Special Election: Early voting starts in District 9 State Senate race

Published 11:08 am Tuesday, January 2, 2024

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Lunenburg County residents have just under a week to choose their next state senator. Early voting started Tuesday, Jan. 2 in the special election for the District 9 State Senate seat, with residents choosing between Republican Tammy Mulchi and Democrat Tina Wyatt Younger. 

Both women are competing to fill the seat currently held by Sen. Frank Ruff, who is retiring on Tuesday, Jan. 9 due to his battle with cancer. Ruff collected 92.5% of the vote in November’s election for the redrawn District 9 seat, which now covers Lunenburg, Charlotte, Halifax, Mecklenburg, Nottoway and Pittsylvania counties, along with the city of Danville and most of Prince Edward County, excluding the town of Farmville. 

Now the special election in this race is set for Tuesday, Jan. 9, but just like any regular election, you can vote early. To do that, you just go to your registrar’s office. Click here to find it. Here in Lunenburg County, that’s located at 160 Courthouse Square. If you decide to wait until next Tuesday, then you simply vote at your regular polling place, which will be open until 7 p.m. 

Both candidates competed in packed elections to get to this position, with a crowd of challengers competing. On the Republican side, it all happened at one location. District 9 voters were asked to drive out to the Drakes Branch Fire Department in Charlotte County for a mass meeting. Democrats, meanwhile, held a firehouse primary, choosing seven locations spread out across the district where people could go and cast a ballot. 

District 9 State Senate candidates

On the Republican side, the candidate is Tammy Mulchi. Aside from serving on the Clarksville Town Council, the Mecklenburg County native worked previously as both a legislative aide to Sen. Ruff and Del. Tommy Wright. Ruff also endorsed Mulchi’s bid, saying she “understands the issues facing our communities.” Mulchi is also a realtor in Clarksville and has a connection to this region through her daughter, Brittany Barnes, a fourth grade teacher in Blackstone. In the Republican mass meeting, Mulchi took first place in each of the three rounds, before a crowd of 833 voters. She finally beat second place Dale Sturdifen, Congressman Bob Good’s field director, by 50 votes, in a round that saw 500 votes cast.  

On the Democratic side, the candidate is former South Boston Vice Mayor Tina Wyatt Younger. Younger picked up the win in the party’s firehouse primary, collecting 89 total votes. Current Danville Vice Mayor Gary P. Miller came in second with 82 votes, while Trudy Berry, the former legal services specialist with the U.S. Air Force who ran against Ruff in this past November’s election, received 39 votes. 

So who is Tina Wyatt Younger? She is a former South Boston Town Council member, having served from 2012-2020. During her time on council, she served as a representative to the Virginia Municipal League, helped develop concepts for a Small Business Emergency Loan Program during the pandemic and served as a community volunteer for both the Halifax High Marching Band Boosters and the Prizery Community Arts Center Foundation, along with others.