Sen. Edwards & Del. Byron say they will not seek reelection

Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 7:19 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - The number of Virginia lawmakers who say they will not run for reelection is growing.

Monday afternoon, longtime State Sen. John Edwards (D-Roanoke) added his name to the list.

In a written statement, Edwards said he will not seek another four-year term after serving for 28 sessions.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my many years of service in the Senate and the honor and opportunity to improve the lives of my constituents and all Virginians,” Edwards said. “I am proud of the many accomplishments I have worked on and I look forward to continuing my work through the remainder of my term.”

He has a lot of company.

As the General Assembly session was winding down last week, members of the House delivered heartfelt farewells.

“I’m going to miss you, I won’t run for reelection,” Del. Kathleen Murphy (D-Fairfax) told members of the House Friday.

“Mr. Speaker, it’s apparent that God has something else in store for me,” said Del. James Edmunds (R-Halifax Co.).

“I have made dear, lifelong friends by being a member of this family,” said Del. Roxann Robinson (R-Chesterfield Co.).

“I’m finding myself feeling sentimental about each of you in this place. And I love you all and appreciate the chance to serve with you,” said Del. Rob Bell (R-Albemarle Co.).

And it didn’t stop there.

Two more announcements over the weekend included Del. Kathy Byron (R-Bedford Co.) who will leave the House after 26 sessions.

“I’m very thankful that the voters trusted me, and had confidence to send me back time and time again for them,” Byron told WDBJ7 Monday afternoon. “And because of that I’ve been able to get a lot of things done.”

Whether it’s the impact of redistricting or longtime lawmakers deciding it’s time to step away, WDBJ7 Political Analyst Bob Denton says we are seeing a period of transition in Richmond.

“Some people are estimating that it may literally be in the hundreds of years of legislative experience that’s walking out the door,” Denton said Monday afternoon.

“Certainly in these next two years, we are going to see a generational change in terms of the leadership, where they’re younger, they’re more active and certainly more diverse than previous legislators,” Denton said. “So yes. I think we are in a transition.”

So far, at least a dozen lawmakers have formally announced they are not running for reelection.

And longtime observers at the State Capitol say the number could be two or three times that by the time the next regular session of the General Assembly opens early next year.