By Lynn R. Mitchell
The 24th Senate District is now down to three candidates after Donald Sheets’ announcement that he was dropping out of the race, as reported by Brian Carlton with the News-Virginian (see Senate candidate drops out of race).
“As a lifetime resident of Mount Solon, I have always had a strong desire to serve my community,” Sheets said. “When I heard that Emmett Hanger and Marshall Pattie were probably not going to participate in the convention, I realized that I had a very good chance of beating Dan Moxley. Last week, the United States judicial system dismissed the lawsuit filed by Ken Adams, [so] the process of selecting a Republican nominee for State Senator in District 24 will now come from a June primary that I will not be running in.”
Sheets, who had not collected petitions for a primary run, was left high and dry after Judge Elizabeth Dillon dismissed the lawsuit brought by the 24th Senate District legislative committee that would require conventions instead of allowing incumbents to pick their method of nomination. In the case of Senator Emmett Hanger, that request is a primary.
The NV explained:
The idea of holding a convention changed on Thursday, as federal judge Elizabeth Dillon dismissed the legal challenge to what’s referred to as the “Incumbent Protection Act” in Virginia. Under the law, a currently serving politician can decide what form his or her re-election process should take, through either a convention or primary. District 24 Sen. Emmett Hanger had requested a primary earlier this year, while the district’s Republican committee wanted to hold a convention. In dismissing the committee’s challenge, Dillon said they had to follow the Republican Party of Virginia’s Plan, which says that committees can only chose the method “where permitted to do so under Virginia law.”
The June 9th primary will be a contest between Senator Hanger, Augusta County Supervisor Marshall Pattie, and Dan Moxley who has lived in the 24th District less than a year. Interestingly, he has picked up backing and endorsements from the tea party who have been notorious for not vetting candidates.