On September 23, the Charlie Nave for House of Delegates campaign held a fundraiser at SafeSide Tactical in Roanoke. There were thirty-some attendees, including several families with children. Two notable guests included current House of Delegates members Chris Head (R-17th) and Nick Rush (R-7th).
At the moment I entered the room, Del. Rush was delivering a stump speech in support of Nave, who is seeking to unseat incumbent Salam “Sam” Rasoul (D) in the 11th District, which covers most of Roanoke City. Rasoul was the first Muslim member of the Virginia House of Delegates. Seeking to inspire the crowd, Rush assured the attendees that the race is very winnable and that “Politics isn’t complicated, it’s just hard. It takes a lot of work.”
Del. Rush lives in Christiansburg, and the district he has represented since his election in 2011 includes Montgomery, Pulaski, and Floyd Counties. After the event, Rush added these comments for the record: “I support Charlie, because he’s working very hard to change the One Party Rule in Richmond. We had a good turnout tonight.”
Being a Republican from the NRV, Del. Rush also had positive comments about Jason Ballard, an Iraq veteran who is challenging incumbent Chris Hurst (D) in the other NRV district, the 12th. Hurst won notoriety for running on a “public safety” platform in 2017 then in 2020 being caught by Christiansburg police for drunk driving. Fueling what many perceive as a “two-tiered justice system,” Hurst got off scot-free, thanks to a handy loophole in the Virginia Constitution that members of the State Senate and House of Delegates cannot be arrested when the General Assembly is in session. (I am not making this up.) Despite repeated calls to do so, Hurst has refused to step down from his position despite his drunk driving scandal.
Curious about what motivated some folks to come out to Safeside Tactical on a chilly weeknight, I asked a few attendees why they were supporting Nave for Delegate.
Melanie Rice of Roanoke is a part of the Nave campaign. When asked about her involvement, she replied: “Roanoke City hasn’t had any representation from the conservative point of view for a long time, so one-half of Roanoke has not been represented locally or statewide. There is so much we can’t do in Roanoke, until we make changes in Richmond.” As an example, Rice mentioned the need to have all school boards elected, and not appointed by politicians.
(Disclosure: Last summer I reached out to leaders on both sides of that school board issue in Roanoke, offering them this column as a place to share their position and reasoning, but no one took me up on the offer.)
Maynard Keller serves as treasurer for the Nave campaign. “I want to see change in the City of Roanoke,” Keller observed. “Basically, we have had One Party Rule for too long, and we’ve seen the disastrous results of that. I believe there’s a better way.”
Speaking for himself, candidate Nave had this to say about his campaign so far. “Tonight was our third event. There has been a whole lot of wonderful support. There was an event with Congressman Ben Cline, then one with Bob Good, and now tonight (….)”
“It’s been very encouraging the way the Party has coalesced, but it’s sad it’s taken a crisis to make it happen.”
Mindful of the myriad, heartbreaking crises engulfing our city, state, nation and world, I asked him, “Which crisis are you referring to?”
Nave responded: “All over the Commonwealth there are problems. Here in Roanoke, we have a spiraling, out of control crime problem that City Council is either unable or unwilling to address. One Party Rule has led to the fourth member of City Council since I moved to Roanoke seventeen years ago being on the wrong side of the law. It’s that kind of leadership that’s put us in this bad situation.”
I have met Del. Rasoul before and found him to be affable, engaging, and helpful. In fact, he once helped arrange a visit with the staff of Attorney General Mark Herring (D) when Herring’s office had kept stonewalling requests for such a meeting with Roanoke students on a civics field trip to Richmond. (Herring is also running for re-election this year.) For Del. Rasoul’s support I was and remain grateful. Still, Rasoul’s pale-green campaign signs tout “LOVE” as a part of his platform, but how does one square “LOVE” with the rising tide of violence and homelessness we have been seeing in Roanoke City these past few years?
How does “LOVE” square with Rasoul’s anti-2A record that hinders people from defending themselves?
And how does “LOVE” square with the rabid pro-abortion voting record Rasoul has racked up?
Are Roanoke City and Virginia going in the right or wrong direction?
What will you do about it?
– Scott Dreyer