augusta free press news

My view: Who I’d vote for on Election Day

constitutionWe’ve made it a practice here at Augusta Free Press in recent years to forego doing political endorsements, not because we don’t have an opinion on we think should win, because we do, but because we’re not sure of the value of endorsements in this day and age.

So don’t think of these as endorsements. Vote for who you want to. Or skip out on voting altogether. Depending on where you live, you may not have much reason to trudge out to the polls on Tuesday. We’re not going to browbeat you into doing what civic duty suggests you’re supposed to do.

With that, here’s who I’d vote for on Election Day.

Augusta County Sheriff: Donald Smith Tough choice for me. Comes down to two of the four candidates: Derek Almarode and Donald Smith. I was impressed with both in my one-on-one interviews with them for the package of stories that we ran on the race on AFP. I’d lean toward voting for Smith. Almarode, to me, is more polished, and would hit the ground running on Jan. 1. But Smith is my guy because I feel like he will work harder than anybody. What he may lack in polish would be more than made up for in his enthusiasm.

Augusta County Commonwealth’s Attorney: Tim Martin This one is easy for me. It’s time for a change in that office. Long overdue time for a change in that office.

Augusta County Board of Supervisors: Wendell Coleman, Tracy Pyles and Marshall Pattie All seven seats are up, but only three are contested. Wendell Coleman would get my vote in the Wayne District race based on his experience. I also know that he works the hardest of anybody I’ve known in local government, by a country mile. I know nothing about the challengers in the Pastures and North River races, which suggests that they didn’t do much to get attention to their candidacies. I’ve known Tracy and Marshall for years. Don’t always agree with them on everything, but I know that they’re both smart guys, work hard at it, and that their hearts and generally speaking heads are in the right place.

20th House District: Dickie Bell Don’t always agree with Dickie, but I’ve known Dickie for a long time, and we worked together what feels like a hundred years ago to convince Staunton City Council to put money toward a skateboard park that the News Leader editorialized was a dumb idea, and turned out to be a big success. I actually get to vote in this one. (The only one I get to vote for in the City of Waynesboro, aside from an uncontested State Senate race, and a choice of two people for two open seats on the Soil and Water Conservation District. Yeah, exciting!)

24th House District: Ben Cline Cue up the chorus. Don’t always agree with Ben, but I know where he’s coming from, and I respect him for it.

25th House District: Angela Lynn I really wish I lived in the 25th. I love Angela, and think she’d be a great addition to the House of Delegates. She has vast experience in local government in Albemarle County, and would be a breath of fresh air in Richmond based on that. The House would be a lot better off with more people experienced in local government giving voice to the challenges that are faced on the front lines of service delivery. I’ve been impressed specifically with Angela’s command of the issues of the day.

– Column by Chris Graham