Waynesboro and Augusta County voters will be asked to help decide who will be candidates this November in two statehouse races when they go to the polls in Tuesday’s Republican primary election.
At stake will be the GOP nominations for Virginia’s 24th Senatorial District and the 20th House District. There is no Democratic primary because the party’s nominations for the state Senate and House of Delegates already have been determined.
"The Waynesboro Republican Committee is all about GOTV — Get Out The Vote," said an energized Ken Adams, Waynesboro GOP Committee chairman, speaking on Monday afternoon.
Adams said committee members were busy calling and talking to voters in advance of the primary as part of the get-out-the-vote effort. The primary, he said, is one in a series of connected elections that the committee sees as "an ascending staircase" culminating in the 2020 presidential election.
On Tuesday, Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Mount Solon, will be challenged by Tina Freitas of Culpeper County in the 24th District. Hanger is seeking a seventh four-year term for the seat he has held since winning the office in 1995.
The district consists of Waynesboro, Staunton and Augusta, Greene and Madison counties, and parts of Rockingham and Culpeper counties.
The winner of Tuesday’s primary will face Democrat Annette Hyde of Madison County during the Nov. 5 general election.
This will be the second straight election cycle in which Hanger faces a primary challenge. In 2015, he easily defeated two challengers for the GOP nomination, besting Daniel Moxley and current Augusta Supervisor Marshall Pattie, winning more than 60 percent of the vote.
The Republican candidate also will face a general election opponent for the first time since 2007, when Hanger defeated two challengers on the ballot, including Democrat David Cox, and won more than 65 percent of the vote.
Freitas, the wife of Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, accuses Hanger of failing to uphold conservative principles and is especially critical of his vote to expand Medicaid coverage to as many as 400,000 low-income Virginians.
For his part, Hanger says that while he describes himself as a conservative, he’s received support from a broad coalition of Republicans, independents and moderate Democrats who appreciate his willingness to focus on issues important to his constituents and “not get caught up in the extreme political polarization.”
Voters living in Waynesboro, Staunton and parts of Augusta County also will be choosing the Republican nominee in the 20th House District. The seat, which also includes Highland County and parts of Nelson County, is now held by retiring Del. Richard “Dickie” Bell, R-Staunton.
John Avoli of Staunton and David Bourne of Augusta County will vie to become the GOP candidate in November to replace Bell, who is stepping down after serving five terms in the House of Delegates. The winner will face Waynesboro Democrat Jennifer Lewis in the general election.
Avoli, who served on Staunton City Council from 1990 until 2006, was mayor of the city from 1992 until 2006. Bourne, who lives just outside the city limits of Staunton, operates Dave Bourne Bail Bonds Inc. in Verona, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m., said Augusta County Voter Registrar Connie Evans. Anyone in line to vote as of 7 p.m. will be allowed to cast a ballot, Evans said.
Under Virginia law, any registered voter may vote in a primary election.
Voters must present photo identification. Acceptable forms include a Virginia driver’s license or Department of Motor Vehicles photo ID, U.S. passport; employer of college-issued ID, other U.S. or state government-issued IDs and a Virginia voter photo ID. A more detailed list can be found on the Virginia Department of Elections website, www.elections.virginia.gov/index.html .
For more information, contact the Augusta County Registrar’s Office at 245-5656 or online at www.co.augusta.va.us/government/voter-registration.