Election fields in Wise, Lee counties continue to grow

Mike Still • Updated Apr 23, 2019 at 11:56 AM

Incumbent Commonwealth’s Attorneys in Lee and Wise counties are seeking their parties’ nomination as the deadline for getting on the November ballot approaches.

Lee County Commonwealth’s Attorney and Democrat Fuller Cridlin announced Thursday that he would seek the nomination to run for a second term. In Wise County, first-term incumbent Republican Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp III announced Monday that he became the official county Republican candidate after being the only person to file to run for nomination.

Lee County General Registrar Patsy Burchett on Monday said that Cridlin was the only constitutional office candidate who had filed paperwork with her office, although the filing deadline for the Nov. 5 general election is June 11 at 7 p.m.

Several incumbents and newcomers have publicly announced their candidacies on the Lee County GOP Facebook pages in recent weeks. Sheriff Gary Parsons is running for nomination for a seventh term.

In a three-way contest for the GOP nomination for county treasurer, Susie Osborne, Cathy Wilder and District 2 county Supervisor Nathan Cope have publicly announced seeking the treasurer nomination.

Incumbent Lee County Treasurer Chris Jones publicly announced in February that he will seek nomination for a third term.

For the Lee County Board of Supervisors, Republican incumbent supervisors District 1’s Robert Smith, District 4’s Charles Slemp Jr., and District 5’s D.D. Leonard have announced their intent to run again. Sidney Kolb is seeking the GOP nomination to succeed Nathan Cope for the District 2 supervisor’s seat.

Lee County Republicans will hold their mass meeting for nominations on Saturday at 9 a.m. at Lee High School in Jonesville.

Burchett said that two candidates had filed papers for run for school board: incumbent Rob Hines for District 2 and Vera Ely running for the District 4 seat held by Ty Harber.

School board races in Virginia are nonpartisan.

On the Democratic side, Cridlin and District 3 Supervisor Larry Mosley met the party deadline to file for consideration at the May nominating caucus, party Chair Roberta Thacker-Oliver said Monday.

Burchett said that J.J. Barker has filed paperwork to run as an independent against Mosely for the District 3 school board seat.

In Wise County, Republicans will hold a firehouse primary June 1 at 9 a.m. at Norton Elementary School to determine its county candidates lineup.

For the sheriff’s race, Sheriff’s Col. Grant Kilgore has been endorsed by retiring Sheriff R.J. Oakes, with Coeburn Police Chief Scott Brooks and former Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tim McAfee contesting Kilgore.

Wise County Democratic Chair and county Commissioner of Revenue Doug Mullins said that the party as of Monday is fielding two candidates for constitutional offices: Jake Elkins for sheriff and Mullins for his post.

Mullins said that county Democratic Party members voted last year not to endorse specific candidates in the coming election but rather candidates who support policies compatible with Democratic principles.

“We’re not personality driven,” Mullins said. “We’re policy based.”

Mullins said that District 1 county Supervisor Fred Luntsford and District 2 Supervisor Steve Bates would be compatible with county party principles.

Wise County General Registrar Allison Robbins on Monday said that, besides Luntsford and Bates, the District 3 seat held by incumbent J.H. Rivers and Supervisor Chair Dana Kilgore’s District 4 seat are up for election in November.

Robbins said no candidate has yet filed paperwork with her office.

“That’s not unusual for this time of year,” Robbins said.

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