Dickenson County man files lawsuit against Gov. Ralph Northam over state senate race

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Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 10:04 AM EST
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DICKENSON COUNTY, Va. (WYMT) - Attorneys for one Southwest Virginia man not pleased with the timeline for a special election to fill a vacant state senate seat filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the state’s governor.

The vacancy comes following the death of 38th District State Senator Ben Chafin from COVID-19 on January 1st. Earlier this week, Governor Ralph Northam set the date for the special election to fill the seat for March 23rd. The 38th Senate District covers several Southwest Virginia counties, including Dickenson, Buchanan, part of Wise and the City of Norton.

Court documents show Andrew Rose from Clintwood claims the date will “divest the petitioner of representation in the Virginia Senate during the 2021 General Assembly.”

Attorneys for Rose cite other cases where special elections by other state lawmakers were set for less than 30 days from the date of the vacancy and this one would be more than two months after Sen. Chafin’s death. Attorneys state in the lawsuit the goal in this case is to get Gov. Northam to move up the date to sooner than the one already scheduled.

The Virginia General Assembly started its session on Wednesday. It is only expected to last for 30 days.

We have reached out to Gov. Northam’s office for a comment on the lawsuit.

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