Small business owner enters race for 25th House District

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BRIDGEWATER, Va. (WHSV) — "The fee is paid, the form is filed and so now, it's time to go."

With those words, Chris Runion became the first Republican to enter the race for Virginia's 25th House District less than 24 hours after Del. Steve Landes announced he would not seek reelection.

Bill Kyger, a Rockingham County supervisor, introduced him during a campaign launch on Tuesday at Bridgewater Town Hall.

"I know this man to be just a good, hardworking, decent person," Kyger said.

During a speech, Runion — who lives near Bridgewater — touted his experience as owner of Eddie Edward Signs.

"I share our legacy of long-held Republican and Virginia values," he said.

The 25th district covers portions of southern Rockingham, northern Augusta and western Albemarle counties. Landes, also a Republican, has held onto the seat for more than two decades.

A big issue which will face whoever wins the seat in November is determining a funding source for $2 billion in improvements to Interstate 81 suggested by the state after lawmakers failed to do so during this year's session.

"Many options have been offered out there and some are good, some are bad, some are going to work, some are not. We need to have that conversation and the conversation needs to be comprehensive," Runion said.

District voters will choose a nominee during a firehouse primary on Saturday, April 27.

Democrats Jennifer Kitchen and Lauren Thompson have also announced their intentions to run.

Landes announced on Tuesday he would be a candidate for Augusta County Clerk of Court.