Here’s the scoop on the 2021 Virginia Senate 38th District special election.
On March 23, voters in southwest Virginia will head to the polls and pick a new state senator.
38th District Special Election 2021: Key Facts
PREVIOUSLY HELD BY: Ben Chafin (R). He was briefly a member of the House of Delegates before being elected to the Virginia Senate in 2014. Chafin contracted COVID-19 in late 2020 and passed away due to complications on January 1, 2021.
LOCATION: The 38th District is one of the most western Senate seats in the commonwealth, deep into southwestern Virginia. It includes such mountain towns as Radford, Tazewell, Castlewood, and Norton. This district borders both Kentucky and West Virginia.
POLITICAL COMPOSITION: How many different ways can you say “red”? It is an overwhelmingly Republican seat, and with the exception of the independent city of Radford, Donald Trump won everywhere in it by a wide margin. Ben Chafin was re-elected here in 2019 with 64 percent of the vote, with no Democrat in the race.
WHO’S RUNNING: Travis Hackworth (R-Cedar Bluff) and Laurie Buchwald (D-Radford). Hackworth is a member of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors. Buchwald previously served as a member of the Radford City Council and ran for the House of Delegates in 2015.
About the Virginia Senate
A flip in this seat would not cause a change in partisan control, but the Republicans holding it would be beneficial in positioning them for the 2021 elections. Democrats have a 21-17 majority in the Senate, with one Independent Republican (Amanda Chase) and this one vacancy.
Virginia Senate 38th District Special Election 2021: Analysis
We consider this as a Safe Republican seat. Hackworth is politically conservative, which is in line with this red, Trump-supporting district. Whomever the Republicans nominated here was likely to win, which puts this part of the commonwealth at odds with much of the rest of it.
Whereas Virginia was once a solid red state, only parts of it still are in 2021. This is one of those parts. A Buchwald win would be a breakthrough of enormous proportions, and one we cannot visualize at present.
38th Senate District Results – March 23
Travis Hackworth (R) held the seat for the Republicans, increasing GOP vote share by over 12 percent from the 2019 election. Democrats did not run a candidate here last time.