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Hayes wins 77th primary

A former Chesapeake City Councilman beat out a Suffolk business owner for the Democratic nomination for the 77th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Cliff Hayes Jr. will be the nominee for the special election set for Nov. 8, the same day as the general election that features a number of other local and national seats, including the presidential election.

He beat LeOtis Williams Tuesday in a “firehouse primary” by an unofficial result of 556 to 469, according to a press release from the House Democratic Caucus.

“I’m excited to represent the 77th House District,” Hayes said.

Hayes served on the Chesapeake City Council from 2004 to 2012. He is a graduate of Oscar Smith High School and Norfolk State University and has a master’s degree in business administration from Cambridge College. He works in information technology at Norfolk Public Schools and formerly worked for the city of Suffolk in the late 1980s.

“I had a great opportunity to work in the city of Suffolk and have family that live there in Suffolk, so I’m looking forward to working with the city of Suffolk and the citizens of Suffolk to see how we can enhance quality of life,” Hayes said.

He thanked those from Suffolk who supported him, including Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett and Councilman Don Goldberg.

“They were my Suffolk coordination, telling my story in the city of Suffolk,” he said. “I look forward to extending those relationships in the city of Suffolk.”

Williams thanked the Suffolk community for supporting him and said he will support Hayes.

“I’d like to thank the citizens of Suffolk, because they really came out in high numbers,” Williams said. “Considering the fact we’re just a small portion of the district, I’m proud of the amount of support I received today.”

“I want to commend Mr. Hayes for a very clean campaign, and I wish him the best, and I plan to support him in his future endeavors as it relates to the district.”

The 77th District seat was formerly occupied by Lionell Spruill Sr. Spruill, who has been a member of the General Assembly for 22 years, stepped down from the 77th District seat to run for the Senate seat vacated by Kenny Alexander, who was elected mayor of Norfolk earlier this year.

The 77th District covers parts of Suffolk and Chesapeake.