Mulchi and Younger to face off for Southside Virginia Senate seat
by Sarah Vogelsong, Virginia Mercury
December 20, 2023
Republican Tammy Brankley Mulchi and Democrat Tina Wyatt Younger will face off in a special election this January to represent state Senate District 9 in Southside Virginia.
Voters elected long-time Sen. Frank Ruff this November to represent the district, which encompasses Pittsylvania, Halifax, Charlotte, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg and Nottoway counties, the southern part of Prince Edward County and the city of Danville. Ahead of being sworn in to his next term, however, Ruff announced that he would not take office due to a cancer diagnosis.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who on Wednesday asked the General Assembly during his budget presentation to rename the commonwealth’s Center for Rural Virginia in Ruff’s honor, has set the special election for Jan. 9, the day before the General Assembly reconvenes for the 2024 session.
With a Dec. 20 deadline for candidates to file with the state Department of Elections to run in that race, both Republicans and Democrats held nominating contests Tuesday.
Republicans held a six-hour mass meeting in Drakes Branch in Charlotte County Tuesday night, selecting Mulchi, who had been endorsed by Ruff, after four rounds of voting. Six people ran for the nomination.
A member of the Clarksville Town Council and realtor, Mulchi previously served as a legislative aide to Ruff and Del. Tommy Wright, R-Lunenburg.
“Southside Virginia faces challenges unlike other regions of Virginia. The people of the region need a senator who shares their conservative values, understands the challenges facing their region, and knows how to meet those challenges by increasing opportunities,” said Senate Minority Leader Ryan McDougle, R-Hanover, in a statement. “Tammy Mulchi will be that senator, and she has the full support of her future colleagues in the Senate Republican Caucus.”
Democrats elected Younger, a former vice mayor of South Boston and chair of the Halifax Democrats, in a firehouse primary. With 89 votes, she narrowly edged out the next closest candidate, Danville vice mayor Gary Miller, who received 82 votes. Four candidates ran in the party’s firehouse primary.
Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mamie Locke, D-Hampton, said in a statement that “Tina’s wealth of experience will greatly be an invaluable asset to our caucus.”
“Given their background, I’m confident they will be yet another durable brick in our blue wall as we continue to ensure economic security, enhancing the quality of public education, and ensuring a bright future for every Virginian,” she said.
Senate District 9 is considered a strongly Republican district, with 65% of voters casting ballots for Republicans in elections in 2021 and 2022.
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