Smyth County

Smyth County

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Election Day is Tuesday, November 5th

The Progressive Voters Guide compiles the information that allows you to make informed decisions about the races on your ballot, based on your values. Vote in every race on your ballot! It's our right and our responsibility. Please share this guide with your friends and family.

State Senate

Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below State Senate races on your ballot.

Senate District 038

State Senator

No Good Choices

Ben Chafin is the incumbent Republican State Senator in Senate District 38. Senator Chafin is a conservative and was first elected to the chamber in a special election in 2014. He is a beef cattle farmer and an attorney with a local practice. He received a 0% on NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia’s 2018 Legislative scorecard due to his history of supporting attacks on reproductive rights. He voted against same-sex marriage and commonsense gun laws. He ultimately voted to expand Medicaid in Virginia after years of opposition but voted against raising Virginia’s minimum wage.

His independent opponent, George McCall III, worked as an executive chairman of a local community bank and as a beef cattle farmer. He graduated from the University of Richmond in 1978. He is anti-choice, pro-gun, and supports the Trump agenda. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Clinch Valley Medical Center and the Richlands Little League Baseball Treasurer.

There is no progressive option in this race. We encourage you to write in a candidate of your choice. Regardless, get out and vote. Please remember that there are other races that will be on the ballot.

Senate District 040

State Senator

No Good Choices

Delegate Todd Pillion was first elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2015 and is now running for the State Senate. Delegate Pillion and his wife, Amanda, currently reside in Abingdon with their four children. Delegate Pillion has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association and has voted against commonsense gun laws, including mandating background checks for gun buyers. He also voted against allowing cities in Virginia to raise their local minimum wage. He opposed the establishment of sanctuary cities in Virginia, which would force localities to use their resources to do the job of the federal government and puts immigrant families at risk of separation. He has consistently opposed reproductive rights and abortion access.

Ken Heath is the Director of Community and Economic Development for Marion. He was previously elected twice to the Town Council. He is a graduate of Marion Senior High School, Wytheville Community College, and East Tennessee State University. Heath is running as an Independent and opposes commonsense gun laws. Little information is available about his platform.

We encourage you to write in a candidate of your choice. Regardless, get out and vote. Please remember that there are other races on the ballot as well.

House of Delegates

Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below House of Delegate races on your ballot.

House District 005


No Good Choices

A member of the House of Delegate since 2012, Republican Israel O’Quinn now serves as the House Deputy Majority Whip. He sits on the House Commerce and Labor Committee, Privileges and Elections Committee, and the Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee. He is staunchly anti-clean energy. Additionally, O’Quinn is anti-choice and supported requiring mandatory ultrasounds before someone can access an abortion.

Delegate O’Quinn is running unopposed. There is no progressive choice on the ballot. However, we still encourage you to show up to vote and write in a name for this race and cast your vote in the other races in your area.

House District 006


Jim Barker photo

Democratic candidate James Barker is running against incumbent Delegate Jeffrey Campbell, a Republican. Barker is currently serving his third term on the Marion Town Council and serves on the Friends of Mount Rogers, which aims to preserve and promote the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in the Jefferson National Forest.

As a Delegate, Barker will advocate for affordable health care access and support maintaining Medicaid expansion. He also supports increased funding for schools and giving teachers a much-needed raise. Before running for Delegate, Barker worked for the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. Due to that experience, combating climate change is another major priority for Barker.

Delegate Jeffrey Campbell was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2013. He is staunchly against gun violence prevention. He supports increasing police presence in schools and opposes common sense regulations that would prevent gun violence. He also voted against protecting immigrants in Virginia when he voted for a bill that prohibited sanctuary cities in Virginia. He also voted for a bill that would make it more difficult for low-income people to access abortion and to defund Planned Parenthood.

James Barker is the more progressive choice in this race due to his support of health care access and increasing teacher pay.