One closely followed race in the local elections for Virginia Beach was that of
the position of sheriff. Ken Stolle, the Republican-endorsed incumbent candidate, previously served in the Virginia Senate as the Republican Leader Pro Tempore for the 8th Senatorial District. During this time, he abolished parole, strengthened DUI penalties and created stricter penalties for gang activity.
Additionally, Stolle served as an intelligence officer for the United States Naval Reserve. During the election, Stolle received 62.95% of the votes, or 96,730 votes to win the position for his fourth term.
In a statement after the election, Stolle said he was honored to be elected again. “Votes are not given, they are earned, and I will work every day to continue to earn the support of this community, uphold the public trust, and make Virginia Beach a better, safer place,” Stolle said.
The Democratic-endorsed candidate for sheriff, Antonio Passaro Jr., is a Virginia Wesleyan alumnus. He is also a former Virginia State Trooper and is currently a full-time professor at Tidewater Community College.
After visiting the VWU campus to speak on Sept. 16, records were released on Facebook by the Virginia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #8 and highlighted by Stolle that showed that Passaro had been released from the Virginia State Troopers for claims of malfeasance.
Passaro received 36.71% of the votes, equaling 56,410 votes.
Junior Abby Peterson, vice chair of the College Republicans student organization, commented on the results. “Ken Stolle winning his re-election as Virginia Beach Sheriff is unsurprising as he has done much for community outreach and standing up for the police force in Virginia
Beach,” Peterson said.
Republican candidates had strong support in the other local elections as well. In the election for Commonwealth’s Attorney, Republican Colin Stolle ran unopposed and received 96.60% of the votes, or 128,694 votes.
Stolle has been serving as Commonwealth’s Attorney since he was elected in
2013. His work at the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s began after he graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1992.
Leigh Henderson, the Republican endorsed candidate, received 62.38% of
the votes for Treasurer. The 94,398 votes gave her the seat over Democrat Laura Wood Habr, who received 56,377 votes for 37.26% of the total. Henderson serves on the Board of Trustees for the VACo/VML
Virginia Investment Pool (VIP) and is a member of the Treasurer’s Association of Virginia. Habr has been owning and operating Croc’s 19th Street Bistro for over 25 years and started the first non-profit market
(Old Beach Farmers Market) in Virginia Beach. She is also the founder of the ViBe Creative District.
In the race for Commissioner of Revenue, Democratic-endorsed candidate
Philip J. Kellam, won with 86,347 votes. He has served as Commissioner of Revenue since 1998. With 56.21% of the votes, Kellam won over the Republican-endorsed candidate, Ben Loyola Jr., who received 43.51% of the votes equaling 66,845 votes.
Overall, the local elections reflect the major shift for the Republican Party that can be seen throughout the state. “I think the flip from Democrat to Republican in Virginia Beach is a reflection of unhappiness with the Democratic Party and with Joe Biden’s policies,” Peterson said.
BY RHIAN TRAMONTANA