BLUEFIELD, Va. — The mass nine-county gathering of Democrats originally scheduled for today at Graham High School has been canceled after no one filed by the deadline Tuesday to challenge Democrat Mike Hymes of Tazewell.
That makes Hymes — the current Southern District member of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors — the Democratic nominee for the Aug. 19 special election to fill Virginia’s vacant 38th Senatorial District seat. The closely watched race — that will be decided by nine Southwest Virginia counties — will determine which political party controls the Virginia General Assembly well into 2015. The special election was ordered following the surprise resignation of Democrat Phillip Puckett last week. Puckett’s resignation tipped control of the Virginia Senate to Republicans, who also control the state House of Delegates.
Republicans are scheduled to hold their mass gathering Thursday at 7 p.m. at Nuckolls Hall at the Tazewell County Fairgrounds. Registra-tion for the GOP convention begins at 5 p.m. So far two Repub-lican candidates have contacted the Daily Telegraph to announce their intentions of seeking the GOP nomination. They are former Buchanan County Commonwealth Attorney Tamara Neo and Delegate A. Benton “Ben” Chafin Jr., R-Russell.
Hymes, who was first elected to the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors in 2006 and then re-elected in 2009, is the Democratic nominee, Tazewell County Sheriff Brian Hieatt, who is serving as the chairman of the 38th District Nominating Committee for the Democratic Party, said.
“As a third generation coal miner and an executive with the James River Coal Company, Mike Hymes is the best candidate to protect our coal workers, coal jobs, and our way of life,” Hieatt said. “Democrats, Republicans and independents are really excited about having a true friend of coal running for this seat.”
Hymes said he is looking forward to the Aug. 19 special election.
“I have worked in the coal industry all my life, if people care about protecting our economy and jobs in Southwest Virginia they need to vote for me,” Hymes said.
Hymes is a third generation coal miner. His father and grandfather were coal miners. He was born in Bluefield and spent his early years in a coal camp in Bishop, Va. where his father worked in the mine. His family later moved to Tazewell and Hymes worked in the mines in McDowell County. He is currently the corporate director of Human Resources at James River Coal Company.
"As a supervisor, Mike has led the effort to cut real estate taxes and taxes on small businesses and seniors while increasing teacher pay and funding for the Tazewell County Public school system,” Hieatt said. “Mike knows that educating our children will really help our economy.”
— Contact Charles Owens at email@example.com