GOP Virginia Delegate Ronnie Campbell dead from cancer at 68, wife Ellen to run as replacement

A conservative Republican in the Virginia state legislature, Del. Ronnie Campbell, passed away this week at the age of 68 following a battle with cancer, the Conservative Brief reported.

Campbell had won re-election in November to another term in the House of Delegates, and since his death occurred in the interim before Virginia’s General Assembly reconvenes for a new session in January, a special election will be held for voters of the 24th House District to choose a replacement delegate.

“Heartbroken” announcement from the family

Local NBC affiliate WSLS reported Tuesday that Del. Campbell’s death was announced in a statement posted to his official Facebook account.

“We are heartbroken to announce the passing of Delegate Ronnie Campbell, after a hard fought battle with cancer,” the statement said. “Delegate Campbell was a husband, father, grandfather and friend. From his time in the Virginia State Police to his time in the House of Delegates, Ronnie served with honor and relentlessly fought for the best interests of others.

“While he is no longer with us, he will live on in the hearts and minds of everyone touched by him. The family asks for privacy at this time. Arrangements will be made over the next few days,” the statement added.

Condolences for the family

WSLS noted that reactions to the sad news and condolences for the family quickly poured in from Campbell’s friends and colleagues.

“Suzanne and I are saddened to learn of Delegate Campbell’s passing. Ronnie served the Commonwealth he loved in so many ways: as a State Trooper for over two decades, on the Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors & School Board, and in the House of Delegates,” Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) said in a pair of tweets. “He cared deeply about his community, the Commonwealth, law enforcement, and above all his wife, Ellen, and their family. Suzanne and I are praying for the entire Campbell family during this difficult time.”

The Virginia House GOP Leader’s Office said, “Our entire Caucus is saddened at the passing of our friend and colleague Delegate Ronnie Campbell. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

Widow announces campaign to replace late husband

Though Campbell’s friends and loved ones are obviously still grieving the loss, the question remains of who will replace him, and Campbell’s widow, Ellen Campbell, made the surprising announcement on Thursday that she would seek election to represent Virginia’s 24th District in honor of her late husband’s legacy, according to local CBS affiliate WDBJ.

“As our family mourns Ronnie’s passing, we want the residents of Amherst, Augusta, Bath, Buena Vista, Lexington, and Rockbridge to know that Ronnie’s work will not be left undone,” Campbell wrote in a post to her own Facebook page.

“With such a slim Republican majority in the House of Delegates, every single vote matters, and we need a conservative who will uphold the values that Ronnie held so dear,” she continued. “After much prayer and contemplation with our family, I have chosen to carry on Ronnie’s legacy by seeking the Republican nomination for the House of Delegates 24th District. I cannot think of a better way to honor my husband’s memory than to continue where he left off in the House.”

“My campaign will be releasing more information in the coming days once the Governor announces the date of a Special Election, but I felt it was my responsibility to let the residents of our great district know that the conservative representation they had with my husband Ronnie, I plan to continue,” Campbell added.

Dates set for a special election

According to local ABC affiliate WSET, Gov. Youngkin and House Speaker Todd Gilbert announced on Saturday that the special election for constituents of the 24th District to choose the late Del. Campbell’s replacement will be held on Jan. 10, 2023, just one day prior the convening of the General Assembly for a new session.

A filing deadline of Dec. 22 was set for interested parties to formally announce their candidacy, but in light of the fact that Ellen Campbell has already announced her campaign to honor her late husband by replacing him in the House of Delegates, it remains to be seen if anybody else will mount a challenge for that seat.

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