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2015 elections see Republican gains at state level, few surprises locally

Low voter turnout estimated, Tracci to replace Lunsford as Commonwealth's Attorney

State and local elections saw low voter turnout in the off-year election this year, according to preliminary voting statistics from the Virginia Department of Elections.

Charlottesville City saw less than a quarter of eligible voters participate in local elections, while Albemarle County fared only slightly better, with roughly a third of eligible voters participating.

Robert Tracci was elected the new Commonwealth’s Attorney, gathering 51 percent of votes and defeating incumbent Denise Lunsford.

Lunsford has led the state’s case against Jesse Matthew, who is charged with capital murder and abduction with intent to defile of late University student Hannah Graham. Her defeat comes just days after attorney Matthew Hardin filed a civil suit against her to compel her to release records of past investigations, claiming she paid for personal expenses with county funds.

Across the state, all 140 seats of the General Assembly — both state Senate and House of Delegates — were up for re-election.

Ultimately, the Republican party won the Senate majority with 21 candidates, while the remaining 19 seats were filled by Democrats. Republicans also took the House of Delegates majority, winning 66 of the 100 seats.

Graphic by Shreyas Hirway

Albemarle County residents voted for Senate members in districts 17 and 25 and House of Delegates members in districts 25, 57, 58 and 59, while Charlottesville City residents voted in elections for Senate district 25 and House of Delegates district 57.

In Albemarle County, Democratic candidates won both Senate elections, with Ned Gallaway taking 60 percent of votes in the 17th district and Creigh Deeds winning the 25th district with 96 percent of votes after running unopposed.

Current House of Delegates members ran unopposed in districts 57, 58 and 59, with David Toscano, D-57, Robert Bell III, R-58, and Matthew Fariss, R-59, taking the vast majority in their respective districts. In House of Delegates district 25, incumbent Steve Landes defeated Democrat Angela Lynn, winning 66 percent of the vote.

In Charlottesville, 23 percent of active registered voters participated in local elections, which included filling three city council spots, a closely contested Commonwealth’s Attorney race and selecting four school board members.

Wes Bellamy, Kathleen Galvin and Michael Signer were all elected to the City Council, collectively earning 86 percent of votes over two additional candidates. Adam Hastings, Sherry Kraft, Amy Laufer and Jennifer McKeever — the latter two incumbents — were elected Charlottesville School Board members.

In Albemarle County, approximately 33 percent of active registered voters participated in local elections including Clerk of Court, Commonwealth’s Attorney, County Sheriff, Board of Supervisors members — one for each of three districts — and five school board members.

Jon Zug was elected as Clerk of Court, winning 50 percent of votes against three other candidates. Chip Harding was re-elected sheriff in an uncontested race.

Local election winners

*(D) Democrat, (R) Republican, (I) Independent

Graphic By Sabah Nawaz and Humza Mohammad

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Angela Lynn defeated incumbent Steve Landes in House of Delegates district 25.