Delegate Mark Cole will not seek re-election to the Virginia House of Delegates.
The Republican represents the 88th House District, which includes parts of Fauquier, Stafford, and Spotsylvania counties, and Fredericksburg City.
Cole thanked his supporters in a letter he penned on Friday, February 27, we wrote to announce his retirement.
“For more than 20 years, I have been burning the candle at both ends, and it has taken a toll on me. Now is the time to hand the baton to someone else,” wrote Cole.
Keeping taxes low, providing parents more educational options for children, gun rights, and funding for law enforcement were just some of the things for which Cole fought.
In 2019, Cole won his seat, beating Jessica Foster, a Democrat, by 10 points. In Stafford County, Cole won by 1,459 votes.
In January, Cole and three other Republicans were stripped of their committee assignments by House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) after they signed their names to the letter questioning the results of the November 3, 2020, Presidential Election. Cole served on the Education and General Laws committees.
During this year’s General Assembly, nearly all of Coles’ bills–which included legislation to require voters to show ID at polling places and video cameras to be used during ballot counts to ensure election integrity–were all killed by Democrats who control the House of Delegates.
In 2019, Cole won 56% of the vote, handily beating his opponent Jessica Foster, a Manassas lawyer who last week was appointed to a six-year judgeship on the 20th Judicial District, serving Fauquier, Loudoun, and Rappahannock counties.
Cole won Stafford County by 1,453 votes. In Spotsylvania, he did even better, winning by 3,173 votes. In Fauquier, Cole raked in 1,003 more votes than Foster.
Foster was successful in Fredericksburg, where she won that jurisdiction by seven points.
In 2017, Cole ran against three challengers, a Democrat, a Green Party member, and an independent. Cole handily beat all of them, winning with more than half of all votes cast. It was the first and only time Cole faced more than one opponent in his 20-year tenure.
According to the Virginia Department of Elections, Cole won his seat in 2001, beating W.L. Jones, a Democrat, with 65% of the vote. It was the first time in 20 years a Republican-held the seat.
Democrat Thomas Moss, Jr. won the seat in 1982 and held it until he retired in 2001.
In his day job, Cole works as the Spotsylvania County Deputy Administrator.
Cole posted his letter of resignation from the House of Delegates to Twitter.
— Del. Mark Cole (@MarkColeVA) February 27, 2021