Democrat to challenge Del. Scott Garrett in Virginia 23rd House District



Alex Rohr / The News & Advance

A Hill City stay-at-home mom and progressive Democrat is seeking her party’s nomination to challenge the 23rd District House of Delegates incumbent.

Natalie Short, 35, told The News & Advance on Wednesday she’s challenging Del. Scott Garrett, R-Lynchburg, who has held the seat that includes much of Lynchburg, Madison Heights and part of Bedford since 2010.

 “I feel like we need to flip the state. I think that there are a lot of people that are in office that have run unopposed for many years,” Short said in a phone interview Wednesday.

Although all five statewide offices are held by Democrats, Republicans control the House of Delegates 66-34. Every member of the House of Delegates is up for re-election Nov. 7 along with races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general and local constitutional offices.

Short, a mother of two, studied political science at a community college in Memphis, Tennessee, but did not graduate. She then attended Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Missoula, Montana, from which she graduated in 2003.

Short, who grew up in a family steeped in Tennessee’s Democratic Party, said she became more personally involved last year during the run-up to the presidential election.

Although she first supported eventual Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, she attended the Democratic Party of Virginia convention as a delegate for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., she said.

She backed Sanders because of his call for universal health care and “all of the progressiveness that he stood for,” including his ignition of grassroots energy. 

Last year, Short also worked for the nonpartisan progressive advocate New Virginia Majority, registering voters in the Lynchburg area.

When asked why she wanted to run, Short recalled a moment registering voters last year at The Daily Bread, a Lynchburg nonprofit serving meals to the homeless. She encouraged a man to register, but he said his vote didn’t matter.

“All the people who think it doesn’t matter, if you all got together and showed up at the polls, could you imagine what that would actually do?” Short said she told him.

Then, she said, he not only registered to vote but encouraged other people to do so.

Short believes health care is a right and supports a broad social safety net. She named universal pre-kindergarten for all Virginians as well as free community college — to address the growing student loan debt problem — to commonwealth residents as among her policy goals.

Although primary races are well under way in other parts of the state, Short is the first candidate in the Lynchburg area to announce a challenge to an incumbent. The House seats in the area all are held by Republicans.

Democrats will nominate candidates for House Districts 23 and 22 — held by Del. Kathy Byron, R-Bedford County — in caucuses May 23, leaving candidates until May 10 to file with the party. Independents may file with the state as late as June 13, the day Virginia scheduled its primaries.



Natalie Short For Delegate
P.O. Box 3554
Lynchburg, VA         24503