Clark outspends Joyce in House District 84 Democratic primary

Published 4:57 pm Friday, June 16, 2023

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As of eight days ahead of the June 20 primary elections, Del. Nadarius Clark had substantially outspent challenger Michele Joyce of Smithfield in their race for the new 84th House of Delegates District’s Democratic nomination.

Clark, as of June 12, had raised just under $361,000 and spent just over $255,000. Joyce, as of June 11, had raised just under $50,000 and spent just over $27,000, according to campaign finance reports filed by each candidate.

Joyce’s reports show $25,000 to date from Dominion Energy, while Clark’s show $202,500 from Clean Virginia, a Charlottesville-based political action committee with the stated purpose of “fighting utility monopoly corruption in Virginia politics.” The PAC’s website contends Virginians have been “kept in the dark” about “how Dominion and Appalachian Power dictate our energy policy.”

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Clark, who at age 26 made history in 2021 by becoming the youngest Democrat in the General Assembly’s history and the first-ever African American to represent the 79th District, has received $15,000 to date from the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, a coalition of 22 General Assembly members with the stated purpose of improving the economic, educational, political and social conditions of African Americans and underrepresented groups in Virginia. Prior to Clark’s election, he’d organized Black Lives Matter protests in Richmond and Hampton Roads in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

Clark, in March, resigned from the 79th House District seat and relocated from Portsmouth to Suffolk. The 84th, created during the 2021 redistricting process based on the 2020 Census, spans the Isle of Wight County-Suffolk border, with Suffolk accounting for roughly 77% of the district’s voters. The district also includes the city of Franklin and a small area of Chesapeake.

Joyce, a computer scientist, previously ran as a Democrat in 2019 in hopes of representing Isle Wight County in the House of Delegates, but she lost to incumbent Del. Emily Brewer, R-Isle of Wight. Prior to 2021 redistricting, Isle of Wight had been part of the strongly Republican 64th District, which stretched from the southeastern edge of Suffolk through Isle of Wight, Surry and Prince George counties.

Whoever wins the Democratic nomination will in November face either Rod Thompson or Mike Dillender, who are each vying in a separate June 20 primary for the Republican nomination.

Dillender, as of June 12, had raised just over $89,000 and spent just over $58,000. Thompson had raised just over $22,000 and spent just under $18,000.