Laura Galante of Marshall defeated Tristan Shields on Tuesday for the Democratic Party nomination to challenge Republican Michael Webert in November for the 18th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.
In the 88th District race, Jessica Foster of Remington beat Kecia Evans of Stafford for the Democratic nomination. Foster will challenge incumbent Republican Mark Cole for the seat in the House of Delegates.
Galante she earned 70 percent of the vote to just under 30 percent for Shields, who was the Democratic nominee but lost to Webert in 2017.
Galante said after Tuesday's returns were in, “I will keep talking to all Virginians regardless of politics or background about how we build a shared rural future. I’m especially proud of our volunteers who stepped up in a major way to bring home this win.”
Galante carried Fauquier County with nearly 71 percent of the vote.
Shields is a musician and media producer from Rixeyville in Culpeper County. He said in a statement after the returns came in:
“I want to congratulate Laura on her victory today in the 18th District Democratic primary. The road moving forward will be tough, but she will have the support of the Democrats in Culpeper, Fauquier, Rappahannock and Warren counties, including mine. We are at a time where the stakes are high for democracy in Virginia. The Virginia legislature will be playing a crucial role, both for our state and the nation. I truly hope she can flip the district blue in November.”
Shields also thanked those who supported him.
Galante worked in cybersecurity for the Defense Intelligence Agency and with a private cyber-intelligence team. In 2017, she started a cybersecurity consulting practice, Galante Strategies.
She said she supports boosting the future of agriculture by supporting “earn to learn” opportunities – apprenticeships and on-the-job training -- and pairing those with know-how in project management, marketing and communication.
“The trades will tell you that ‘we’re dying for people.’ It would be easy to partner up with community colleges and high schools” to provide that sort of training, she said.
Galante said she’s spoken to small farmers and was told that supply-chain improvements would help them, such as establishing food ports – regional distribution centers where they can bring what they produce.
“We need to focus on the needs of local farms and not just the big producers,” she said.
She said more work needs to be done to expand access to broadband internet by exploring new technologies such as road-adhering fiber and working with telecommunications and electric co-ops.
Galante calls for “cost transparency” in the health care system so patients know the cost of various tests and medical procedures upfront.
Galante also supports passing the Equal Rights Amendment. “It’s long overdue,” she said.
The candidate described her style of addressing problems this way: “I dig in not only on a policy level but on the community level.”
The 18th District includes parts of Fauquier, Culpeper and Warren counties and all of Rappahannock County.
Foster said she felt “relieved” once the returns were in and her win was secured.
“I really worked hard for this,” Foster said.
She said she’ll be taking a break before jumping into the November election campaign.
Foster won slightly more the 74 percent of the vote to just over 25 percent for Kecia Evans of Stafford. She won Fauquier County with 82 percent of the vote.
The 88th District includes part of southern Fauquier County and part of Stafford and Spotsylvania County and part of the city of Fredericksburg.
“I’m running based on the last two years. Since 2017, it’s looked like Virginians really want a change. I think it’s time,” said Foster early in the campaign. She works as a criminal defense attorney.
Foster “seems to hit it right on the topics,” said a voter coming out of M.M. Pierce Elementary School in Remington who didn’t want to give his name. He said he was thinking particularly of what he heard her say about equality and support for child care.
Reach James Ivancic at firstname.lastname@example.org.