Mulchi wins special election, earns District 9 State Senate seat

The roads flooded, the power went out and allegedly at least one tornado passed through the area. But in the middle of all this, 19,710 people went out to polling places in State Senate District 9 and cast a ballot. In the end, it was Republican Tammy Mulchi picking up the win with 63.85% of the vote. She collected 12,585 votes to Democrat Tina Younger’s 7,101.

The redrawn District 9 seat now covers Lunenburg, Charlotte, Halifax, Mecklenburg, Nottoway and Pittsylvania counties, along with the city of Danville and most of Prince Edward County, excluding the town of Farmville. Out of those, Mulchi carried every county, with Younger winning in the city of Danville. In Prince Edward, Mulchi won with 325 votes, compared to 288 for Younger. Mulchi took three of the five precincts in Prince Edward, winning Darlington Heights, Lockett and Leigh. Younger won by one vote each in Mount Pleasant and Hampden. 

The newly elected state senator, who was endorsed by her predecessor Frank Ruff, offered thanks to the residents who came out in rough conditions and voted for her. 

“I am deeply grateful and honored by the support from the people of the 9th District,” Mulchi said. “Through it has been a short campaign, I look forward to continuing to meet so many of you in our communities and main streets across the district. In Richmond, I am ready to get to work for our rural communities, family farmers and Southern Virginia. I know I have big shoes to fill with Sen. Ruff retiring, but I am ready to get to work. Thank you.” 

Work for Mulchi starts now 

And Mulchi’s work starts almost immediately. She heads to Richmond Wednesday to take her seat, as the General Assembly begins its session. It’s already a full agenda, with a budget to vote on and several tax bills. Among them is the latest request from Prince Edward supervisors, asking the Assembly’s permission to raise sales tax by 1% to help pay for renovations at Prince Edward Elementary. Del. Tommy Wright pre-filed the bill back in the fall and in her Q & A with The Herald, Mulchi said she would support the bill if asked. 

“I have discussed the history of this attempt by the Prince Edward Board of Supervisors to implement a 1% sales tax to cover school renovations with Senator Ruff,” Mulchi said in the Q & A. “Knowing the history of Delegate Edmunds legislation that passed to add 1% to the sales tax for Halifax with a referendum of the voters and knowing that Danville, Pittsylvania, and Mecklenburg all have the same, I would support Prince Edward’s efforts if asked to do so.” 

As for Mulchi’s background, aside from serving on the Clarksville Town Council, the Mecklenburg County native worked previously as both a legislative aide to Sen. Ruff and Del. Tommy Wright. Ruff also endorsed Mulchi’s bid as we mentioned before, saying she “understands the issues facing our communities.” Mulchi is also a realtor in Clarksville and has a connection to this region through her daughter, Brittany Barnes, a fourth grade teacher in Blackstone. 

Stepping away   

State Sen. Frank Ruff announced his plans to retire and vacate the seat last month, due to his ongoing battle with cancer. 

Ruff had been elected to his first term as District 9’s state senator back in November. Previously, he served as senator for District 15, a position he had been in since November 2000, but thanks to the redrawn electoral maps, he was moved out of District 15 and now resides in the District 9 area.

Prior to serving in the State Senate, he represented the 61st District in the Virginia House of Delegates and the Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors before that. He also helped found the GO Virginia economic group, served as Chairman of the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission and as Chairman of the Center for Rural Virginia. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin wants to rename the Center in Ruff’s honor during this Assembly session. 

It has been the honor of my life to represent and serve the people of our communities,” Ruff said in a statement to The Herald at the time of his retirement announcement. “I am, and will forever be, deeply grateful to the people who have entrusted me to represent them in Richmond. As our region has always been and will continue to be my home, I look forward to thanking them in person over the years to come.” 

But now, Ruff said, as he fights cancer, it’s time to focus on family. 

“I am looking forward to spending a lot more time with (my wife) Jessie, my four children and four grandchildren,” Ruff said.

He talks some more about his decision to retire here.

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