Candidates set for 2023 election with six contested races on Page County ballot

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By Randy Arrington

LURAY, June 21 — With the deadline for candidates to file passing at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 20, the ballot is now set for the 2023 general election on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Early voting will start in just three months on Friday, Sept. 22 for a total of 25 candidates seeking 16 seats on the Page County ballot. Ten of those positions, including all four seats open on the Page County School Board, are unopposed.

The most watched and talked about race on the card for this fall will be the two-way race for Page County Sheriff. Always an attention-getter, the local sheriff’s race grabs extra interest this year because the two opponents are first cousins, Chad and Aaron Cubbage. Chad is a two-term incumbent, who won the Republican nomination a third time at a mass meeting in May. Aaron is a captain in the Stanley Police Department, who is running as an independent. This race was the first to start when Aaron announced his candidacy last September.

The next race drawing the most attention is also the most sought-after seat on the ballot, a four-way race to be the next Clerk of the Page County Circuit Court. The seat comes with an eight-year term, and with its six-figure salary spread out over almost a decade, the office has drawn a lot of attention from candidates. The 2015 race saw a total of nine candidates on the ballot. Incumbent Grayson Markowitz is running as an independent after losing previous GOP support to Shirron Ballard at a local Republican Committee meeting in May. Stephanie Breeden, who works in the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office, and Kim Bailey, who left her job in the circuit court clerk’s office on Tuesday, will also be challenging for the office as independents.

A third constitutional office being contested is that of Page County Commissioner of the Revenue. Longtime incumbent Becky Smith once again earned the Republican nomination in May, while Army National Guard First Sergeant Tom Bauserman will challenge for the seat as an independent.

Both Penny Gray and Bryan Cave will run unopposed for Page County Treasurer and Commonwealth’s Attorney, repectively. Cave was appointed to fill the vacancy left when former commonwealth’s attorney Ken Alger was named a judge in the General District Court a year ago. Alger’s term ends Dec. 31, 2023. Cave looks to earn a full four-year term in November.

On the Page County Board of Supervisors, two of the three districts up for grabs will be unopposed — independent Ryan Cubbage in District 3 and Isaac Smelser in District 4 — while a two-way race emerged on filing day between Republican incumbent Allen Louderback and independent Paula Kibler in District 2.

On the Page County School Board, all four districts open this election cycle are unopposed. Taylor Alger was appointed to fill the District 1 seat vacated by the death of Tommy Lansberry. Now, Alger is unopposed in a special election to fill the remainder of Lansberry’s term through Dec. 31, 2025. Duane Painter is unchallenged to retain his seat in District 4 for another four years, while newcomers Michael Overfelt and Renee Bryant are uncontested in Districts 2 and 3, respectively. All candidates are running as independents, as school candidates do not declare or receive official endorsements from political parties.

Page County voters may select two candidates as representatives to the Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District, and there are only two choices — longtime SVSWCD rep Charlie Newton, and newcomer Jimmy Burke, who will replace longtime rep Linda Campbell following her passing last year.

Both state legislature seats are being contested this year in the newly aligned districts. Republican Mark Obenshain will defend his District 2 (formerly District 26) seat in the Virginia Senate against Democratic challenger Kathy Beery. Independent Senate candidate Joshua Huffman is listed as “in process” of qualifying for the November ballot as of June 21. Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert (R) is looking to retain his seat in District 33 (formerly District 15) against Democratic challenger Bob Smith.

Page County has 17,093 registered voters as of June 21, about 144 more than in 2022. With a projected voter turnout of about 48 percent, vote counters can expect a little over 8,000 ballots to be cast between when early voting begins on Friday, Sept. 22 through Election Day on Nov. 7. Figures could trend slightly higher, as they often do during local and presidential election cycles.

In terms of registered voters, the largest magisterial district in the county is Marksville (District 3) with 3,782 folks registered, while the smallest is Newport (District 4) with 3,122. East Luray (District 2) is the next largest with 3,526 registered voters, while West Luray (District 1) has 3,391 and Shenandoah (District 5) has 3,272. There are about 100 or more registered voters in each district that are considered “inactive.”

Those who wish to vote by absentee ballot through the mail must send in their request by Oct. 27. Early voting at the registrar’s office will end on Saturday, Nov. 4. The office will also be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28 for early voting as well. Otherwise, the normal Monday through Friday schedule of the registrar’s office will apply to early voting in person.

Carol Gaunt, voter registrar for Page County, says she is still seeking “officers of election” to help work the polls on Election Day. Those interested in working the polls should contact the registrar’s office. Contact information is below “On the Ballot.”

Below is a list of candidates, by office, as they will appear on the 2023 ballot:

On the Page County Ballot ~ Decision 2023

Virginia House of Delegates — District 33

  • C. Todd Gilbert (R), incumbent
  • Bob W. Smith (D)

Virginia Senate — District 2

  • Mark D. Obenshain (R), incumbent
  • Kathy A. Beery (D)
  • Joshua J. Huffman (I)

Page County Sheriff

  • Chadwick W. “Chad” Cubbage (R), incumbent
  • Aaron A. “AC23” Cubbage (I)

Clerk of the Page County Circuit Court

  • C. Grayson Markowitz (I), incumbent
  • Shirron Ballard (R)
  • Stephanie L. Breeden (I)
  • Kimberly “Kim” Bailey (I)

Page County Commissioner of the Revenue

  • Rebecca “Becky” Smith (R), incumbent
  • Thomas M. “Tom” Bauserman (I)

Page County Treasurer

  • Penny R. Gray (D), incumbent

Page County Commonwealth’s Attorney

  • Bryan M. Cave (R), appointed incumbent

Page County Board of Supervisors — District 2

  • Allen L. Louderback (R), incumbent
  • Paula Burner Kibler (I)

Page County Board of Supervisors — District 3

  • Ryan C. Cubbage (I)

Page County Board of Supervisors — District 4

  • Isaac B. Smelser (R)

Page County School Board — District 1

  • Taylor M. Alger, appointed incumbent (special election to fill term)

Page County School Board — District 2

  • Michael L. Overfelt

Page County School Board — District 3

  • Renee Bryant

Page County School Board — District 4

  • Duane E. Painter, incumbent

Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District — 2 reps for Page County

  • Charlie A. Newton
  • James W. “Jimmy” Burke

Page County Voter Registrar’s office is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and is located in the Page County Government Center, 103 South Court Street, Suite D, Luray.

For more information, call (540) 743-3986

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