Libby Dozier, Contributing Writer
Incumbent Democrat Dawn Adams will keep her seat in the House of Delegates after defeating Republican Garrison Coward with 57% of the vote. Coward received 43% of the vote.
Adams is the first openly lesbian lawmaker to be elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. She was elected initially in 2017 after defeating Republican Del. Manoli Loupassi by less than one percentage point. Loupassi had represented the district for 10 years prior to losing his seat.
Adams is a nurse practitioner with a doctorate in nursing practice from Old Dominion University. She has campaigned on affordable health care and protecting the environment.
Coward, 29, received a degree in economics from Hampden-Sydney College in 2012 and a master’s degree in political management from George Washington University in 2017. He is the chief operating officer of BizCents, a Richmond based analytics firm. In a Republican primary, he beat out Lori Losi with nearly 75% of the initial vote.
According to his website, Coward campaigned on competitive teacher pay, prioritizing crime and safety, economic growth and affordable healthcare.
House District 68 was one of the 11 districts found to be illegally racially gerrymandered and was redrawn in February. According to the Virginia Public Access Project’s index of competitiveness, the district leans Democratic by 4.2%.
Since the presidential election in 2016, the Democrats have managed to hang on to the majority. However, due to court-ordered redistricting, the district includes slightly more Republicans than in preceding years, according to VPAP.
Over the course of her campaign, Adams raised $377,291, while Coward raised $183,917.
The 68th District includes portions of Richmond, Henrico and Chesterfield. The majority of the district is divided between Chesterfield and Richmond.
In the 2018 U.S. Senate election, 60.67% of the district voted for Democrat Sen. Tim Kaine. In 2017, 55.52% of the district voted for Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam.
The district is home to almost 80,000 people living in both urban and suburban communities.
Over the course of their campaigns, Adams raised $377,291, while Coward raised $183,917 according to the Virginia Public Access Project.