Posts Tagged ‘Richmond Mayor’
We had a little bit of news today in the race for Richmond Mayor. This is our Richmond reporter Rachael DePompa’s day off, she normally covers this on her beat at Decision Richmond. (She has dubbed the event “Endorsement-Gate”)
You may have heard that Delegate Dwight Jones recently earned the endorsement of the Richmond Democratic Committee. This endorsement is more symbolic than it is substantive because candidates for office in the city of Richmond, technically run non-partisan campaigns. In other words, they are not running under the banner of any specific political party.
However, the endorsement of the city committee carries weight because the city is largely democratic and all of the candidates running for mayor consider themselves democrats. There is no doubt that any of these individuals would love to run under the democratic banner, the same banner that will carry Barack Obama’s name come November.
When Jones was given the endorsement, it caused a major uproar, because the committee did not endorse by an up or down vote. This caused the other candidates to cry foul and claim that Jones obtained the endorsement through backroom deals and they leveled many other harsh political terms like “egregious” “inappropriate” and a “conflict of interest”. Candidate Paul Goldman even suggested that Jones not refer to himself as the endorsed candidate until the whole thing gets hashed out.
Goldman, supported by Robert Grey and Bill Pantele has filed a formal appeal to revisit the endorsement, which will be heard tomorrow night. Today he called a press conference along with Grey and Pantele to reiterate his strong opposition to the way the endorsement was handled.
During the press conference, (which was held outside the offices of the Times-Dispatch, apparently in an effort to maximize coverage and leave the paper without an excuse not to cover it). Goldman went as far as to say that if Jones were elected Mayor along with the taint of this unfair endorsement deal, he may not be able to compentently serve the people. Here is his quote:
“We cannot afford to do it wrong because when the next mayor speaks and asks for sacrifice and the people think that he was elected by a tainted process, the people will not follow that Mayor.”
Another interesting side note to this impromptu press conference, was a side story that is indicative of the fight for coverage amongst the 5 candidates for Mayor. Paul Goldman regularly calls press conferences and sends out press releases, many of which never get covered. About a month ago, the opponents in the race started a new tactic where they banded together to hold events, hoping to entice the media to show. (Which worked to a point).
However, given the limits of their time, the candidates don’t often hedge their bets and show up to these events because they don’t want to be left standing around waiting for the media that may never show. Today two of the candidates scheduled to appear were there and one was not. That was until our cameras rolled up (we were the only tv station to cover the event). At that point this particular candidate’s staffer frantically called him and told him it might not be a bad idea if he showed up. He was there within 20 minutes.
I let you decide which candidate of the three in attendance fits which role.
We’ll have pictures from the event during tonight’s 6pm newscast.
There is no doubt the Ana Gamanol story was the dominant political news story in Virginia. It was the most sought after search term that brought people to our web site yesterday. It was perhaps the first time, that a US Senate Race story trumped other political news.
The Times-Dispatch has a nice background piece on the Gamanol Gaffe including some past indiscretions from other campaigns, including Mark Warner’s.
The story also got national attention.
The McCain camp responded to the Biden event in Sterling, with an event of their own featuring two famous wives: Susan Allen and Geri Thompson.
Obama has also dispatched a high profile figure to Richmond on his behalf. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will speak at the University of Richmond at 3:30pm. The Collegian plans to liveblog the event.
In Richmond news, Mayor Wilder offers up a budget compromise, which allows for plenty of fodder for candidates on the City Council.
For the first fall in decades, the city of Richmond is looking at the prospect of spring rolling around without a professional baseball team to root for. This story has major political implications because of the way it has been bandied about by the candidates for mayor of Richmond. (Something my colleague Rachel DePompa has covered extensively on her blog).
The obvious choice for a marriage of baseball for a minor league city like Richmond would be the Washington Nationals. The Nats have been in D.C. since 2005 and have yet to capture the imagination of the beltway crowd. This despite a beautiful new ballpark and plenty of fan amenities (like the big-headed president mascots below).
It would appear that fertile ground where the team could develop fans from would be here in Richmond, only 100 miles away from Nationals Park. It’s a concept that the team’s play-by-play announcer Bob Carpenter talked about on the team’s broadcast last night:
“The obvious place, people would think, would be Richmond, but it’s a whole lot more complicated than that Don. There is no franchise available to put there right now.”
Carpenter was talking to Don Sutton, the former player and the team’s color analyst. Sutton talked about the Braves’ move to Georgia when Carpenter added this:
“Before anyone goes to Richmond, they will have to have written assurance that a new stadium is on the way.”
And so in lies one of the city’s biggest obstacles to bringing in another Triple-A team to Richmond. There is little to no talk about building a brand new stadium to lure a team here. I talked to an official in the Nationals’ organization today and he told me the following.
“Richmond is a great city, but until there is a new stadium there, there is nothing for us to talk about.”
I’ll have a complete report on this topic, including what local fans think of the idea of a Nationals affiliation tonight at 11.
Sorry, for the slow posting today. I have family in town for the NASCAR race and have been busy entertaining at my house, thanks to Hanna!
Anyway, I want to welcome Rachel DePompa, who sits right next to me in the NBC12 newsroom, to the blogosphere. Today she launched the Decision Richmond blog, which will focus on the Richmond Mayor’s race. Rachel blogged extensively at her last station in Roanoke, so I am confident that she will be amazing.
Check it out www.nbc12richmond.wordpress.com.
I will also post from time to time on the Mayor’s race, but Rachel will lead the newsroom in our coverage.
Stay tuned, because I have a major interview coming in the week ahead.
While this blog has been dominated by the Presidential Race we have not lost sight of the fact that there is a race for Mayor. Tonight the candidates met in a debate that was moderated by my colleague Aaron Gilchrist.
In the very near future our Richmond reporter Rachel DePompa will start a blog specifically dedicated to the race for mayor. Another colleague, Andy Jenks covered the tonight’s event. His report is in our 11pm news and he provided this dispatch for our Decision Virginia blog:
How do you adequately report the details of a 2 hour Mayoral debate in a 90 second television story? Very carefully, I suppose. I’m certain that if you put 100 reporters in the room at Thomas Jefferson High School, you’d get 100 very different results. There’s simply too much material and too little time. We can, however, begin to see some commonalities.
The candidates focused on several topics, including experience, baseball, the city jail, homelessness, government cooperation, and transportation. Questions were submitted by audience members and the candidates followed the traditional response/rebuttal guidelines. Sometimes, of course, these “debates” seem more like “joint press conferences” in which each candidate simply tries to deliver the best sound bite within the given time frame. However, I found most of the exchanges quite engaging.
As for a personal favorite, I’ll paraphrase the following exchange involving three of the candidates and our own Aaron Gilchrist, who moderated.
PAUL GOLDMAN: “Maybe it’s about time we had somebody in the Mayor’s office, or on City Council who knew how to balance the budget, maybe even pass a budget!”
BILL PANTELE: “Well, Mr. Goldman, maybe if you hadn’t deleted the enforcement language in the charter that used to be there, none of this would’ve happened.”
AARON GILCHRIST (MODERATOR): “Each of you had two go’s at that, so I’m gonna move on.”
DWIGHT JONES: “Can I get a rebuttal?”
AARON GILCHRIST: “Yes, sir.”
DWIGHT JONES: “I give it to Paul.”
And so it went. Mostly, the candidates stuck to the issues, and it’s certainly healthy to have a thorough discussion of the ways to move Richmond forward. Let’s hope for more of that throughout the next two months.
Richmond Delegate Dwight Jones (who also happens to be a candidate for Mayor), just called me, moments after Governor Kaine’s speech concluded. He was almost overwhelmed by the experience. Del. Jones is the pastor of a fairly large church in Richmond and has been in politics for some time. It is safe to say he has been around a while and witnessed quite a bit. He called tonight “The most incredible experience of his public service career.” This before Barack Obama even comes to the stage.