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Your voter's guide to the 2020 General Election

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Posted at 8:58 PM, Sep 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-22 21:03:43-04

RICHMOND, Va - The showdown for the White House between President Donald Trump (R) and former Vice President Joe Biden (D) dominates attention nationwide during campaign 2020. But below the top of the ticket, Virginia voters will decide on a host of key local elections, from Congressional seats to mayoral races to school board seats.

Interest in early voting is already at unprecedented levels, according to Virginia election officials. CBS 6 has compiled a candidates guide to the key races in Central Virginia so that voters have access to information on the people running for office in your community.

This guide is based off a final candidates lists from the Virginia Department of Elections. We’ve included links to the candidate’s website and social media channels so that voters can see for themselves the message each person is trying to convey.

If you need help registering to vote or casting an absentee ballot, click here for our CBS 6 voter guide. If you’re a fan of charts, graphs, and data, the non-partisan Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) is a great reference for voters.

NOTE: WTVR-CBS 6 covers news in the Richmond-Metro region, so we’re focusing this guide on races in our area. If you’re a Virginia voter looking for races in your community, visit the Department of Elections website.

NOTE: Candidates in local elections are listed in the order they appear on sample ballots.

United States Senate

  • Sen. Mark Warner (D, incumbent)
  • Daniel Gade (R)

Senator Warner is seeking his third term in the U.S. Senate, a seat he’s held the seat since 2008. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, one of the lead committees examining Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Warner has been outspoken about the need for greater regulation of social media and tech companies in reference to protecting users data and combatting disinformation.

Gade is a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army, who received two Purple Hearts for his service during a 20 year career in the military. His campaign lists protecting individual liberties and civil right, maintaining a strong national defense, and promoting the free market as priorities. Gade promises to work with Democrats to combat climate change through “market based solutions.”

In the 2014 midterm elections, Warner won the seat by less than a percentage point to Ed Gillespie in a race many political analysts at the time did not expect to be competitive. The context for the 2020 race is, of course, much different. Republicans have not won a U.S. Senate race in Virginia since 2002.

Warner holds a substantial lead in fundraising: $10.6 million to Gade’s $982,867 as of June 30th, according to VPAP. Most polling shows Warner with a significant lead, and Cook Political Report rates the race as likely not competitive.

Warner campaign website/Facebook/Twitter

Gade’s campaign website/Facebook/Twitter

U.S. House - District 7

  • Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D, incumbent)
  • Del. Nick Freitas (R)

Virginias 7th Congressional district includes voters in Chesterfield, Henrico, Spotsylvania, Culpepper, Louisa, Orange, Powhatan, Goochland, Ameila, and Nottoway.

Rep. Spanberger is seeking her second term in Congress, after becoming the first Democrat to win Virginia’s 7th since the late 1960’s. During her time in office, Spanberger has promoted her efforts to work across the aisle, including efforts to lower prescription drug prices and expand broadband access to rural portions of the district. A former CIA officer, Spanberger voted to impeach President Trump during the Ukraine scandal last year, saying the President abused his power and threatened national security.

Del. Nick Freitas is a U.S. Army veteran who has represented the 30th District in Virginia’s House of Delegates since 2016. Freitas has been seen as rising Republican star based off his vocal his support for 2nd Amendment rights and abortion restrictions and against what some conservatives say is a rise in socialism. Freitas ran in the 2018 Republican U.S. Senate primary but lost the nomination to Corey Stewart. He’s nearly been left off the ballot two years in a row in two different races after his campaign missed paperwork filing deadlines.

Given the voting history of Virginia’s 7th District, the Cook Political Report lists this race as a toss up, with Spanberger having a slight edge as the incumbent. Outside influence groups aligned with both parties have begun pouring millions of dollars into advertising for the race because of its expected competitiveness. When Spanberger took the seat in the 2018 midterms, voter turnout in the 7th District rivaled previous presidential election years.

Spanberger holds the fundraising edge: $4.9 million to Freitas’ $1.03 million as of June 30th, according to VPAP.

Spanberger website/Facebook/Twitter

Freitas website/Facebook/Twitter

U.S House District 4

  • Rep. Donald McEachin (D, incumbent)
  • Leon Benjamin (R)

Virginia’s 4th Congressional district includes voters in Richmond City, Chesapeake, Chesterfield, Henrico, Prince George, Suffolk, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Hopewell, Southampton, Colonial Heights, Sussex, Greensville, Surry, Charles City, and Emporia.

Rep. McEachin has held the seat since 2016. In recent years, McEachin has served on various committees focused on climate change, energy policies, and natural resources. His campaign website touts McEachin as a dedicated public servant focusing on equality for all Virginians, curbing gun violence, and increasing access to healthcare.

Leon Benjamin is the Senior Pastor fo New Life Harvest Church in Richmond and the current chairman of the Republican Party of Richmond City. Benjamin is an outspoken supporter of President Trump and served as an evangelical adviser to the White House.

Since court ordered redistricting in 2016 changed the district’s profile, the 4th has heavily favored Democrats. McEachin has won by double digits in both previous races for the seat. The Cook Political Report lists the district as “solid Democrat.”

McEachin has raised $657,704 to Benjamin’s $379,634 as of June 30th, accord to VPAP.

McEachin website/Facebook/Twitter
Benjamin website/Facebook/Twitter

U.S House District 1

  • Rep. Rob Wittman (R, incumbent)
  • Qasim Rashid (D)

Virginia’s 1st Congressional District includes voters in Prince William, Stafford, Hanover, James City County, Gloucester, Spotsylvania, Caroline, Fredericksburg, King George, New Kent, Westmoreland, King William, Fauquier, Northumbeland, Lancaster, Middlesex, Essex, Matthews, Richmond County, and King and Queen.
Rep. Wittman has represented the 1st district since 2007. He sits on the House Armed Services committee and Natural Resources committee. Wittman lists support for the military and reforming Congress among his top priorities. He has been critical of the budgetary process in Washington, sponsoring legislation that would block paychecks to members of Congress if they do not pass funding bills on time.

Rashid is a community activist and author, who earned a Law Degree from the University of Richmond. During the campaign, Rashid has been supportive of social justice movements across America and critical of the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic. His campaign team lists issues from rural broadband access to climate change to “dad jokes” on their website.

Wittman has won the seat easily each election since 2007, and the Cook Political Report lists the district as “solid Republican.”

As of June 30th, Wittman holds the fundraising lead: $1.1 million to $590,878 for Rashid, according to VPAP.

Wittman website/Facebook/Twitter

Rashid website/Facebook/Twitter

Mayor, City of Richmond

  • Kim Gray
  • Levar Stoney (incumbent)
  • Justin Griffin
  • Alexsis Rodgers
  • Tracey McLean
  • Michael Giblert

Five candidates are challenging Mayor Stoney, who is seeking a second term.
The procedure for electing a Mayor in Richmond is different than other local and state elections. A candidate must get the highest vote total in five of the nine city council districts to win outright on November 3rd. If no candidate secures a majority in five districts, the top two vote getters citywide move to a runoff election that would be held December 15th. The winner of at least five districts in the runoff is declared the winner. If both candidates in the runoff split an equal number of districts, the candidate with the most votes citywide is elected mayor.

Stoney won the seat in 2016 on election night, securing five districts and the popular vote citywide. The Stoney campaign team is basing his re-election bid off his response to the coronavirus pandemic, construction of new school buildings in traditionally Black and Brown neighborhoods, and making more affordable housing available to residents of low-income.

Gray currently represents the 2nd district on city council and is a former school board member. Public safety, education, and making city government more responsive to the needs of local businesses are listed as pillars of the her platform.

Griffiin is a lawyer and state government employee who entered the public sphere as a vocal opponent to the financing behind Stoney’s Navy Hill development project. Griffin is positioning his campaign on fixing city services, schools, and roadways instead of large economic projects.

Rodgers is a community activist and organizer, who currently serves as the state director for “Care in Action.” The former policy director for then Lt. Governor Ralph Northam entered the race over the summer following protests in Richmond over racial injustice and has outspoken against police tactics during demonstrations.

Tracy McLean is basing her campaign “changing the narrative” in the city of Richmond. McLean lists financial transparency and unified communities among her priorities on her campaign website.

Gilbert is an economist and former government employee promising to unite the community through thoughtful, inclusive, and equitable policies.

Stoney has raised the most money as of June 30th. VPAP breaks down the fundraising dollars as follows:

  • Stoney — $546,983
  • Gray — $255,151
  • Rodgers — $223,196
  • Griffin — $24,730
  • McLean — $24,730
  • Gilbert — not listed

Gray website/Facebook/Twitter

Stoney website/Facebook/Twitter

Griffin website/Facebook/Twitter

Rodgers website/Facebook/Twitter

McLean website/Facebook/Twitter

Gilbert website/Twitter

Richmond City Council District 1

Richmond City Council District 2

Richmond City Council District 3

Richmond City Council District 4

Richmond City Council District 5

Richmond City Council District 6

Richmond City Council District 7

Richmond City Council District 8

Richmond City Council District 9

Richmond School Board District 1

Richmond School Board District 2

Richmond School Board District 3

Richmond School Board District 4

Richmond School Board District 5

Richmond School Board District 6

Richmond School Board District 7

  • Cheryl Burke, the incumbent, is running unopposed

Richmond School Board District 8

Richmond School Board District 9

  • Nicole Jones is running unopposed

Petersburg Commonwealth Attorney

  • Tiffany Buckner

Petersburg City Council 2nd Ward

  • Darrin Hill (incumbent)
  • Marlow Jones Sr.

Petersburg City Council 4th Ward

  • Charles Cuthbert Jr. (incumbent)
  • Sam Jean
  • Marcus Squires

Petersburg City Council 6th Ward

  • Patrick Ingram
  • Annette Smith-Lee (incumbent)

Petersburg School Board 2nd Ward

  • Hal Miles is running unopposed

Petersburg School Board 4th Ward

  • Celeste Wynn is running unopposed

Petersburg School Board 6th Ward

  • Bernard Lundy Jr., the incumbent, is running unopposed

Amelia County Board of Supervisors District 1

  • David Felts Jr.
  • Jason Baird
  • Jeremy Snyder

Colonial Heights City Council

  • Robert “Bobby” Wade
  • Gregory Kochuba
  • Laura Poe
  • Dann Ferguson
  • Derward Roll-on
  • Michael Cherry

Colonial Heights School Board

  • Angie Woody
  • Lia Tremblay
  • Keith Kapinskis
  • Alfred Collins, IV

Emporia Mayor

  • Carolyn Carey
  • Mary Person (incumbent)

Emporia City Council District 2

  • Carol Mercer is running unopposed

Emporia City Council District 2

  • James Saunders, the incumbent, is running unopposed

Emporia City Council District 6

  • Cristobal Nieto
  • Dale Temple

Hopewell City Council Ward 4

  • Jasmine Gore
  • Ronnie Ellis Jr.
  • Lewis Shuster

Hopewell City Council Ward 5

  • Janice Denton
  • Brandon Howard
  • David Silverstro

Hopewell City Council Ward 6

  • Michael Whittington Sr.
  • Brenda Pelham