Democratic nominee Jackie Glass will run against Republican Giovanni Dolmo to fill the 89th House District after Delegate Jay Jones (D-Norfolk) suddenly announced he would vacate the seat. The special election is scheduled for January 11.
“Giovanni is a young, fresh-faced activist who is also an immigrant and a Navy veteran. With his well-rounded background and different perspective, he will connect with voters of all groups across the district,” 89th Legislative District Chairman for the Norfolk GOP Ian Cummings said in a Tuesday evening press release.
“Gratitude to all voters in the 89th that cast a ballot tonight. Asking you to turnout on the drop of a dime is no small ask. I am honored and ready to earn the Jan 11th win. Let’s get to work,” Glass tweeted on Tuesday evening.
Cummings and Republican Party of Norfolk Chairman Bob Brown picked Dolmo.
Norfolk City Democrats held a drive-through convention on Tuesday evening to choose between Glass, Alicia Smith, and Dante’ Walston.
The nomination battle also triggered some local Democratic party drama over who would get to run for the deep-blue seat. Smith quickly picked up important Democratic endorsements from Governor Ralph Northam, Senator Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), Jones, and others. But there were questions about her residency. Before the nomination, Bob Brown’s wife Pam Brown, former chair of the Norfolk GOP, said they would challenge Smith’s voter registration. Pam Brown said Smith changed her registration on December 17 to her mother’s address in Norfolk.
Norfolk City Council Member Andria McClellan appeared about to run for the seat herself before apparently backing another candidate, and then backing Glass.
“FWIW, I had initially agreed to endorse another candidate, simply b/c we needed someone & this train was moving FAST. But after learning that Jackie was willing to run – and knowing her years of stellar work on NORFOLK issues – it was a no brainer,” McClellan tweeted.
Glass got 345 votes, and Smith got 124, Lauren Burke reported on Twitter.
Both Dolmo and Glass are U.S. Navy veterans and tout their community activism.
“Jackie consults with businesses, organizations, and governments to recognize and improve markets and policies influenced by racism, sexism, and classism,” her website states.
Dolmo is currently a pastor.
“I was inspired by my parents, who emigrated here and became proud Americans,” Dolmo, a Honduran immigrant, said in the press release. “It led me to join the military and give back to our country.”
Democrats expect a victory in the special election. In January 2021, in neighboring Norfolk district House District 90, Republican candidate Sylvia Bryant lost to Democrat Angelia Graves who got 63.49 percent of the vote.
Pam Brown told The Virginia Star that low turnout special elections give them a chance — if they can turn out 1,900 hard-line Republicans with a campaign built around phone calls and texts. Norfolk GOP officials see Dolmo’s background as a boost in the diverse 89th district.
Cummings said in the release, “Just like [Gov.-elect] Glenn Youngkin lifted all boats and voters ushered in a Republican wave, we feel confident Giovanni will likewise win over voters here in our city and represent Norfolk well in the House of Delegates as its next delegate.”
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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Giovanni Dolmo” by Giovanni Dolmo. Photo “Jackie Glass” by Jackie Glass.Background Photo “Virginia Capitol” by Martin Kraft. CC BY-SA 3.0.