Turpin, former state delegate, to drop out of race for Rose Hall seat on Virginia Beach City Council

Cheryl Turpin [Courtesy]

VIRGINIA BEACH — Cheryl Turpin, a Democrat and a former member of the House of Delegates, is no longer running for a City Council seat in Virginia Beach.

As first reported by The Independent News, Turpin put in paperwork at the filing deadline last month to challenge City Councilmember Michael Berlucchi in the Rose Hall District.

However, Turpin on Thursday, July 10, announced she will no longer run due to family concerns.

“At this time, I must intensify my advocacy on behalf of my mother, who is 87 years old and suffering from cognitive changes, as challenges attached to the current Covid-19 crisis increase,” Turpin said in a statement posted to social media.

After speaking with loved ones and advisors, she added that “I came to the conclusion that I would not be able to run a campaign and provide the attention that my mother deserves at this time.” 

Turpin is a science teacher in Virginia Beach, and she served one term as a state delegate representing the 85thDistrict. This past year, Turpin unsuccessfully sought to represent the Virginia Senate in the 7thDistrict seat that came open after the retirement of Frank Wagner. Turpin lost in a close race to now-state Sen. Jen Kiggans, a Republican.

In her statement, Turpin said she will work to support candidates who value schools, public safety and environmental issues, including dealing with the pressing concern of flooding. She did not immediately return a call seeking comment on Friday, July 10.

Turpin had not filed paperwork to withdraw from the race as of Friday, July 11, according to the Virginia Beach Voter Registration & Elections Department, though ballots for the November general election have not yet been printing.

Berlucchi was appointed to the Rose Hall District seat in May 2019 after the resignation of former City Councilmember Shannon Kane, whose family moved out of the district. In November, Berlucchi won a special election to represent the seat until the end of the term Kane had begun.

Berlucchi, the community outreach director for the Chrysler Museum of Art, faces two remaining challengers as he seeks his first full four-year term in office.

The challengers are Conrad Schesventer, who works at an Oceanfront hotel and who Berlucchi defeated in the special election last year, and Garry Hubbard, a U.S. Navy veteran who is retired from the construction business. Berlucchi in 2019 defeated Schesventer by earning nearly 76 percent of the vote in the special election, according to official returns reported by the state elections department.

Berlucchi said he had spoken by phone with Turpin, though he wanted to keep that conversation between them. He said his goal – to keep representing citizens by serving them on the council – remains the same.

“It’s the greatest privilege of my lifetime to serve the people of Virginia Beach on the City Council,” he said on Friday, July 11. “That’s what I’m going to continue to do – to serve every Virginia Beach resident and ask for their support.”

Hubbard, who said he has supported Turpin in a past campaign, on Friday, July 10, said he spoke recently by phone with her about her decision to leave the race.

“I told Cheryl, ‘You know, I hate that you’re dropping out, but I understand,’” Hubbard said, adding that he had tried to talk her into staying in the race for the Rose Hall seat.

“She has to make the best decision for herself,” Hubbard said. “I have her in my thoughts and prayers.”

Schesventer on Friday, July 10, said he, too, had spoken with Turpin, who he wished well.

“I know that she wanted to run for the seat to bring council closer to Richmond, and I believe she could do that,” Schesventer said, noting her service as a member of the General Assembly.

Yet he understood the challenges of running for public office while needing to care for family.

“I also respect that decision,” Schesventer said, adding that he plans to continue his campaign and prepare for the November election.

© 2020 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

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