ABINGDON, Va. — Will Wampler III won his first race for public office Tuesday, capturing the 4th District House of Delegates seat over Democrat Starla Kiser.
Wampler, the 28-year-old grandson of former U.S. Rep. William Wampler and son of former state Sen. William Wampler Jr., maintained the family tradition. Wampler received 14,382 unofficial votes Tuesday, or 62.9%, compared to 8,458, 37%, for Kiser, a Coeburn physician. He will succeed Del. Todd Pillion, R-Abingdon, who won the state Senate seat of retiring Sen. Bill Carrico on Tuesday.
Multiple attempts to speak with Wampler on Tuesday night were unsuccessful.
A Bristol, Virginia native, Wampler now practices law and lives in Abingdon. The district includes Dickenson County and portions of Washington, Russell and Wise counties.
Wampler captured three of the district’s four counties, winning Wise County with 71% of the vote, while receiving 68% in Washington County and 66% in Russell County. Kiser, a native of Dickenson County, narrowly won that county with 52.3% to 47.6% for Wampler.
During the campaign, Wampler focused more on issues than his family’s political lineage, touting his role in helping create GO Virginia, a new statewide economic development initiative. Kiser voiced concerns about health care and service emerging from the merger that led to the creation of Ballad Health and bringing better-paying jobs to the region.
Wampler said earlier that his top priority is finding ways to improve the economy.
“What I talk to people about is economic development and economic revitalization — I’m talking about the creation of new, high-paying jobs for people here,” he said in a previous interview with the Herald Courier. “Traditionally, our strength has been a natural resource-based economy, but to move into another century of growth, we’ve got to protect those industries but diversify in a way there would be new industry to hire future generations of Southwest Virginians.”
Elsewhere in Southwest Virginia, incumbent Jeff Campbell, R-Marion, retained his 6th District House seat. Campbell, an attorney, received 16,877 unofficial votes, or 75.3% compared to 5,490, or 24.5%, for Democratic challenger Jim Barker.
That district includes Carroll and Wythe counties plus part of Smyth County.
Across the rest of the region, 1st District Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, 3rd District Del. Will Morefield, R-N. Tazewell, and 5th District Del. Israel O’Quinn, R-Bristol, were reelected without opposition.