Several candidates with criminal records and unconventional pasts are running for legislative office in Virginia, which will hold legislative elections on Tuesday.
Virginia’s legislative elections, in which both Republicans and Democrats are seeking unified control of a currently divided legislature, are being heavily contested, with both parties polling evenly in the race, according to an opinion poll conducted by the University of Mary Washington. Among the candidates running for office include a convicted felon, who is seeking to become the Speaker of the House of Delegates, an owner of a cannabis dispensary and a sexual camera performer who was deserted by fellow Democrats, according to The Daily Wire.
Democratic state Del. Don Scott of the 80th District, the minority leader of the House and head of the Democratic Caucus, is seeking to become the Speaker of the House of Delegates if Democrats win a majority in the chamber, which would require a gain of five seats, according to The Virginian-Pilot. Scott was sentenced to ten years in prison for drug-related offenses in 1994.
Scott, who served seven years before receiving parole, had his voting rights restored by Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia, according to The Daily Wire. He has criticized the administration of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia for removing persons with felony convictions from voter rolls ahead of Tuesday’s election.
“Youngkin’s admin purged nearly 3,400 legal Virginia voters from the rolls in the middle of a battleground election. Every day they stoop to new levels to block people from voting,” Scott tweeted on Oct. 31.
Along with Scott, the Democratic leader of the Virginia Senate, President Pro Tempore Louise Lucas, operates a cannabis store in Portsmouth, Virginia. Lucas is seeking to defend Democrats’ one-seat majority in the upper chamber.
“I’m a 78 year [old] grandma who legalized pot and now has her own cannibis (sic) store,” wrote Lucas on social media, according to Marijuana Moment, adding that “I’m the last thing standing between The GOP and total control of Virginia.” Lucas’ dispensary allegedly sells illegal cannabis products, according to an investigative report by the Virginia Mercury.
Whereas Scott and Lucas both lead the Democratic caucuses in the House and Senate, respectively, and have served for several years, Susanna Gibson is a first-time candidate seeking a House seat in the 57th District. Gibson made international headlines in September after The Washington Post revealed she had performed sexual acts with her husband on camera and uploaded the videos to Chaturbate, a pornographic website.
Gibson, a registered nurse and mother of two children, has defended herself and refused to drop out of the race, though several top Democrats who previously endorsed her have since distanced themselves from her campaign.
Youngkin and state Republicans have sought to make education policy the primary focus of their campaign, indicating they may enact a “school choice” program if granted a majority.
Scott, Lucas and Gibson did not respond to a request for comment.
Arjun Singh on November 4, 2023