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Special election is Tuesday in 38th Senate District

Published: Mar. 19, 2021 at 7:52 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Voters from Radford to Big Stone Gap will head to the polls Tuesday.

A special election in the 38th Senate district will decide who succeeds Ben Chafin, the state senator who died from complications of COVID-19 earlier this year.

Democrat Laurie Buchwald and Republican Travis Hackworth have experience in public office: Buchwald on Radford City Council, Hackworth with the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors.

But they bring different political philosophies and professional experience to the race.

“A local nurse practitioner, Laurie Buchwald knows southwest Virginia families are struggling,” said the narrator in a video highlighting Buchwald’s background and priorities.

“I’m a businessman and a doer, and I’m running to fight for southwest Virginia,” Hackworth said in one of his campaign videos.

The 38th district covers a large swath of southwest Virginia, from Radford all the way to Wise County.

Despite the size of the district and the challenge of running during a pandemic, both candidates say they believe they are reaching the voters.

“I’m hearing from people all over,” Buchwald told WDBJ7 this week. “They’re excited. They’re passionate about a woman running. They’re passionate about a woman running with the ideas that I’m running with.”

“They really like the idea that I think outside the box, that I’m a creative thinker,” Hackworth said in an interview, “so all in all I think it’s going well.”

Buchwald said she believes the people of the 38th district are focused on basic issues that affect their quality of life, including health care, education, broadband, jobs and natural resources.

“We need a voice that is talking about the issues that affect every single person every single day, Buchwald said.

Hackworth promised more help for small businesses, defense of gun rights, support for law enforcement and opposition to abortion.

“And that’s what the 38th district’s going to get: a passionate, conservative, man of faith senator.

Saturday is the last day for in-person absentee voting. Polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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