Lillard only candidate to qualify for Luray seat, early voting starts Sept. 17

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Stephanie Lilliard

~ PVN staff report

LURAY — Stephanie Lillard will be the only candidate listed on the November ballot for the Luray Council seat she was appointed to in February, according to Page County registrar Carol Gaunt.

The deadline for candidates to file for the special election was 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 13. Lillard was the only candidate to file the necessary paperwork with the county registrar by that deadline. While the race will officially be uncontested, Lillard could still face competition from a write-in candidate on Election Day.

The Luray Council seat was vacated by Jerry Dofflemyer in January due to his swearing in as mayor of Luray, an office he won over Darryl Haley in the November 2020 election. After an interview process with three or four candidates, Lillard was appointed by the remainder of the council to fill Dofflemyer’s seat through Dec. 31, 2021. Following such an appointment, the seat becomes open to all candidates during the next general election to fill the remainder of the existing term, which runs through Dec. 31, 2022.

When asked earlier this year about her intentions to run this fall in order to retain her appointed seat, Lillard said her decision to do so was driven by “an opportunity to serve, an opportunity to make a positive impact, an opportunity to give back — and all for a place that I get to call home.”

“Luray and Page County are full of potential,” Lillard continued. “Being a public servant to our community is a privilege. It is a privilege that presents exciting opportunities to be a part of the critical decision making which helps to shape our community. Particularly speaking as a native, property owner, and a parent, I am an advocate for fostering economic growth that is feasible, and sustainable.”

At the top of the Nov. 2 ballot will be candidates for the top three executive positions in Virginia — Governor, Terry McAuliffe (D) and Glenn Youngkin (R); Lieutenant Governor, Del. Hala Ayala (D) and Winsome Sears (R); and Attorney General, Mark Herring (D) and Del. Jason Miyares (R). Youngkin and Sears will be visiting Page County on Friday, when the local GOP committee will be opening their election headquarters at the former Uncle Buck’s on Main Street in Luray. (Look for more details tomorrow on PVN).

Down the ballot, county races will mostly go uncontested (barring any write-in candidacies). Incumbents Keith Guzy (Dist. 1) and Jeff Vaughan (Dist. 5) will be unchallenged for their seats on the Page County Board of Supervisors. Keith Weakly, a District 1 representative on the Page County Planning Commission, will be the lone candidate listed for chairman of the board of supervisors.

While Page County School Board incumbents Tommy Lansberry (Dist. 1) and Jackie Sullivan-Smoot (Dist. 5) will not be challenged on the ballot, the lone contested local race this fall will be for chairman of the school board. Incumbent Jason Breeden, who won a special election last fall as the only candidate listed on the ballot, will face off with challenger Megan Gordan, who ran as a write-in candidate last fall but will be on the ballot this November.

Early voting for the Nov. 2 general election will begin 45 days prior to Election Day.

“That would be Sept. 18, but because that falls on a weekend we will start on Friday, Sept. 17,” the county’s voter registrar said. Gaunt noted earlier in the year that in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, she believes that expanded early voting is now here to stay.

“As far as early voting…for primaries, there is no turnout for it [at the polls, with many voting early], and we still have to staff the polls and it’s a very costly proposition,” Gaunt said. “But for the fall election, it’s a great idea.”

Page County voters may cast their ballots in-person early at the county government building or request a mail-in ballot. While early in-person voting will be allowed 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday beginning Sept. 17, it will also be allowed on the two Saturdays prior to Election Day.

The last day to register to cast a ballot in this fall’s general election is Tuesday, Oct. 12 (right after Columbus Day).

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