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Richmond Mayoral Debate

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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:

Richmond Mayoral Debate

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?”




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.


Written by Ryan Nobles

September 5, 2008 at 3:06 am

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