by Shawn Nowlin
It’s almost time for Roanoke voters to decide who will serve on the council and represent the Star City in Congress.
On the November 8 ballot will be three races: Democrat Jennifer Lewis vs. incumbent Republican Ben Cline to represent Virginia’s 6th Congressional District, nine candidates running for three council seats, and two candidates running in a special election to fill the remaining two years of former Councilman Robert Jeffrey’s term.
Early voting, which began on Sept. 24 and will last through Nov. 5, is an option for all eligible Roanoke voters. On Election Day, polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Nationally, the 2022 midterms will determine which party controls the Senate and House of Representatives. While all 435 House seats will be contested, in the Senate, just 35 out of 100 seats are up for grabs.
Tyler Richards says he is most interested in the Lewis versus Cline race, explaining, “Ben is one of the most conservative members of Congress. While I think he has done a decent job overall, I think that Jennifer can be far more effective on Capital Hill.”
Eleven local candidates are seeking election or reelection to the council. This time around, nine are running for three seats. In addition to Peter Volosin, the Democrats in the race are incumbents Vivian Sanchez-Jones and Joe Cobb. Maynard Keller, Nick Hagen, and Dalton Baugess are the Republicans running while David Bowers, Jamaal Jackson, and Preston Tyler are running as Independents.
Following his conviction for obtaining money under false pretenses, the council voted to forfeit Jeffrey’s seat in March. After Roanoke City Council Attorney Tim Spencer attempted to demonstrate that Jeffrey was still a council member, Presiding Judge Onzlee Ware upheld the forfeiture. Either Republican Peg McGuire or Democrat Luke Priddy will fill the remaining two years of Jeffrey’s term.
Unlike many cities in Virginia, Roanoke has a diverse population. Nevertheless, voters, regardless of community, are not a monolith. Some vote for who has the most name recognition. Others value experience above all. Last month, Senator Mark Warner, D-Va., visited Roanoke to encourage locals to vote in November.
When fed-up male and female Roanoke residents of all ages hit the streets over the summer to protest the Supreme Court overturning Roe V. Wade, many of the aforementioned candidates stood side-by-side with their constituents.
All signs point to most of the elections being competitive. To get a better understanding of each council candidate, voters are encouraged to visit their respective websites and social media pages. Regardless of who wins on Nov. 8, moving forward, voters will still have the same question: Will the winners work together to effect the change that ensures a more prosperous, safe, and balanced city for all?