Statewide Offices Face Viable Primary Challengers

It is the year for the re-election of Falls Church’s representative to the Virginia House of Delegates, a role the young Del. Marcus Simon has filled with great distinction since taking the slot over from the late Del. Jim Scott in 2014.

But this year, Simon’s power in his district is strong to the point that, unlike the cases facing most of his Democratric colleagues in the region, he will not have a challenger in the upcoming June 8 Democratic primary, so competition for his 53rd District seat will simply not be on the ballot. Simon will have to wait until November, when he will be challenged by Republican Sarah White, chosen to be the GOP candidate at the GOP District convention in April.

On the other hand, other Democratic state delegate incumbents are facing challenges, and some of them formidable, in the fast-approaching June 8 primary, and the incumbents are working hard to nail down key endorsements to demonstrate they’ve been doing a good job in Richmond.One of those in Del. Kaye Kory of the 38th District, who after 11 years representing her Sleepy Hollow-centric district that borders on the City of Falls Church, is facing a stiff challenge from a former aide and Virginia General Assembly legislative director, Holly Hazard, an animal rights advocate.

Del. Kory scored a major endorsement Wednesday when Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, the House speaker, issued a strong statement of support, joining groups like the Sierra Club, Emily’s List, the League of Conservation Voters, Gov. Ralph Northam, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe and former U.S. Rep. Leslie Byrne to back her re-election. She is being backed because she is an experienced and trusted legislator.

She currently is chair of the Counties, Cities and Towns Committee and also serves on the Labor and Commerce, Public Safety and Finance committees.

Del. Filler-Corn is scheduled to show up in person to campaign for Del. Kory at a canvassing event this Saturday.
Kory’s challenger, on the other hand, has the backing of Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross.

 (Both Kaye and Gross have regular columns in the News-Press, and the News-Press has endorsed Kaye in the June 8 primary).

But the prospect of a serious primary challenge in the 38th District is just how Kory won the seat by upsetting long-standing incumbent Del. Bob Hull in 2009. Hull had served since 1992 when the district covered the City of Falls Church. In the redistricting of 2001, that district was moved just outside the city to its current location when Kaye “primaried” Hull to take over the seat.

Another key Democratic primary challenge is coming in the 49th District, which also abuts the City of Falls Church across the street from the Eden Center.

There, in the heavily-Hispanic district, Del. Lopez has held the office since 2012 and now faces an intra-party challenge from Karishma Mehta, a George Washington University grad and former pre-K teacher.

Her main endorsements come from Sunrise Virginia and the Democratic Socialists of Virginia.

Lopez on the other hand, has championed legislation creating the Virginia Housing Trust Fund, establishing the Small Business Investment Grant Fund, allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to preregister to vote, creating the Virginia LGBTQ+ Advisory Board, and raising the cap on nonresidential solar net metering in Virginia.

As the son of a formerly undocumented father from Venezuela, Lopez has been a leader in advocating for the rights of the immigrant and New American communities in Virginia.

 On the other side of the City of Falls Church, in the McLean area, Del. Kathleen Murphy is facing a primary challenge from Jennifer Adeli, and a little to the west, Del. Ken Plum is facing a primary challenge from Mary Barthelson.