Virginia’s 24th House District is becoming vacant after Delegate Ben Cline (R-Rockbridge) won his congressional election with 60 percent of the vote. Congressman-elect Cline is set to officially resign effective December 18, 2018, with a special election to fill his seat that same day. In a firehouse-style primary this weekend, Rockbridge County Supervisor Ronnie Campbell, pulled ahead of business owner Catie Austin-Brown, Amherst County Supervisor Jimmy Ayers, and Rockbridge County Supervisor Jay Lewis, winning the nomination by one vote.
Campbell will face Democratic challenger Christian Worth in next month’s special election for the seat in western Virginia.
An Augusta County native with a degree in Criminal Justice from East Tennessee State University and a degree in risk management from Virginia Commonwealth University, he then spent 25 years as a Virginia State Trooper, first in Northern Virginia before transferring to Rockbridge County. In 1996, he was elected to the Rockbridge County School Board, serving for 10 years, five of which were as chairman. He retired from the Virginia State Police in 2003.
One year after becoming an active member of the Rockbridge Area Republican Party, in 2012, Campbell was elected as the South River District Representative on the Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors, serving as chairman for his first two years on the board, where he is currently in the third year of his second elected term. He sits on various committees and boards such as the Rockbridge Area Network Authority (RANA), the Virginia Horse Center, the Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Board, Solid Waste Committee, and the Personnel Policy Committee.
Campbell says on his campaign website that he is the candidate with “more experience, dedication and loyal commitment to conservatism.”
The former law enforcement officer said that his “record as a fiscal conservative…exercis[ing] fiscal and budgetary restraint,” will guide him in the General Assembly.
“I believe faith in God is essential to the moral fiber of our Nation. I also believe all individuals are entitled to equal rights, justice and opportunities as citizens of a free society. I will promote and protect free enterprise and fight to eliminate unconstitutional government interference,” he added.
Constituents of Amherst, Bath, Rockbridge, and southern Augusta counties and the cities of Buena Vista and Lexington will vote on December 18 after a “Writ of Election” was initiated by Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) on November 13. Speaker Cox explained in a news release, “this year’s calendar and Delegate Cline’s offer to step down early affords us the opportunity to have a special election sooner. This is very efficient and practical timeline.”
The deadline to file to vote in the election is Wednesday, December 12.
The 24th House District has been a Republican stronghold for years, with the seat likely to remain under the one-member GOP majority in the House of Delegates.