Dendron, Carsley seat races in Surry both contested

Published 4:38 pm Monday, August 22, 2022

Two candidates will face off for the opportunity to serve the remainder of Michael Drewry’s term as Surry County’s Dendron District supervisor.

Another two will face off for the remainder of former Supervisor Ronald Howell Jr.’s term in the Carsley District seat.

According to the Surry County Registrar’s Office, Brenton J. Byrd and Abram J. Ketchum both filed nominating petitions bearing the signatures of at least 125 registered Dendron District voters and related documentation by the Aug. 19 deadline to get their names on the Nov. 8 ballot.

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By the same date, Jason C. Fuss and Breyon D. Pierce had both filed nominating petitions and related paperwork to get their names on the ballot for the Carsley District seat.

Drewry resigned his Board of Supervisors seat in July, citing Virginia Bar Association conflict-of-interest rules, after filing a petition in court seeking to overturn the board’s vote to approve a regional biogas facility that would be cited near his home.

Align RNG, a joint venture of Dominion Energy and Smithfield Foods, received the board’s 2-1 approval in June to construct a regional processing facility near the Surry-Sussex county line that would turn methane from hog manure, also known as biogas, into pipeline-quality natural gas. Drewry, who cast the dissenting vote, asks that Surry’s Circuit Court declare the board’s vote “null and void” on grounds that the county Planning Commission allegedly “did not follow” procedures required under state law when vetting the project last fall.

At the time of Drewry’s resignation, he had just under 18 months remaining on his 2019-2023 term.

Howell, who had served as the board’s vice chairman, resigned his seat in April after making a vague reference to circumstances “beyond my control.” Howell’s resignation came less than a year into his first elected term in office. He’d been appointed in 2021 as the late Kenneth Holmes’ successor, standing for election in November that year.

The two special elections to fill the vacant supervisor seats will coincide with a general election, where U.S. Rep. A. Donald McEachin, a Democrat, will have a rematch with Leon Benjamin Sr., his Republican challenger from 2020.

Early in-person voting at the registrar’s office begins Sept. 23.