center Square) — The Virginia Public Access Project, a nonprofit organization that discloses campaign finance, election results, lobbying and other elements of Virginia politics, has deemed House districts 82, 21 and 57 the most competitive in next month’s General Assembly general election.
These districts exhibit the narrowest partisan advantage based on the past two elections, according to VPAP’s ranking methodology.
The city of Petersburg, and Dinwiddie and Prince George counties comprise most of District 82. Republican candidate Kim Taylor is the incumbent there, but she hasn’t served in office for long since January 2022. She squares off against Democrat Kimberly Pope Adams.
Historically, it’s been a strongly Democratic community that has suffered from near bankruptcy and high crime, but Youngkin took by 2.1% in 2021 and established the Partnership for Petersburg once in office.
Youngkin promised to bring state resources to bear – in partnership with 37 other organizations like Bon Secours and Dominion Energy – to improve Petersburg’s economy, community, education, health, public safety and transportation systems.
In her 2021 election to office, Taylor triumphed by just 512 of 33,114 ballots cast. November’s election will reveal whether Republicans have gained ground in Petersburg – either by Taylor’s efforts, Youngkin’s activism or both – or if the city will return to its traditionally Democratic roots.
Both candidates are familiar with public service. Before that, Stirrup served as the Gainesville District Supervisor and chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). Thomas served on active duty with the Marine Corps. for five years and, during the pandemic, with the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps.
Stirrup has emphasized the issues of public safety, lower taxes, parents in education and “unchecked data center developers” – a local issue that has spurred repeated public backlash; Thomas has pledged to advocate for veterans, the LGBTA+ community and Afghani refugees.
Stirrup made headlines in August when The Washington Post reported on a recording it had obtained of him saying he would support a total abortion ban, though abortion has not been a focus of his campaign and, before the article’s release, he had publicly expressed support of a 15-week ban.
Owen is the son of Bill Owen, who pursued and won a delegate seat in his retirement. David has been active in local and state building associations for a couple of decades, bringing him into contact with local government and General Assembly committees; he is now following in his father’s footsteps and running for office after selling his business.
Gibson is a nurse practitioner and has served in the medical field, providing home-based care in the Richmond community for 15 years.
Gibson wants to use the insight she says her professional experiences have given her into the “intersectionality of health with economic stability, education, environmental justice, discrimination, social support systems, and more” to shape public policy and legislation.
News broke in September that Gibson and her husband had streamed sex acts online, requesting tips for certain acts. Republicans have continued to draw attention to Gibson’s Internet misdeeds, recently circulating mailers to thousands of voters.