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Former Staunton mayor John Avoli wins Republican nomination in 20th House District

john avoliJohn Avoli, the former Staunton mayor and long-time city leader, won the Republican Party nomination in the 20th House District in a two-candidate race with Dave Bourne.

Avoli was polling at 60 percent as the final votes were being reported late Tuesday.

Avoli served on Staunton City Council from 1990-2006, including a 14-year stint as mayor.

He also served as executive director of the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton for 15 years, before retiring from that post in 2017.

Bourne, a former police officer, is best known for his Dave Bourne Bail Bonds agency.

Avoli went into the race with an apparent advantage given his long political career in Staunton, one of two independent cities in the 20th District, which stretches from Highland County through portions of Augusta County, the two cities, and then into Nelson County.

In the end, he ran well across the district, winning with Republican voters in all of the localities that had reported by press time.

Avoli now will face Democratic nominee Jennifer Lewis in the November general election.

Lewis is coming off a surprisingly strong showing in her bid for the Sixth District congressional seat in 2018. She lost that race to Ben Cline, but the Waynesboro resident ran well in localities in that race that she will compete in again in the 20th District race this year, defeating Cline, a 16-year veteran member of the Virginia House of Delegates, in Staunton, with 56.3 percent of the vote, and only losing Waynesboro by 33 total votes, a 0.43 percent margin.

Story by Chris Graham