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Taylor fends off Pham to win second term as Henrico prosecutor

Taylor fends off Pham to win second term as Henrico prosecutor

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Democratic incumbent Shannon Taylor fended off Republican Tony Pham on Tuesday to win a second term as Henrico County commonwealth's attorney.

In the other two county constitutional office races, heavily favored incumbent Michael L. Wade won the race for sheriff over James Layne, while Heidi S. Barshinger bested Tinesha M. Jackson in the open race for clerk of court.

In a statement, Taylor thanked her supporters and the attorneys and staff members who work in her office.

“I promise you all that I will continue to work, every day, to keep our community safe and secure and to keep those crime rates going down,” she said. “I promise to keep working smart – to do everything I can to make sure criminals are behind bars, that those suffering from addiction get treatment, that juveniles have the opportunity to get on the right track and those with mental illness get the help they need.”

Taylor first took the seat in a bitterly contested election in 2011. That year, voters on the right split between Bill Janis, a Republican state legislator making an independent run, and GOP candidate Matthew P. Geary. Taylor took the seat with less than 46 percent of the total votes cast. After winning the office, she removed the top echelon of attorneys working there, a move that angered critics.

This contest gave Republicans a chance to reclaim the seat in an off-year election, which traditionally favors the GOP. Pham took aim at Taylor’s leadership, while the Democrat defended her record in the office.

Pham is a counsel for the Richmond Sheriff’s Office. Both candidates worked for years in the Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

Taylor said she wanted more time to push forward a range of initiatives she had already started. Pham vowed to bring greater transparency to the office.

While the two were competitive in many precincts, the polling places that were lopsided fell overwhelmingly in Taylor's favor. She won more than 70 percent of the vote at 25 of the county's more than 90 precincts, almost exclusively in the Fairfield and Varina districts in eastern Henrico. Pham didn't win more than 70 percent of the vote in any precinct, according to preliminary results.

In the sheriff’s race, Wade, the Republican incumbent, finished handily ahead of Layne.

Wade has served in the position for nearly 16 years and was a Henrico police officer for decades. Layne is a lieutenant with the Capitol Police, where he has worked since 1985.

In the clerk’s race, Barshinger, the Republican, had been endorsed by Clerk of Court Yvonne Smith, who is leaving the job after more than two decades.

Barshinger is a former Henrico prosecutor currently in private practice. Jackson, the Democrat, is a paralegal in the county attorney’s office.

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