WAYNESBORO — On Saturday, voters in the 25th House District will choose the Republican party’s nominee for this November’s general election to succeed Del. R. Steven Landes, R-Weyers Cave.
Landes, who has held the seat since 1996, is forgoing re-election to a 13th two-year term to run for Augusta County clerk of court.
Albemarle County farmer Richard Fox, Augusta County Supervisor Marshall Pattie and Rockingham County businessman Chris Runion are running in a firehouse primary. Whoever wins will face Democrat Jenni Kitchen on Nov. 5.
In the firehouse primary — a party function and not a state-run election — voters will have limited polling locations. Balloting is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
District voters in Albemarle County can cast a ballot at the Crozet Library, and Rockingham County voters will vote at the Bridgewater Town Office.
In Augusta County, eligible voters include those who live in the 25th House District and cast ballots at precincts in Crimora, Dooms, Fishersville, Fort Defiance, New Hope, Verona, Weyers Cave and Wilson. The county’s sole voting location will be at the government center in Verona.
While primaries typically have low turnout, Rebecca Simmons, chairwoman of the Augusta County Republican Committee, is optimistic the three-way race will excite voters.
“Well, I think in this day and age, people are focused on elections more than ever. They’re trying to do better to stay informed, stay engaged,” said Simmons. “We have three really great candidates … and I expect it will be a great turnout.”
Simmons suggests voters come early.
“The doors will close at 4 p.m. We want to make sure everybody gets a chance to cast a vote,” she said.
Simmons said that although the party is in charge of the day’s polling, the firehouse primary essentially will be run as a state primary.
The party will use a list of registered voters supplied by the state Department of Elections to ensure they are in the correct district, she said. As with state-run elections, voters will be asked for government-approved photo identification.
One aspect of the firehouse primary is the party’s desire to limit it to Republicans. In Virginia, voters are not asked to register as a member of a party, and state-run primaries are open to all.
Simmons said voters will be asked Saturday to sign a statement that they agree with Republican values and also will support the winning candidate in the general election.
“There’s nothing that we can do to endorse anything, but we try to ensure someone from another party doesn’t try to skew the votes,” she said.