By Carol Vaughn
Del. Rob Bloxom faces a challenge for the Republican nomination in the next election, after redistricting resulted in a second incumbent in the newly redrawn 100th district.
Bloxom, 59, has represented the district in the House of Delegates since 2014, when he won a special election.
Del. Tim Anderson, a freshman Republican from Virginia Beach, who currently represents the 83rd district, is seeking the nomination.
“We’ve had a discussion between the two of us and his intentions are to run,” Bloxom said.
The two will face off, likely in a primary next summer, to determine who will receive the GOP nomination.
Anderson said Bloxom “has a very left-leaning voting history” in recent years and that his own views will “resonate more” with Eastern Shore voters.
Bloxom, who lives near Parksley, owns Shore Tire & Auto in Onley, two NAPA Auto Parts stores, and Egret Pointe Seafood Company.
Anderson is an attorney and small business owner.
With the redrawn lines, around 52% of the district’s population is on the Eastern Shore and 48% in Virginia Beach, Bloxom said.
“We tend to vote heavier than they do,” Bloxom said, noting the military presence in Hampton Roads means some residents there are not registered to vote in Virginia.
Bloxom said, typically, when redistricting results in two incumbents having potential to compete for the same seat, “you defer to the senior member and/or you go with the … majority of the district — and I have both.”
Still, Bloxom said Anderson “has every right to run and he has every intention to run, so we’re just going to go, I guess, head to head.”
Bloxom noted Anderson’s record for getting legislation passed “is 0 for 25.”
Bloxom spoke about the Shore’s history of representation in Richmond.
“We’ve had representation from the Eastern Shore in the seat of government since the House of Burgesses. I don’t think the Eastern Shore people are going to want to give that up. It’s not about Republican; it’s not about Democrat — I think it’s more about us.”
Bloxom noted Virginia Beach has additional representatives in the General Assembly.
“Virginia Beach has four delegates and one senator … so they have representation. We would have nothing,” he said, adding, “If it’s me or someone else from the Eastern Shore — I want somebody from the Shore to be in Richmond.”
Bloxom said after redistricting “there’s a possibility, albeit slight — because some people are moving — but if no one moved, we could have 50% new senators and new delegates. That is chaos; that is awful for government.”
Anderson’s campaign website, timforva.com, includes on its homepage the statement, “The 100th District Needs a 100% True Conservative!”
“I am the delegate for Virginia Beach and the district is, population-wise, about 45% Virginia Beach and 55% Eastern Shore, so the district that I’m competing in is my current district in Virginia Beach,” Anderson said in a telephone interview.
Anderson said he and Bloxom “have substantially different views on a variety of issues and I think that my views eventually will resonate more with the Eastern Shore population, specifically on menhaden fishing.”
Bloxom said Anderson “is trying to score political points and trying to stir up controversy” with a call to ban menhaden fishing in the Bay.
The General Assembly in 2020, in legislation sponsored by Sen. Lynwood Lewis, handed oversight of the fishery to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. Bloxom voted against the legislation and said this week he thought the General Assembly should have kept oversight of the fishery.
Still, he praised the VMRC’s decision to limit discussion of the menhaden fishery to two meetings per year.
After a commercial fish spill off Northampton in July, Anderson wrote in a Facebook post, “There is a right side and wrong side of reduction fish in the Chesapeake Bay. Current Eastern Shore elected officials who are not trying to stop reduction fishing in the Chesapeake Bay are on the wrong side.”
Bloxom said he called Omega Protein more than once about the cleanup of its July 5 spill, including with concern about a dumpster full of dead fish left at Morley’s Wharf for several days.
Still, Bloxom said, according to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, menhaden are not currently being overfished.
Anderson also spoke about differences between the candidates on the topic of education, saying Bloxom voted against legislation that would allow homeschooled children to participate in public school athletics, something Anderson supports.
“Delegate Bloxom has a lot of bad votes,” Anderson said, describing Bloxom as having a “very left-leaning voting history in the General Assembly over the past seven years. In a primary, a Republican primary, we’re going to talk about that at length.”
Anderson noted he won the June 2021 primary against incumbent Chris Stolle.
Anderson won that race with 1,479 votes to Stolle’s 1,455.
“The people that voted for me last year I think will still vote for me next year, so I will hold Virginia Beach and I think we’ll pick up a significant amount of people on the Eastern Shore,” Anderson said.