The Republican primary for the 15th District state Senate seat is happening Tuesday in parts of Danville and Pittsylvania County.

Voters can choose between incumbent Frank Ruff and challenger Dale Sturdifen to determine who will be the candidate in the general election Nov. 5. The winner will face off against Democratic challenger Virginia Smith.

Though it is a Republican primary, all registered voters living in the 15th district can participate.

“Any registered voters can vote, regardless of their personal party,” Danville Registrar Peggy Petty said. “There is no party registration in Virginia.”

The 15th Senate district includes parts of Danville and Pittsylvania County, as well as portions of Halifax, Campbell, Brunswick, Dinwiddie and Prince George counties.

The district also contains all of Mecklenburg, Charlotte, Lunenburg and Nottoway counties.

In Danville, registered voters in just two precincts — Coates Recreation Center and Park Avenue Elementary School — will be eligible to vote Tuesday. They include about 4,000 registered voters.

Petty said this is the only time she can recall in her 36 years at the registrar’s office the city only has had two precincts affected by a primary.

“I don’t remember this ever happening,” Petty said.

Following the 2010 U.S. Census, redistricting resulted in a small portion of Danville drawn into the 15th Senate district.

The remainder of the city is in the 20th Senate district, with Bill Stanley in that seat. Stanley, whose seat is up for election, is not facing a primary challenger this year.

In Pittsylvania County, 26 of its 29 precincts will vote in the primary, with only some of the registered voters in each precinct eligible to cast ballots, Registrar Kelly Bailess said.

Only portions of those precincts are in the 15th district.

Before redistricting, the county was in the 19th Senate district. It is now split up between the 15th and 20th districts.

About 31,000 out of about 43,000 registered voters will be eligible to vote in the primary in the county, Bailess said.

“They can refer to their voter cards or they can call us to verify,” she said.

Pittsylvania County Republican Committee Chairman Will Pace said he supports Ruff.

“I don’t see a reason to give up Frank Ruff,” Pace said Sunday. “He is a staunch conservative, and he has a record to prove it.”

Ruff opposes abortion and is a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights, he said.

in addition, Ruff serves on the Senate Finance Committee and is a budget conferee — a part of a team with members from the Senate and the House of Delegates who negotiate the final budget, Pace pointed out.

“He is the only legislator in Southside who is a budget conferee,” he said. “We need him. He’s a champion for Southside Virginia. He’s done a lot for our area.”

Ruff did not respond to a voice message and an email Sunday.

Sturdifen told the Danville Register & Bee he will be traveling throughout the district Tuesday.

“I will be in Danville and Pittsylvania County at some point,” Sturdifen, a former state trooper who served in the U.S. Marines in Operation Desert Storm, said Sunday.

He said his campaign’s momentum has been gaining strength every day.

Ruff and Sturdifen have two different campaign philosophies, Sturdifen said.

“Frank is more in line with getting other politicians to endorse him,” he said. “I’ve been out meeting people.”

In addition to the primary, Tuesday is also the filing deadline for those who wish to run in local elections.

Four seats are up for grabs on the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors.

In the Staunton River District, Tim Dudley is running to replace Elton Blackstock, who is not running for re-election.

Incumbents Bob Warren and Ron Scearce, in the Chatham-Blairs and Westover districts, respectively, face no challengers.

In the Tunstall District, Vic Ingram is attempting to unseat Tim Barber.

On the Pittsylvania County School Board, Chatham-Blairs incumbent Sam Burton is trying to fend off a challenge from Lyndsey Dotterer.

Westover school board member Todd Sanders is facing off against Kevin Mills, while Tunstall member George Henderson and Staunton River member Don Moon are running unchallenged.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Haskins, Sheriff Mike Taylor, and Treasurer Vincent Shorter are all running with no competition.

Robin Coles Goard and Kristin Worsham are vying for commissioner of revenue. Current commissioner Shirley Hammock is not running for reelection.

Crane reports for the Register & Bee. He can be reached at (434) 791-7987.

Crane reports for the Register & Bee. He can be reached at (434) 791-7987.

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Crane reports for the Register & Bee. He can be reached at (434) 791-7987.

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