VIRGINIA BEACH — Del. Cheryl Turpin announced Monday she is running for the 7th District of the Virginia Senate.
The seat is currently held by Sen. Frank Wagner, who is not seeking re-election.
“Today we are taking our movement to the State Senate to make sure schools are fully funded, fight to protect our clean air and clean water, and to give everyone access to healthcare,” Turpin wrote in a news release.
Turpin is a freshman delegate who was elected to the 85th District of the House of Delegates in November 2017. She will remain delegate of that district and will not resign as she runs for state Senate, said Daniel McNamara, Turpin’s spokesman.
Turpin will now face-off against candidate Susan Hippen and newcomer Kim Howard in the June Democratic primary for the 7th District senate seat, according to a news release from Turpin’s camp. The only announced Republican candidate is Carolyn Weems.
Turpin’s 2017 election was unexpected, as she had been defeated by then-Del. Rocky Holcomb in 2016.
“In Virginia’s historic 2017 election, Cheryl Turpin surprised many Virginia election watchers when she defeated incumbent Rocky Holcomb to become the Delegate for the 85th district, flipping the only Trump district in the state,” wrote Rachel Bitecofer, a political science professor at Christopher Newport University.
Turpin and Holcomb ran against each other in the last two delegate races for the 85th District — in a 2016 special election after Scott Taylor was elected to Congress, and in the 2017 general election.
Turpin is embroiled in a defamation lawsuit with Scott Presler, a conservative activist who claims he was defamed by Turpin during the 2017 election when Turpin’s campaign ran political ads claiming Presler was a racist associated with hate groups.
Although Holcomb is not a party to the civil suit against Turpin, a picture of Holcomb and Presler was featured in the ads and Holcomb is mentioned throughout Presler’s 37-page civil suit against Turpin. There is no indication from the Turpin camp that Presler’s civil suit factored into her decision not to run for re-election as delegate.