Election 2012: VA and RVA highlights
It was close – districts were rolling in one by one until late into the night. The once muffled color of “toss up-yellow” turn red, then redder, and finally, as Richmond City and Fairfax County got the last of their precincts submitted, a lovely shade of blue washed over the commonwealth.
But it wasn’t a progressive victory for everyone. The hotly contested 7th district, home to Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, was an interesting fight to watch.
The 7th district, which encompasses a large area of Central Virginia from north of Richmond City all the way to Page County, has been notoriously red for decades. But a look at historic voting data for the district showed there was some room for a fight this year, with voter margins slipping away from Republicans.
Wayne Powell, a war veteran and friend to the LGBT community, ran on Cantor’s absence in the district, and highlighted Cantor’s connection to national corporate interests. Cantor financially out-raised Powell tenfold, though you still saw a number of Wayne Powell TV Ads throughout the election cycle. Cantor even agreed to a televised debate with Powell, a courtesy the Congressmen hadn’t extended to his opponent in the 2010 election.
But even with a strong showing at the debate, Powell was unable to topple Cantor from his seat, and we have another 2 years under Cantor’s conservative views.
The race for Virginia’s Senate seat was very active in the national spotlight as former Governor Tim Kaine battled former Senator George Allen. Over $82 million was spent between the two candidates, making it the most expensive Senate race in US history. Ad spots were pulling out all the stops on candidates as money from out-of-state groups poured in on both sides.
But Kaine topped Allen as the people of Virginia sided with Kaine – Obamacare, gay-marriage support, and all.
Whether it was Kaine’s political views or his success as Governor that got him the Senate seat, Kaine’s win is a good sign for Virginia’s left.
There were a few shake-ups in Richmond’s City Council elections – 2 members lost their seats to newcomers. Additionally, it continues to be a tight race between incumbent Bruce Tyler and Jonathan Baliles.
Many yards were littered with signs showing support for one candidate or another; door to door campaigning was also prevalent in some neighborhoods.
The Fan District’s seat was fought hard between incumbent Charles Samuels and Fan businessman Charlie Diradour. Samuels was the VA LGBT Democrat’s pick, but Diradour had been making the rounds at LGBT events in the hopes of garnering support. In the end, Samuels, who’s history on the council includes a poorly-received bid to upgrade Monroe Park and a constitutionally questionable sound ordinance, took the lead.
Doug Conners lost his 9th district seat after six years serving on City Council. Michelle R. Mosby, a salon owner and founder of the “Help Me Help You” foundation, which aims to support low income communities, swept Conners with a heavy handed victory.
The race between Tyler and Baililes, both vying for Richmond’s West End 1st district, is still debatably up in the air. Baililes was up by less than 30 votes as of late last night, and Tyler has yet to concede the election.
Long time Council Member Marty Jewell will concede his seat to Parker C. Agelasto, a museum consultant and adjunct University of Virginia professor. Jewell had been in office since 05. He had often been outspoken in support of his district’s minority members, though his legal issues, including a DUI charge in 2009, could have been part of his lack of support.
Mayor Dwight Jones will continue to be Richmond’s Mayor. His opponent Michael Ryan Jr., a Richmond area real-estate professional, barely made a dent with less than 30% of the electorate giving him support. Issues with collecting signatures plagued Ryan early on in his campaign, but the candidate stuck through it till the end.
When examining city council elections, it’s important to remember there is no left or right way to pave a road – but the future of riverfront development, a new stadium for the Flying Squirrels, and numerous other issues await the decree of our 9 elected representatives and our Mayor.
Director Zachary Owen will be looking for three female and two male actors.September 27, 2016
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