VIRGINIA BEACH — Rocky Holcomb, chief deputy sheriff here and former state delegate, announced Wednesday that he intends to run for Virginia House of Delegates from the 85th District.
District 85 represents part of Virginia Beach, including the neighborhoods of Lakspur, Aragona, Mpunt Trashmore, Fairfield and Arrowhead.
Holcolmb, a Republican, formerly represented the district, taking the seat after a special election against democratic challenger Cheryl Turpin in January 2017. The special election was prompted by then-Del. Scott Taylor being elected to the U.S. Congress in November 2016.
However, Holcomb’s tenure as delegate was short-lived: He lost reelection to now-Del. Cheryl Turpin in the November 2017 election after a campaign that got personal between the two candidates.
Political ads run by Turpin during her 2017 campaign against Holcomb are at the center of a lawsuit filed by Scott Presler, a conservative activist and vice chairman of Virginia Beach Young Republicans.
Although Holcomb is not a party in the lawsuit, he is mentioned throughout the 37-page filing.
The lawsuit also claims Turpin used an impromptu selfie of Presler and Holcomb taken at a December 2016 campaign event to smear Presler and Holcomb as a racists. The photo was used in an ad that labeled Presler as a “leader of a local hate group.” Turpin has claimed Presler is himself a public citizen, who doesn’t have a right to sue about political ads.
Holcomb denied knowing who Presler was when the photo was taken, and Holcomb was outspoken in his own defense against the political attacks painting him as a racist with homophobic views.
Holcomb said he doesn’t know whether Turpin will try to paint him as a racist during their third delegate race against each other in three years.
“I don’t know what her plan is,” Holcomb said.
In Holcomb’s announcement Wednesday, he placed affordable health care at the center of his platform.
“I’ve talked to young people who say that their deductibles are so high, they’ll never be able to overcome that,” Holcomb said. “Affordable health care is a real issue. We have to somehow real these costs in.”
Holcomb said if elected, he’d like to form a “bi-partisan problem-solving caucus” in the House of Delegates dedicated to tackling long-standing issues effecting Virginians, such as health care costs or criminal justice reform.
“We’ve got to make sure that we don’t just lock folks up (in jail),” Holcomb said. “We need to be rehabilitating these folks before they’re released back into society, because brick and mortar just ain’t getting it done.”
Holcomb said he is currently getting his campaign team together, and called for constituents of the 85th District to look at his record, and that of Turpin and any other candidates, when voting in November.
“I want the voters of the 85th district to be open minded, look at the issues, look at the person, and make their decision not on party affiliation — but on who can better serve the district.”