Democrat will challenge Pogge for 96th seat

The Virginia Gazette

by Amanda Williams

Kelly DeLucia, candidate for the 96th House of Delegates seat.

Kelly DeLucia, candidate for the 96th House of Delegates seat.

A real estate agent from Yorktown plans to run for the 96th House of Delegates seat up for grabs in November, making her the first democrat to run for the seat since 2007.

Kelly DeLucia is a Yorktown native who said her motivation to run came last November. She announced her candidacy Wednesday.

DeLucia will be going up against incumbent Del. Brenda Pogge, who said she will compete for the seat again this year. The 96th includes part of James City and York counties and seats in the House of Delegates are up for election every two years.

Pogge has held onto it since her win in 2007, which was the only time she ran against a Democrat. Her only other opposition came in 2015 when Brandon Waltrip, an Independent, ran and lost.

“Democracy is all about everybody’s viewpoint being heard,” Pogge said. “I’ll leave it up to my constituents. If they want to rehire me, I’ll be back.”

Pogge said she already has volunteers circulating petitions to put her on the November ballot, but she won’t focus on campaigning until after this General Assembly session ends.

DeLucia said she knows the fight will be difficult — the district has been in Republican hands for two decades — but that it’s important to challenge incumbents.

“What I think is the path to victory is high Democratic turnout and maybe apathetic turnout on Republican side,” DeLucia said. “There are enough democrats in the 96th to beat out Pogge. It's going to be hard but it's going to be doable.”

DeLucia lives in Yorktown with her wife and two infant sons. She said after the November election, she felt it was her responsibility to better the community for her two boys.

She decided running for office was the most effective way to do that.

The November election was her catalyst, but attending the Women’s March on Washington Jan. 21 only boosted her confidence, she said.

“I had decided to run the week after New Year’s, and for me what the march did was put a big stamp of approval on my decision,” DeLucia said. “What we saw in D.C. and across the country with the marches, people are ready to get to work."

That’s why she expects the 2017 election, though in an off year, to have high voter turnout. She thinks people have mobilized in response to the new administration in D.C.  

She said protecting public education is high on her list, along with social equality and protecting the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The next few months will be dedicated to fund raising and creating a campaign team, DeLucia said.

And from there she said it’ll be all about meeting people in the district, convincing them one-by-one that she’s the better option.

"The ground game is where we're going to win," DeLucia said.

Williams can be reached by phone at 757-345-2341.