When voters cast their ballots on Tuesday for their representatives in the General Assembly, control of the House of Delegates and Senate is on the line.
Virginia has been trending Democratic in recent years, giving Hillary Clinton its 13 electoral college votes in 2016 and elevating Democrats to the top three state offices — governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general — but Republicans have held onto control of the House and Senate by slim margins.
Races voters in Shenandoah and Warren counties are paying attention to are not widely considered competitive but their outcomes, either way, could serve as important victories or defeats for the next General Assembly.
In the Senate:
Shenandoah and Warren counties fall into Senate District 26 along with portions of Rockingham County, Harrisonburg, Page County and Rappahannock County.
Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, is the incumbent senator and has represented the district since 2004. When he is not serving in Richmond, Obenshain practices law in Harrisonburg, where he founded the Obenshain Law Group.
According to his website, Obenshain says his primary focuses in Richmond are on issues relating to property rights, school choice, family values, government reform and public safety.
Challenging Obenshain for the second time in as many cycles is April Moore, D-Basye, who retired from a career in the nonprofit sector.
Moore has campaigned on a platform of representing the people of her district rather than “giant corporations like Dominion Power,” according to her website. One of her primary campaign issues is climate change and moving Virginia to develop infrastructure that is better geared for renewable energy.
House District 15:
Since 2006, Todd Gilbert, R-Mount Jackson, has represented voters in Shenandoah, Page, Warren and Rockingham counties.
An attorney by training, Gilbert has campaigned on a traditionally conservative platform of preventing new taxes, protecting the Second Amendment and promoting positions and legislation opposed to abortion.
For the first time in 10 years, Gilbert faces a challenger for his seat in the House of Delegates. Beverly Harrison, a Democrat from Woodstock, is running as a political novice who was spurred on by her involvement with a campaign to have the Equal Rights Amendment ratified last year.
Harrison’s professional background includes working as a consultant for childcare development projects and as a health educator.
Running as an outsider, Harrison is campaigning on a platform of supporting local businesses and labor unions; increasing broadband access and creating technical training schools.
House District 18:
Michael Webert, R-Marshall, has represented Fauquier, Warren, Culpeper and Rappahannock counties since 2012.
Webert is one of the few professional farmers in the House of Delegates. Webert and his wife are also co-owners of a marketing and consulting firm for livestock breeders.
Webert’s platform includes protecting the Second Amendment, reducing taxes, loosening restrictions on small businesses and protecting unborn children.
Laura Galante, D-Marshall, has led an insurgent campaign in a deep-red district, doubling Webert’s fundraising efforts throughout the campaign.
Galante received her law degree from the Catholic University of America and has worked in cybersecurity and cyber intelligence fields. Her campaign’s tagline, “The Future is Rural” encompasses her platform that focuses on creating job opportunities for people living in rural communities, conserving land and expanding access to high-speed internet.
House District 29:
Overlapping with Frederick and Winchester City, voters in parts of Warren County are represented by Chris Collins, R-Winchester.
Collins, an attorney, moved up the ranks to the statehouse after serving on the Frederick County Board of Supervisors beginning in 2009. In 2015, he won the Republican primary to run unopposed for the General Assembly seat.
During the 2019 General Assembly session, Collins was the chief patron on bills supporting expanding the definition of “law enforcement officer,” prohibiting using a cellphone while driving and keeping sex offenders from being allowed to operate a taxicab.
Irina Khanin, D-Winchester, a child-advocate attorney and immigrant from the former Soviet Union, is challenging Collins.
Building off of her personal life and career, Khanin’s platform includes expanding access to affordable health care options, supporting public schools and improving Interstate 81.
Voters can check which representatives will appear on their ballot online at https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov