Anya Sczerzenie, Contributing Writer
Sarah Elson, Contributing Writer
Incumbent Republican Kirk Cox will keep his delegate seat in House District 66 after defeating VCU alumna Sheila Bynum-Coleman in the House of Delegates race.
Bynum-Coleman received 45% of the district’s votes, while Cox received 54%.
“I’ve been at this 30 years. This was a difficult election, and you can just look at this crowd. Y’all poured your heart into this. I had so many volunteers and we won strictly because of grassroots,” Cox said at his watch party in Colonial Heights. “As a 30-year government teacher, my love is representing democracy. If you think about it, for 400 years this is where democracy started to be a part of this and continues to be a part of this.”
Cox, who was elected in District 66 in 1989, has served as House Speaker since 2018 and previously served as the House majority leader from 2010 to 2018.
According to his website, his priorities were creating Virginia jobs, helping veterans, reducing “unnecessary” government spending and supporting those with disabilities. As a former teacher, Cox’s website lists access and availability to higher education as a prominent issue.
Bynum-Coleman is a graduate of the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs with a background in real estate and construction.
In 2016, her daughter was shot at a house party, which placed gun reform as a top priority for her campaign. Abortion rights, climate change, higher teacher pay, LGBTQ rights and higher minimum wage were listed as other priorities for her campaign.
The 66th District includes Chesterfield County, Colonial Heights and a small part of Richmond.
Independent candidate Linnard K. Harris Sr. also ran for the delegate seat in the 66th District.
Harris is a veteran, former police officer and substitute teacher. He campaigned on education reform, better pay for teachers and police officers, and gun rights, excluding assault rifles.
“We all know that God’s got a plan for Kurt. He’s got a plan for me and he’s got a plan for you,” said Colonial Heights Mayor T. Gregory Kochuba. “God’s plan was to keep Kirk in office. After we leave here tonight, please keep Kirk in your prayers give him strength, guidance, direction and give him some rest.”
Kochuba introduced Cox at his watch party, which was held at the Keystone Antique Truck & Tractor Museum in Colonial Heights.
Cox’s son Cameron said he was proud of his father’s win and said he didn’t think “anybody deserves it more than him.”
“He’s been a great dad, a great coach, great campaigner, great politician, but at the end of the day, he’s just always served his people because that’s what he cares about,” Cameron Cox said. “He cares about our family. He cares about the families at 66 district, and I just, I’m just so proud of him.”
House District 66 was one of the 11 House districts found to be illegally racially gerrymandered and was redrawn in February. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, or VPAP, the district has shifted 32 points after redistricting to favor Democrats, but the district is still leaning Republican by 2.3 points.
The district is still fairly split, however, and is described by VPAP as a competitive district.