Democrats seek hopefuls to run for state seats

Democratic Party chapters in the region opened nominations for hopefuls who want to run for state offices in the next election.

The Shenandoah County Democratic Committee announced Monday that it is seeking nominees to run for the 26th District seat on the Virginia Senate and the 15th District in the House of Delegates.

The 26th Senate District covers all of Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren counties, Harrisonburg and part of Rockingham County. The 15th District of the House of Delegates covers all of Page and Shenandoah counties, and parts of Warren and Rockingham counties.

Democratic Party committees in Frederick and Warren counties also will be taking nominations for candidates for the state seats up for election in those jurisdictions. Warren County also is included in the 18th and 29th districts in the House of Delegates. Frederick County is included in the 27th District in the state Senate as well as the 10th, 29th and 33rd districts in the House of Delegates.

Local Democratic Party Committees formed separate panels to oversee the nominating process for the two districts. The nominating committees conduct the candidate search, interview applicants and manage the process.

Tony Dorrell, chairman of the Shenandoah County Democratic Party, spoke Monday about the nominating process.

“This is just the first step, trying to let people know this is going to happen and then, hopefully, get some responses so we can begin the meetings and interviews with people,” Dorrell said.

The county party leaders met last week to prepare the announcement and picked Dorrell to chair the nominating committee that will oversee the selection process.

“We always try to start early on [the state races] since it involves multiple jurisdictions,” Dorrell said.

Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, represents the 26th District in the state senate. Del. C. Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock, represents the 15th District in the House of Delegates.

Dorrell acknowledged that the Democratic Party hasn’t always nominated a candidate to run for state offices, nor have those hopefuls fared well in the election.

“But we take it seriously and if people are interested – and we’ve had some good candidates in the past,” Dorrell said. “We go all out and make it a legitimate campaign.”

The Democratic Party of Shenandoah County likely will announce next month the opening of nominations for candidates to run for local offices in the general election. The county party will conduct a separate nominating process for these offices. County voters will elect three members on the Board of Supervisors, three on the School Board, all constitutional offices and two seats on the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District.

Applicants for the nominations must be 21 years old, registered voters, and residents of the district for the office they are seeking. Potential applicants should contact their local Democratic Committees for more information:

Shenandoah County: Tony Dorrell at

Warren County: Chairwoman Molly Snyder at

Frederick County: Chairwoman Stephanie Vaughan at

Election Day is Nov. 3.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or

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