By Anna Akins
Incumbent Republican Ben Cline easily survived a challenge from Democrat Ellen Arthur in the race for Virginia’s 24th District House seat. Arthur, a retired Lexington attorney, conceded before all precincts were reporting.
Cline, a popular six-term incumbent, had 65 percent of the votes. Arthur, a retired Lexington attorney running for public office for the first time, had 35 percent. Arthur carried Lexington, though, 58 percent to 42 percent.
Virginia’s 24th House District includes the cities of Lexington and Buena Vista, parts of Amherst and Augusta Counties and all of Bath and Rockbridge Counties.
Speaking to supporters at the Democratic headquarters on Nelson Street, Arthur said Cline was “very gallant and gentlemanly” to her and complimented the way they had conducted their campaigns.
“I have to say, there is not a thing about this campaign that I am ashamed of or feel that we should have done … any differently,” Arthur said.
The Virginia House of Delegates consists of 100 members elected for two-year terms. The Republican Party holds a wide majority in the House of Delegates, 67 to 33.
Arthur threw her hat into the ring because she said that she didn’t like the direction in which Virginia was headed.
She said that if she loses this race, voters should expect to see more of the same thing. She characterized that as being more focus on big business and less on the working class.
Arthur has centered her campaign on healthcare, jobs and energy.
She advocates for the expansion of Medicaid, claiming it would insure 400,000 Virginians and would add nearly 30,000 new jobs.
She is for increasing the state’s minimum wage and moving Virginia from fossil fuels toward more wind and solar projects.
Cline, on the other hand, said that the budget could not accommodate Medicaid expansion and an increase to the minimum wage. He said that doing so would pose drastic cuts to education and infrastructure funding.
He supports measures to develop alternative energy methods, but also supports coal, natural gas and offshore drilling.
Just yesterday, Arthur emailed her supporters urging them to bring three to five friends to the polls.
Virginia’s voting laws require voters to present an acceptable form of photo identification at the polls. Voters without a photo ID must cast a provisional ballot. They will have until noon on Friday, Nov. 6, to present proper identification to their area’s electoral board in order for their vote to be counted.