Forest, VA - Jefferson's Assembly, a two decade tradition was held once again Thursday. Candidates for state senate and assembly seats spoke to members of the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce at Poplar Forest.
The chamber holds the event to allow their members to make up their own minds; the chamber not endorsing one specific candidate.
Among the candidates in the crowd were two women vying for a hotly contested 22nd House of Delegates seat.
Kathy Byron and Katie Webb Cyphert were both in attendance, attempting to get each and every vote.
It's a race being closely watched, with fundraising numbers making waves throughout Virginia.
Incumbent Kathy Byron, has held the 22nd district seat since 1998. And in 10 years, she's never had a challenger. That is, until now.
Steps away from the old and historic home of Thomas Jefferson, a new candidate, in a hotly contested race spoke to the crowd.
Katie Webb Cyphert, a Lynchburg City School teacher and first time politician is challenging eight term Republican delegate, Kathy Byron.
Byron hasn't had an opponent in more than a decade.
"I think people are just excited once again to have choices on the ballot this year, to have different policies that are being put forth and hopefully to have some good representation" said Cyphert.
And Cyphert is gunning for that seat; she's got the cash to prove it. She leads Byron by $8,000 this year in fundraising, and her cash on hand ranks 7th in the state among house challengers.
"It's not a surprise to me. When you become an effective legislator that produces results, you're going to have people that decide to run against you" said Byron.
Byron's fundraising is impressive; nearly $95,000 this year alone. She's not worried about a challenge and says she sees her victory as a necessity for the state.
"This is a fundamental year for Virginia and we don't want to end up like the states to the north" she said.
"I've been really excited again by the momentum behind it, the support we've received from people all throughout the community and throughout the region" said Cyphert.
No formal debate between the two candidates has been finalized. Both women though say they're open to the idea.
The 22nd house seat includes parts of Lynchburg, Campbell, Bedford, and Franklin Counties.