GILES COUNTY, Va. – “It’s a bit surreal,” Jason Ballard admitted when asked how it felt to be waking up as the newly elected member of the Virginia House of Delegates representing the 12th District, which includes huge chunks of the New River Valley.
“I figured that we would do well in my home county of Giles, which they certainly delivered. I think we were at 84% last time I looked at the numbers,” he said.
The Virginia Department of Elections website had Ballard winning in his home county, 6,031 votes to 1,299 for his opponent, incumbent Democrat Del. Chris Hurst. Overall, Ballard won by a comfortable ten percentage points over the incumbent in a race that featured a lot of mud-slinging with negative TV advertising.
For his part, Ballard credits good old-fashioned campaigning for the win.
“I didn’t take anything for granted, but I knew that if we tried and we actually got out and met people and they met my family and understood our values and what we’re about. And that we truly just want to help people in our community, we knew that they would come and support us,” he said in a telephone interview with 10 News on the day after the election.
When it comes to the issues that resonated with voters, Ballard believes education and support for police were two of the biggest.
“I said to a few law enforcement officers last night and then today when I was texting them thanking them for their support...That our brave law enforcement officers can stand a little taller and walk a little prouder today because they know that I - along with the Republican majority in the house and our amazing new governor Glenn Youngkin, we will have their backs,” Ballard said.
Hurst didn’t do himself any favors after he was pulled over the night before the election for allegedly tampering with campaign signs. He was also given a warning from police for driving without a valid license. Body camera video of the interaction with the officer released the day after the election shows Hurst playing word games with the officer.
“After watching that very short clip seeing some of the things on the news today, I think it’s unfortunate that Chris doesn’t have the moral courage to admit his mistakes. He was engaging in this debate with a police officer, never really owning up to anything. So I think it’s just unfortunate that you can’t say ‘I was wrong.’ He hasn’t done that and I don’t know that he ever will,” Ballard said. “I think what he needs to do is take some time to reflect on his life. And really just work on himself and make good and positive changes in his own life.”
As to his future, Ballard says he is pleased to be representing the district in Richmond.
“I’m excited to get to Richmond. I’m excited to represent the amazing people in the 12th district in the New River Valley. So obviously I’ll be the new guy on the block. I want to go in with a clean slate. I want to go in eyes wide open and understand all the issues and really just work to represent the people of this district. ... I have no loyalties or allegiances to anyone and my only job as the delegate from the 12th district is to represent the people of the mid to 12 district to the best of my ability. And that’s what I intend to do,” Ballard said.