In the Floyd County Republican “canvas,” instead of a standard primary, the county race with a contested race is a rematch of incumbent Eric Branscom against Travis Epes for Commonwealth’s Attorney. Epes, who lost to Branscom in earlier primaries is one of three assistants to the Pulaski County Commonwealth’s Attorney and also serves as legal counsel to this county’s Republican Committee.
Branscom, whose career includes legal activity in Southwestern Virginia, in parts of America and in England, became Commonwealth’s Attorney by Appointment by Judge Marcus Long in 2014, replacing Stephanie Shortt, who was appointed juvenile judge for the district. Branscom later won election against two opponents in 2015 and ran unopposed in the 2019 general election..
Judge Long, now retired, writes in a Letter to the Editor to The Roanoke Times:
I spent almost 50 years working in the legal system in Southwest Virginia and I have known Eric for more than 25 years. In his eight years serving Floyd County, I’ve seen the hard work and dedication that makes him one the best commonwealth’s attorneys in the state. He has zealously prosecuted drug dealers, child molesters and other heinous criminals.
Just as importantly, he has gone beyond his duties as commonwealth’s attorney by helping establish the successful operation of an adult drug treatment court in Floyd County which gives drug addicts a second chance in life. His work also led to the creation of a mental program within the judicial system to help those in need and an initiative to assist the elderly when they are the victims of a crime.
Since graduating from William and Mary Law School, Eric has worked in Virginia’s criminal justice system for more than 25 years and experienced many jury trials with great success. I can confidently say that he is one of the brightest attorneys that I have had the pleasure of working with.
I urge each and every voter in Floyd County to support Eric Branscom. His education, experience, intelligence and community involvement make him a consummate commonwealth’s attorney. Above all, he is a good man who cares about Floyd County and the community will be in good hands with Eric Branscom in office.
Branscom has had strong results on sexual abuse cases, meth manufacuring and distribution and crimes against seniors. As the Floyd Press reporter who has covered the Circuit Court cases in the county since 2004, I have found him cooperative and helpful, even when some of my stories have noted losses and failed convictions. Crimes involving abuse of crystal meth and sexual abuse of children have quadrupled in the last decade and he and his staff have won most of them, including the largest drug case in Virginia.
It is unusual for a judge to come out in favor of a candidate. Mark Long put a lot of violent criminals away in Floyd County and he credits Branscom for those accomplishments.
Polls for he canvas are open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Floyd County Public Library. the only polling location also has drive through balloting.