Republican Chris Billias has been elected Commonwealth’s Attorney for Lexington and Rockbridge County.
Billias said his opponent, Independent Joshua Elrod, called him to concede defeat.
“I appreciate this moment,” Billias said, “and I will do the very best I can.”
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Billias captured 56 percent of the vote to Elrod’s 44 percent.
But Elrod beat Billias in Lexington, 60 percent to 40 percent.
Billias is the chief deputy under retiring Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert “Bucky” Joyce, who threw his support behind Billias. Some viewed Billias as essentially an incumbent.
Elrod has been an attorney in Lexington at Mann, Vita and Elrod law firm since 2001. He has been involved in many criminal defense cases but has never been a prosecutor.
Elrod is the son of Lexington City Mayor Mimi Elrod, an active fund-raiser for Democratic candidates, and former president of Washington and Lee University John Elrod. The candidate has been involved in Democratic politics although, like Billias, he downplays any political affiliation in his campaign.
He is not new to the political scene. In 2011, also as an Independent, Elrod challenged Joyce for the commonwealth’s attorney position. Joyce won with 63 percent of the vote. Elrod received 37 percent.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney job is to prosecute felony charges in the City of Lexington and Rockbridge County.
Both candidates say politics should not be part of the job. They did, however, air their differences at a debate on Oct. 7, sponsored by the W&L Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.
There are almost 14,000 registered voters in Rockbridge County and almost 4,000 in the City of Lexington. These residents can choose from 17 different polling stations throughout the county and one in Lexington proper.
This election does not include Buena Vista because it has its own Commonwealth’s Attorney and court.