By Erich Wagner (File photo)
The race between Delegate Rob Krupicka (D-45) and challenger Jeffrey Engle, an independent, for a seat in Richmond has been quieter than last year’s special election. But both candidates are pounding the pavement to secure votes for Election Day.
Krupicka, a Democrat who won last year to fill former Delegate David Englin’s seat, is approaching the race with an incumbent’s perspective — and in terms of fundraising, it shows. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, he has raised nearly $84,000, compared to just $9,750 for Engle.
Noting the race lacks high-profile debates, Krupicka pointed out in an interview that Engle has not appeared at forums like the one organized earlier this fall by the League of Women Voters of Virginia. But the Democrat continues campaigning, particularly on a one-on-one basis — just not with his opponent.
“You know, I’ve been knocking on all the doors, making a lot of phone calls, just doing everything we can to be visible in the community,” Krupicka said. “I want to hear what people have on their minds right now.”
Among the issues that he and voters share concerns about, Krupicka highlighted the need for new ethics rules for elected officials and what he referred to as the extremism of the state Republican ticket. The delegate also said education — such as improving local school funding — is at the forefront of his campaign.
“I had coffee over in Rosemont [Tuesday], and I heard a lot of concerns about school funding,” Krupicka said. “They’re seeing Fairfax having a lot of struggles with their school funding and the fact that the state has not made up for all of the cuts [to education] over the last five years.”
The Times could not reach Engle for comment, but his campaign website touts his focus on protecting local and state government from “burdensome legislation, regulation and taxation imposed by the federal government.”
The website also mentions Engle’s aim of making Virginia a more attractive place for business and entrepreneurship, through a combination of legislation and fighting excessive taxation.
“[My goal is to] address the existing onerous legislation present within the laws and codes of the commonwealth, in partnership with localities and businesses, to ensure that no other state is better positioned for innovation and economic growth,” Engle wrote.
Meanwhile, Krupicka is banking on his experience.
“I’m running on my record,” he said. “I’ve served the area for nearly 20 years in various capacities. I love my community, and I feel we’ve done a lot of great work together. We need to make our schools better, support the environment and [improve] transportation options, especially mass transit.
“[I] want to make sure we live in a community that gives everyone a fair shot at equality.”