BRISTOL, Va. — Incumbent state Del. Israel O’Quinn will face opposition in a GOP primary on June 11.
The 39-year-old O’Quinn, R-Bristol, is completing his fourth two-year term representing the 5th District in the House of Delegates. The district includes the cities of Bristol and Galax along with portions of Washington, Smyth and Grayson counties.
O’Quinn will face Michael D. “Oz” Osborne, of Bristol — the same man he defeated in his first bid for office in 2011. Osborne received 30% of the vote running as an independent, compared to O’Quinn’s 69%, in their previous meeting.
“I love our part of the state. I was born, raised and educated here, and it is the honor of a lifetime to represent our part of the state,” O’Quinn said Tuesday, adding legislators from Southwest Virginia often work together to make the region’s voice heard.
“Sometime we have to be creative and fight doubly hard or create alliances with lawmakers from other parts of the state who may have similar problems,” the incumbent said.
Osborne, 61, resides in Washington County and is running to offer voters an alternative.
“I’d like to be a voice of reason for those of faith, and others, who have sincere concerns about the proposed casino in Bristol,” Osborne said. “Other issues of concern are the talk of tolls on I-81 and the virtual monopoly of Ballad Health and the changes that have and will occur as a result. Finally, I’d like to be an aggressive salesperson for Southwest Virginia to attract quality employers that offer jobs we can all be proud of.”
O’Quinn carried legislation that would allow residents of Bristol to vote in referenda on allowing a proposed casino to open and operate in the Bristol Mall.
O’Quinn serves as director of strategic initiatives at K-VA-T Foods, parent company of Food City grocery stores. He is married and a graduate of Emory & Henry College and Patrick Henry High School.
Osborne owns and operates Our Father’s House in Glade Spring, Gospel Book Store on Euclid Avenue in Bristol and Appalachian First-Aid, a CPR training company. He is married with three adult children and is a graduate of Liberty University and Tennessee High School. He also coaches wrestling at Rural Retreat High School.
The 5th District is one of three contested races in Southwest Virginia this spring. In District 4, attorney Will Wampler, of Abingdon, will face David “Peanut” Eaton, a member of the Russell County Board of Supervisors, in a primary election on June 11, according to General Registrar Derek Lyall of Washington County. The winner will succeed Del. Todd Pillion, R-Abingdon.
The June 11 elections will follow the standard Virginia schedule, with polls open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m., and all precincts open, city General Registrar Penny Limburg said. Absentee voting for the primary begins April 26.
In the 40th District Senate race to replace retiring Sen. Bill Carrico, Del. Pillion will face off with Ken Heath, of Marion, at the Republican mass meeting at the Scott County Career and Technical Center in Gate City on April 25.
Among other area lawmakers, Del. Terry Kilgore, R-1st, Del. Will Morefield, R-3rd, and Del. Jeff Campbell, R-6th, are unopposed.