District 56 race grows, as Miles launches write-in campaign
Published 2:39 am Monday, October 9, 2023
Less than a month before Election Day, there’s a new candidate entering the race for the District 56 seat in the House of Delegates. On Saturday, Oct. 7, Buckingham County supervisor Jordan Miles III launched a write-in campaign.
Now this race, like several in the region, can be a bit confusing thanks to redistricting. Del. John McGuire represents the current version of the district, which goes away in November. Thanks to redistricting, the new version includes all of Appomattox, Buckingham and Cumberland counties, with parts of Prince Edward, Fluvanna, Goochland and Louisa added as well. That means it’ll also have a new representative, no matter who gets elected. Since June, Thomas Garrett has been the only candidate in the race, having beat out Kevin Bailey and Jennie Wood in the Republican primary.
Now Garrett will have an opponent, with Miles rejoining a competition he briefly was a part of earlier this year. Miles withdrew from consideration as a Democratic candidate for the seat this past spring, before any primaries. By June, there were no Democrats left running for the seat, which is why Miles said he’s decided to put his name back in.
Choices for District 56 voters
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Everyone needs to have a choice, Miles said.
“I entered the race to give people a choice, just like I did in 2019 when I ran for county supervisor,” Miles said. “I think it’s important for the sake of democracy for people to have options when they’re voting for someone to represent them in all levels of government – local, state and federal. Options are important when voting – a cornerstone of our American process that should be protected. Options are crucial when integrity is on the ballot of this district.”
This marks the second political campaign for the Buckingham County native, who serves on the Buckingham Chamber of Commerce and works as director of nutrition and transportation at Piedmont Senior Resources Area Agency on Aging. Miles won the District 4 seat on the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors in November 2019. He announced earlier this fall that he wouldn’t be seeking a second term in that role.
In terms of the state race, however, he faces a bit of an uphill battle. Looking at past data, the newly redrawn District 56 seems to run heavily Republican. In the 2022 race for the U.S. House, 63.1% of residents in the new District 56 voted Republican, with 36.8% going for the Democrat.
Miles says he recognizes it’ll be a challenge.
“When I ran for County Supervisor, as a moderate Democrat, I knew it would be an uphill battle as my district was and is much like the political makeup of this House district,” Miles said. “Just as I did in 2019, it’s important we emphasize the importance of good governance and policy making that includes everyone.”
Detailing a platform
Miles added that he believes people across the district want many of the same things.
“When you listen to people’s lived experiences, and their successes and struggles, it becomes less about politics and more about the similarities we all have, no matter our ideological leanings,” Miles said. “This includes fully funding and supporting our schools, protecting women’s reproductive rights, investing in access to greater access to public transportation and infrastructure, increasing support systems for our older adults, and building better, healthier communities with more jobs.”
When asked about the challenges of a write-in campaign, as the candidate has to remind people to put their name on the ballot, Miles said it’s not that different from regular campaigning.
“Just like when you run and you’re on the ballot, you speak to each person, one at a time,” Miles said.