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Longtime Republican delegate resigns

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(The Center Square) — Del. Les Adams, R-Pittsylvania County, announced Tuesday that he is resigning from office at the conclusion of his current term on Jan. 9. A special election will be held that same day to fill his seat.

The recount for District 82 between Republican Del. Kim Taylor and Democratic candidate Kimberly Pope Adams may result in a greater advantage for House Democrats, who already hold a 51-49 majority, but Republicans need not worry that Del. Adams’ abdication will.

District 16 is a deeply conservative district, and Del. Adams ran unopposed and won reelection there for a sixth time in November. Gov. Glenn Youngkin won almost 70% of the votes there in 2021.

Two Republican House of Delegates hopefuls already familiar with local politics announced they would be running for Adams’ spot within mere hours of his resignation.

Will Pace has spent his career in politics, though much of it behind the scenes as a congressional aide and legislative assistant to Republican delegates. That changed in 2017, when he was elected to the Chatham Town Council and then elected mayor in July 2018. He is currently a member of the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, appointed to the commission by the governor in 2022.

Eric Phillips sits on the board of directors for the Blue Ridge Boys and Girls Club, the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce and the Uptown Partnership. He also serves as chair of the Martinsville Industrial Development Authority and the Henry County-Martinsville Republican Committee and is a member of the Republican Party of Virginia’s governing board.

Adams will have represented District 16 for 10 years. He expressed his gratitude to his constituents for the “tremendous privilege” of representing them in a statement on Tuesday.

“There has never been a moment when I did not appreciate the significance of this role within our system of self-government. In my stewardship of this office, I strove to consistently display dignity and respect to my constituents and colleagues alike, even during contentious debates, while remaining true to my principles and the communities I represented,” he said.

Included in his statement was his reason for resignation — “so that I may make myself available for another position of service,” though he did not name the office he was seeking or for which he has been selected.

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