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Pittsylvania County Elections – Update #1 – (Part #2)

We’ll wrap up our first look at Pittsylvania County’s upcoming November elections in this article. In the first part, we looked at four of the Board of Supervisors races, and we’ll cover the other three districts and the constitutional offices here.

Staunton River, Tunstall and Westover districts are up next…

Staunton River District: Incumbent supervisor Elton Blackstock was appointed to fill the seat of the late Marshall Ecker then won the special election for the rest of Ecker’s term. He made his way up to vice-chairman by supporting Brenda Bowman’s resurgence, then decided not to run for reelection. Curtis Arthur & Chris Dalton both filed for the election, then Blackstock changed his mind and it’s now a three-way race. Blackstock has his eyes on becoming Sheriff Blackstock in the 2019 elections if Mike Taylor retires, so that adds a little more interest to this race.

Blackstock has done a very good job in his first term and he’s well liked in his district. Challenger Curtis Arthur is on the county’s Planning Commission and owns his own small business in Hurt. Challenger Chris Dalton also owns his own small business in the sycamore area. Both of the challengers have the qualifications needed for the office, so that’s not a concern. Three-way races combined with a strong & popular incumbent usually keeps the incumbent in office, but weird things can happen when you’ve got a relatively small number of voters. Unless Blackstock makes serious mistakes, he should be able to get a majority of the votes in the district. As of now, SouthsideCentral is giving this race a LIKELY – BLACKSTOCK rating.

Tunstall District: This one is going to be the most fun to watch. Incumbent Tim Barber danced around deciding to run for another term for a long while and that was enough to get Gracie Mays to declare as a candidate. Barber finally decided to run and so we’ve got a contested election. Barber has had a colorful few terms on the board, having stuck his foot in his mouth on more than one occasion. Challenger Mays starts this race as being well-known as the face of Chatmoss Cable’s customer service and the host of their Crossing Pittsylvania TV show. Mays can’t knock off Barber just by saying “I’m not Tim Barber”, so she’s going to have to work for her support & votes. I’ve got a strong feeling that this race will be decided by the minority voters, and that’s where Mays has an advantage. Tim Barber is highly vulnerable in this election, and we’re giving this race a LEANS – MAYS rating due to the factors that we’ve talked about.

Westover District: This is the seat that nobody seemed to want until the last few weeks before the deadline. Incumbent Coy Harville isn’t standing for reelection and a lot of people said that they wanted to run. There was one aborted campaign, and then finally two challengers filed the paperwork to qualify for the ballot. Roy Ford & Ronald Scearce are on the ballot. Ford is active in the local Democratic party and Scearce is active in the local Republican party. Ford filed as a Democratic candidate while Scearce is running as an independent. That won’t affect much in such a small local race, but extra financial assistance may flow to Ford for his party labeling. With no incumbent and two qualified candidates, this race starts off with a TOSSUP rating.

Now let’s jump to the constitutional offices…

Mike Taylor is running unopposed for Sheriff, Bryan Haskins is unopposed for Commonwealth’s Attorney and Shirley Hammock is also unopposed for Commissioner of Revenue. We have contested races for Treasurer & Clerk of Court, so let’s look at them.

Treasurer: Incumbent Kate Berger easily won a four-way race last time and she’s been doing an excellent job. Berger has implemented new ideas on collecting taxes and has worked on modernizing the office. Challenger Vincent Shorter is back for his second faceoff against Berger and has immediately gotten off to a backwards start. Shorter has already made stupid statements like criticizing Berger for a personal trip to China and criticizing a plan to earn investment income off of idle funds. Berger quickly set the record straight on both of those idiotic complaints. Shorter lost the first time against Berger, and he’s heading for another one. This isn’t an endorsement of Kate Berger, but SouthsideCentral is confident enough in this race to rate this one as SAFE – BERGER.

Clerk of Court: After 32 years, H.F. Haymore won’t be the Clerk of Court. State police investigator Mark Scarce was the first to declare his candidacy, with banker R.J. Weaver filing right before the deadline. Both candidates are highly qualified for the office. Scarce has a slight advantage by knowing the workings of the court system, but the clerk’s job isn’t one where that’s a big deciding factor. Since the clerk of court’s term is eight years and the salary is over $115,000, this becomes a $1,000,000 decision by the Pittsylvania County voters. This race is probably going to come down to a get-out-the-vote effort and a popularity contest. Outgoing clerk H.F. Haymore can highly influence this election if he decides to make an endorsement. Because of Scarce’s earlier start and his background, SouthsideCentral is going to give this race a LEANS – SCARCE rating as of now.

And there you have it. That’s our first look at the upcoming Pittsylvania County elections. We’ll have updates throughout the campaign season. We’ll also be taking first looks at the Halifax County and the General Assembly elections soon here on SouthsideCentral.


3 comments to Pittsylvania County Elections – Update #1 – (Part #2)

  • Jerry

    Staunton River is always the most interesting election in Pittsylvania County when it is contested. It’s spread out with a lot of diverse communities that don’t have a connection to each other and there’s simply no way to measure who will win. I tend to agree with your analysis, but don’t underestimate Curtis Arthur. He’s lived there a long time and is well known in part of the district.

  • Joe Davis

    Love the flair that you posses! Pretty good insight, Keeping it fresh: that you have done well. J.B. Davis

  • Juanita Haley

    It’s a shame Haskins was unopposed in this election. He has proven to be the worst Commonwealth Atty. Pittsylvania County has ever seen.

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