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Voters to pick party nominees for open local House of Delegates seat this weekend

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Posted at 3:02 PM, Dec 04, 2020

NORFOLK, Va. - This weekend, voters living in the 90th House of Delegates will be selecting the nominees from each party who will square off in a special election in January.

Former Democratic Del. Joe Lindsey resigned from the seat last month in order to become a judge in Norfolk.

Two Democrats and two Republicans are seeking the seat with party nominating caucuses being held Saturday and Sunday.

The seat has been reliably blue. Dating back to 1982, a Republican has only won once and served one term. The district includes most of the eastern part of Norfolk and a small part of Virginia Beach. Lindsey ran unopposed for the seat in 2019.

On the Democratic side, Norfolk City Council member Angelia Williams Graves is running against former Norfolk Police Detective Richard James. On Saturday, Norfolk announced a narrow win for Graves.

Angelia Williams Graves

"I have a proven record. I'm a trusted and compassionate leader," said Graves, who's served on city council since 2010.

"As a Norfolk citizen, I've been fighting for the country and for the citizens of Norfolk for over 40 years," said James.

Richard James

Graves says her experience on city council has given her the necessary perspective to represent Hampton Roads. If elected, her constituency would actually shrink compared to her current superward.

"I will always consider: What does this mean for the local governing body and what does this mean for the everyday citizen who's going to have to live with the decisions that I make?" she said.

James has been a frequent commentator for News 3 over the years on issues related to policing. He says his experience as a staffer for local state Sen. Lionell Spruill makes him the better choice. "I'm ready to do the job on day one. In fact, I believe I'm the only one ready to do the job on day one," said James.

With Lindsey announcing his resignation just a few weeks ago, both candidates have been trying to campaign. Democrats can vote in a drive-thru at Lake Taylor High School from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

In the past week, Graves' campaign raised questions about a flier from James about his endorsements. It features Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander's picture. The mayor took to Twitter to say he's not endorsing anyone.

James told News 3 his flier doesn't refer to Alexander in his official capacity, but his family. "The mayor in his official capacity has never endorsed me. I want to stress that. Never endorsed me. Never said he would endorse me, but said the family is behind me 110 percent," said James.

Graves says the flier is misleading. "We told the truth, and my opponent, not so much. We'll just let the voters decide who they believe and who they don't," said Graves.

Republicans are holding their own caucus on Sunday at American Legion Post 327 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Two political newcomers are seeking the nomination. Mario Portillo and Sylvia Bryant are hoping to flip the seat red.

Sylvia Bryant

The winners of each caucus will face off in a special election on January 5 before the winner of that is seating in the General Assembly.

Mario Portillo