Voters in all nine Central Virginia localities returned their incumbent state senators to office in Tuesday’s balloting.
The closest race was in the 17th district, which includes portions of Albemarle County, where incumbent Republican Bryce E. Reeves, defeated former Charlottesville City School Board member and Democratic challenger Amy J. Laufer.
Reeves netted 51.59% of the vote compared to Laufer’s 48.11%, with all but one Goochland County precinct reporting at press time in the district that includes Spotsylvania, Orange, Culpeper, and Louisa counties as well as the city of Fredericksburg.
Reeves is a former U.S. Army officer who has been in office since 2011. Laufer is a former middle school teacher and Peace Corps volunteer.
Reeves won 34,478 votes compared to Laufer’s 32,151, although Laufer took 69.9% of the vote in Albemarle County, according to preliminary tallies by the state Department of Elections. Laufer also took 65% of the Fredericksburg city vote but lost in Spotsylvania, Orange, Culpeper, Louisa and Goochland counties.
With more than 97% of precincts reporting at press time, longtime incumbent Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, handily defeated independent challenger Elliott Harding, taking more than 67% of the vote in the 25th district, which includes part of Albemarle County plus Nelson County and Charlottesville.
Harding is a Charlottesville attorney and native. Deeds was first elected to the senate seat in 2001 and lost a bid for governor in 2009.
With 98% of precincts counted in the 22nd District, Incumbent Republican Mark Peake lead Democrat challenger Dakota S. Claytor 62% to 37%, and will continue to represent residents of Greene and Madison counties.
Peake, a Lynchburg lawyer and former Commonwealth Transportation Board member, won a 2017 special election to fill the seat vacated by Republican Tom Garrett, who was elected to the 5th District of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2016.
The election was the first for Claytor, a freelance hair stylist and private music teacher.
First elected to the state senate in 1996, Republican incumbent Emmett W. Hanger Jr. will return to the 24th district seat to represent voters in Louisa, Buckingham and Fluvanna counties. Hanger appears to have won 71% of the ballots cast compared to Democrat challenger Annette H. Hyde’s 28%.
It was Hyde’s first general election, though she ran for nomination to the House of Delegates in 2017, losing in the party convention.