Del. Amanda Batten seeks another term — this time in a redrawn district

August 9, 2023

By BEN SWENSON | Virginia Gazette correspondent

PUBLISHED: August 9, 2023 at 9:50 a.m. | UPDATED: August 9, 2023 at 10:26 a.m.

Del. Amanda Batten said she is eager to serve constituents for a third term in the House of Delegates. Challenger Jessica Anderson believes the formerly-safe Republican seat is much more competitive because of statewide redistricting.

Every 10 years, officials redraw districts for all 140 General Assembly seats based on U.S. Census figures. Until her term expires early next year, Batten represents the 96th House District, which includes parts of James City and York counties. General Assembly elections on Nov. 7 will fill seats in the redrawn districts.

Batten resides in the new 71st House District, which no longer includes York County, but instead comprises portions of James City County, New Kent County and Williamsburg.

Batten said losing York County is unfortunate, but she’s ready to represent new constituents.

“I live geographically almost dead center” of the redrawn district, close to New Kent County, Batten said.

Batten believes Williamsburg is a logical addition to the redrawn district, and while everyone thinks their own community is special, she said the Historic Triangle is truly a unique place.

According to Batten, she initially ran for office in 2019 to serve her neighbors as a legislator, having gained ample experience behind the scenes as a legislative aide.

Four years later, she said, she’s running on the strong record of her first two terms. Her elevation to leadership status among House Republicans — she is now caucus chair — will help her more effectively serve constituents, she said.

Batten said that she’s deeply committed to the priorities that constituents bring to her, and to determining the needs of the community and advocating on their behalf.

Anderson, meanwhile, believes that she brings to voters a resonant story and message that will give her the upper hand in November.

“I can speak to the issues in a very real way that (Batten) can’t,” Anderson said.

According to Anderson, the catalyst for her foray into politics was the end of her first marriage and, prior to her remarriage in 2017, navigating the subsequent fallout as a single mother. She had to access the social safety net, an experience she describes as humbling.

“The system is not set up to want people to be successful, to grow and get off the system,” she said.

Anderson said her work in the public school system has given her a firsthand look at many other families in similar circumstances for whom legislative decisions are harming.

The Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol compelled Anderson to be more conspicuous in her political advocacy, she said. She began speaking out in public forums and racked up substantial followings on politically-themed social media accounts.

Both campaigns are busy fundraising and door-knocking in the 71st House District. The candidates both say they welcome the opportunity for a vigorous political contest.

“I have a legislative record — votes I’ve cast and legislation I’ve carried,” Batten said.

“When someone asks me a question, I answer it,” Anderson said. “I don’t play games or speak political jargon.”


Del. Amanda Batten, Republican (incumbent)

Age: 44

Residence: River’s Bend at Uncle’s Neck, James City County

Family: Husband, Richard; one son

Occupation: Delegate for the 96th District since 2019

Political experience: Has served two terms in the House of Delegates; formerly a staffer for Sen. Tommy Norment and then Del. Brenda Pogge

Education: Bachelor of Arts in social science (Ashford University); Associate of Arts (Frederick Community College, Frederick, Maryland)



Jessica Anderson
Jessica Anderson

Jessica Anderson, Democrat

Age: 41

Residence: Westmoreland, James City County

Family: Husband, David; three daughters; one stepdaughter; one stepson

Profession: Administrative assistant, Matthew Whaley Elementary School

Political experience: First run for public office

Education: Associate of Arts in business administration (Thomas Nelson Community College)


Ben Swenson, [email protected]