White-Boyd takes lead for Democratic 4th District Senate nomination

Published: Jun. 16, 2023 at 3:42 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - UPDATE: With all but provisional ballots counted, the winner of the Democratic primary for Virginia’s 4th District Senate seat is Roanoke City Councilwoman Trish White-Boyd, who had 4,059 votes at the end of Tuesday’s primary election, ahead of candidates Luke Priddy and DeAnthony Pierce.

White-Boyd will face Republican Senator David Suetterlein in November.

ORIGINAL STORY: When State Sen. John Edwards announced he would not run for re-election, he sparked a three-way race among Democrats who hope to take his place.

Tuesday, voters in the new Senate District 4 will choose among two members of Roanoke City Council and a Roanoke city employee.

DeAnthony Pierce is a Plans Examiner who helps approve building permits for the city of Roanoke. He’s making his first run for elective office.

“I’ve always been a public servant most of my life,” Pierce told WDBJ7. “And I wanted to continue that service in an elective role to have a bigger impact on the community I live in.”

Luke Priddy is Sen. John Edwards’ Chief of Staff, elected to Roanoke City Council last November.

“I thought carefully, talked with my family and realized that this was an opportunity to put my skills to use,” Priddy said.

Trish White-Boyd is a small business owner and a member of city council since January 2019.

“I will go to Richmond ready to go to work on issues that matter to everyday residents, to the working-class families, " White-Boyd said.

The candidates have a range of experience.

Pierce said his focus has been on helping other people, making his community better.

“As a teenager, for three consecutive summers I worked for parks and recreation, keeping them clean, keeping the grass cut and mowed,” he said. “I served my country for four years after that. And then I came home and even though it wasn’t in a public role, I served as an entrepreneur, trying to find solutions for my community.”

Priddy said his experience with Sen. Edwards makes him uniquely qualified to represent the region in Richmond.

“The best ideas really don’t just come from me, they come from the community, and what the expertise of a state legislator should be focused on is ‘how do you take that idea and shepherd it from just being a solution to becoming a law?’” he said. “That’s what I believe my expertise gives me the ability to do.”

White-Boyd said she is in touch with the needs of the community and ready to hit the ground running.

“I’ve been a small business owner for 20 years. I’ve been a member of city council for over four years. And I’ve served as Vice Mayor. I’m really just a community organizer and a community leader,” White-Boyd said.

With redistricting, the new Senate District 4 includes the city of Roanoke, the city of Salem, part of Roanoke County and part of Montgomery County. While analysts say it leans Republican, the primary candidates believe the right Democrat can win.

“It’s a new opportunity with this new district to take a new chance on someone who has a fresh perspective, that isn’t already entrenched in the political system,” Pierce said.

“They need to vote for a nominee they believe will keep this region blue this November, that will carry on Senator Edwards’ legacy in the General Assembly, that will stand up and fight for them to have a voice,” Priddy said.

“I am a viable candidate, and I don’t think that the other members of council who endorsed me, the mayor, the other elected officials, all of the folks that are supporting me, I don’t think that they would be supporting me if they did not think that I am the Democrat that could win,” White-Boyd said.

The Democrat who prevails Tuesday, June 20 will face Republican Senator David Suetterlein in November.