The Virginia Capitol at sunrise. (Ned Oliver/ Virginia Mercury)
Virginia Del. Ronnie Campbell, a Republican who had served in the House of Delegates since 2019, has died of cancer, according to an announcement Tuesday from House Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah.
In a news release, Gilbert called Campbell “a good man and dedicated public servant.”
“A detail from one of my last conversations with Ronnie speaks volumes about the kind of man he was. His biggest worry wasn’t the disease attacking his body, or any concern over what comes next,” Gilbert said. “No, Ronnie was worried that he wouldn’t be able to make it to Richmond to do his job, to be the voice for his constituents that they elected him to be. Just hours before his passing, he was working to see that the legislation he had prepared for the upcoming session wouldn’t fall by the wayside if for some reason he couldn’t be with us.”
An Augusta County native and former state trooper, Campbell represented a western Virginia district that included Rockbridge and Bath counties, the cities of Lexington and Buena Vista and parts of Augusta and Amherst counties. He previously served on the Rockbridge County School Board and Board of Supervisors.
With the General Assembly’s 2023 session just a month away, Campbell’s passing will likely mean another special election in what was already an unusually busy election schedule for the start of the new year.
Two special General Assembly elections are already scheduled for Jan. 10, one to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of longtime Northern Virginia delegate Mark Keam. The other is to fill the vacancy created by the departure of Sen. Jen Kiggans, a Virginia Beach Republican who defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria in last month’s midterm elections.
The recent death of former Rep. Donald McEachin also led to the calling of a Feb. 21 special election to fill the greater Richmond area’s 4th District seat in Congress. Several Democratic members of the General Assembly are vying for that seat.
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