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A Virginia state delegate was pulled over by police Monday evening less than 24 hours before election day after a deputy spotted a woman allegedly removing campaign signs.
Del. Chris Hurst, the Democratic incumbent for the state’s 12th District, was also allegedly driving on a suspended license, according to local reports.
Radford Sheriff Mark Armentrout told News 10 that his deputy cited Durst for “driving while suspended notification.”
The outlet, WSLS, added:
We’re told Hurst was pulled over after a deputy saw a female outside a voting precinct Monday night taking campaign signs, then leaving in Hurst’s vehicle and driving away. Armentrout said Hurst told deputies he was unaware that his license was suspended.
The female in Hurst’s vehicle was asked by deputies to return the signs to the voting precinct. Armentrout said she complied with the order.
WSLS 10 News contacted Hurst’s campaign Monday night for comment. As of Tuesday morning, we have not received a response.
According to Fox News, “Armentrout directed [the network] to the Radford City Police Department for information on why Hurst’s license was suspended. That department said the matter has now been transferred to the Virginia State Police.”
And the VSP told the network that it could not comment on the incident because Hurst is an elected official.
“VSP can only investigate an elected official at the authorization of an elected official,” the department stated.
The Radford City Police did confirm, however, that several campaign signs were damaged. Also, the network identified Hurst’s female companion as Emily Frentress.
“A former journalist, Hurst entered politics after his fiancee, reporter Alison Parker, was shot and killed in 2015 during a live television interview in Moneta, Virginia. He was backed by gun-control groups during his run, but focused his campaign on education and healthcare,” Fox News noted.
In a statement following reports about the incident, Hurst’s GOP challenger, Jason Ballard, said it is “yet another reason why he doesn’t deserve another term as Delegate.”
“I am deeply disappointed that Chris Hurst has decided to end his campaign in such a reckless way. His latest misstep is yet another reason why he doesn’t deserve another term as Delegate,” Ballard said, according to News 10.
“I, on the other hand, will remain laser-focused on the issues that matter most to the people of the 12th District. I will always strive to set a good and positive example for my children and the fine people of the New River Valley,” the outlet continued.
Fox News noted that this isn’t Hurst’s first recent brush with the law. The delegate was pulled over by police last year in Christiansburg after an officer noted he swerved his vehicle. At the time, Hurst blew a 0.085 percent on a blood-alcohol machine, which is above the legal limit, and while struggling with a “walk and turn” test, though he passed other field sobriety tests.
Nevertheless, he was released and told to allow his girlfriend to drive him home, according to The Roanoke Times.
The incident comes as the country is watching closely the Virginia gubernatorial race between former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and GOP challenger Glenn Youngkin. Some observers say it could be a referendum on the Democratic Party and President Joe Biden specifically, as his approval ratings have been cratering in recent weeks.
While McAuliffe led polling early on, Youngkin has made a race of it in the blue state where no Republican has won a statewide election since 2009. In fact, a Fox News poll published last week had Youngkin up by around 8 points, 53-45 percent.
“Education is a top issue, which is usually good news for the Democrats since they are typically seen as more capable in that domain,” said GOP pollster Daron Shaw, who helped conduct the survey. “But Youngkin has turned the issue on its head so it’s about curriculum and parent involvement rather than spending. The result is the GOP is currently preferred on perhaps the critical issue for this election.”