Not much choice when it comes to the Floyd County Board of Supervisors. The only contested race — between longtime Locust Grove supervisor David Ingram and challenger Lauren Yoder — was decided in the GOP caucus with Yoder unseating the incumbent. The board will be all Republican next year with two new faces: Yoder and retired deputy sheriff Joe Turman.
Unopposed contests for most of the Courthouse poistions: Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Shortt faces no opposition in her bid for a second term. Lisa Baker stands alone for Commissioner of Revenue as does Melissa (Missy) Keith for Treasurer. Baker and Keith replace incumbents who decided not to run for another term.
Different story in the race for sheriff. Shannon Zeman faces opposition from a former deputy — Laura Sparks — and Paul Hill, a heavy equipment mechanic with no law enforcement experience who says God told him to run.
School Board member Margaret Hubbard is unopposed in her bid for re-election while incumbents Clay Link faces challenges from Tea Party member Jesse Lawrence and David Lynn Cartwright and Dave Sulzen is opposed by former county administrator Henry McDaniel.
In the town of Floyd, three candidates — incumbent Michael Patton plus Ross Miller and Dennis Wagner.
The school board races — expected by some to be the hot contests this year after the controversy over now-retired school superintendent Terry Arbogast’s salary and perks package — fizzed in the stretch. McDaniel’s against Sulzen is non-existent and the three-way race in Locust Grove is fairly quiet.
Which leaves the sheriff’s race. While few — if any — expect the popular Zeman to lose, signs for his two opponents sit in a surprising number of yards throughout the county. But a highly-touted campaign rally and fundraiser for Sparks — complete with bands and food — bombed. She did receive an endorsement from retired state trooper Roger Abshire but members of the former trooper’s family have had their run-ins with current law enforcement officials and Abshire wasn’t all that popular when he handed out tickets on Floyd County roads.
Hill says that if he is elected sheriff, the first thing he will do is fire popular chief investigator Jeff Dalton — an interesting statement from a so-called man of God since Dalton is also pastor at Slate Mountain Presbyterian Church.
Some members of the tea party bragged early on that they would field a full slate of candidates to “take control” of county government but that claim — like so many of their actions — contained more hyperbole than substance. Yoder has some ties to the Tea Party but also is critical of the group’s extremism.
What surprised some this year was the complete evaporation of the Democratic party in Floyd County. Democrat Bill Gardiner stepped down after just one term as Burks Fork Supervisor and the party of the donkey didn’t field a single candidate in any of the county races.
For state offices, control of the Virginia Senate is up in the air for Tuesday and Republicans could emerge with control of all levels of state government.
Tuesday is an off-year election with no statewide or federal races on the ballot, so turnout will be a question. A low turnout could trigger some surprises when the ballots are counted.
If there is an election this year, you couldn’t prove it at our house. No candidate for office showed up at our door. No campaign propaganda came in the mail and we did not receive a single phone call from any candidate or political organization.
Writes Ben Pershing in Sunday’s Washington Post:
What if Virginia held an election and nobody came?
The outlook for Tuesday isn’t quite that stark. But owing to the quirks of the state’s calendar — which produces a ballot every four years featuring no federal or statewide races to drive turnout — there is a good chance that fewer than one-third of Virginia’s voters will show up at the polls.