The surprise announcement of Delegate Greg Habeeb’s resignation has created the need for a special election to fill the seat. With a General Election on the calendar for November 6th, it makes perfect sense for House District 8 to hold their Special Election on the same day. This will obviously save the commonwealth some money. So voters in House District 8 will have on their ballots US Senate, House of Representatives, and now this Special Election, that won’t look too special.
The Republican Party will hold their nomination contest in a party-run canvass on Tuesday August 14 from 5pm to 8pm at select locations. Candidates interested in competing for the Republican nomination will have until Thursday August 9 to submit their required paperwork and filing fee. For more information, including voting locations, click here to see the official call.
Having the special the same day as the General Election ought to increase turnout. The winner will have a strong mandate to serve. Sometimes special elections in December or January can receive depressingly low turnout numbers, which harms the mandate of the winner to govern the district. That won’t be the case here with senate and congressional and candidates pushing their voters to the polls thus making turnout numbers higher than normal for General Assembly seat.
The 8th is a safe Republican seat. Rep. Morgan Griffith held the seat for 17 years. Habeeb filled in for the last 7 years, winning the seat in a special election after Griffith moved up to congress. Griffith is up re-election this November and his name will be on the ballot which will certainly help keep this General Assembly seat in Republican hands. We do not expect any kind of upset from the alleged “blue wave,” which won’t hit the shore.
So the real contest here is for the Republican nomination. Out of the gates is an early front-runner, Roanoke County Supervisor Joe McNamara, who already has the public support of the local State Senator for the area David Suetterlein and other local elected Republicans. Suetterlein tweeted his support for McNamara saying “[Del. Habeeb] has been an effective legislator who has carried pro-life, fiscal conservative, and Second Amendment principles. Joe McNamara would continue to advance those principles and preserve the [Republican] majority as the next Delegate from the Roanoke and New River Valleys!“
There shouldn’t be any surprises in this Special Election. It looks like a solid conservative Republican will be nominated and then will win handily in November. The Republican majority in the House, for now at least, is safe.