Thursday, April 27, 2017

May 3 Elections Coming: Candidates Vie For Votes

By Leonard E. Colvin Chief Reporter New Journal and Guide For the next two months, candidates  running  for mayor, city council and school  board will be waging campaigns throughout Hampton Roads. Most candidates seeking to get their names on the May 3 ballot collected the required number of signatures to file paper work by the deadline. […]

By Leonard E. Colvin
Chief Reporter
New Journal and Guide

For the next two months, candidates  running  for mayor, city council and school  board will be waging campaigns throughout Hampton Roads.
Most candidates seeking to get their names on the May 3 ballot collected the required number of signatures to file paper work by the deadline.
For the first  time in seven decades,  the city of Norfolk will allow the voters to elect members of the school board.  In 2014, voters approved a referendum to allow residents to select members of a  seven-member  board using the ward-based system that is used to elect council.
School board members will be elected from each of the city’s seven wards.

On May 3, voters will be filling the  seats for school board based on Superwards 6 and 7 which represent  two halves of the city’s political geography. Residents of Superward 6 are majority White, and Superward 7 residents are mostly African-American to assure fair racial representation on the board.
In Ward 6, the current Vice-Chair of the School Board, Dr. Noelle Gabriel, will be running against Carter C. Smith.
Smith has children in an elementary, middle and high school in Norfolk. A native of Stafford, Virginia, he is a co-owner of a medical safety equipment company.
Rodney Jordan, who is the current Chair of the Norfolk School Board, is running unopposed in Ward 7.

Also, in Norfolk, for the first time in 30 years, Paul Fraim will not be on the  ballot running for a council slot  for Mayor. Fraim announced his retirement from politics last fall. Three candidates are running to replace Fraim, who has held the city’s top political  office since 1994.
Norfolk Sheriff Robert McCabe, current Councilman Andy A. Protogyrou and businessman and State Senator Kenneth C. Alexander are running to become the city’s next mayor.
If Alexander wins,  he will become the first African-American to be mayor in the city.

Norfolk and Virginia Beach are the only two major cities in Hampton Roads which have not elected an African-American as Mayor.
The city’s two Superward seats for council are being contested on May 3.  Sixth Ward Council incumbent Barclay Winn,  who was first elected to council in 2000, is seeking re-election and has two  challengers.

Andria McClellan, who sits on the  city’s Planning Commission,  and former Norfolk School Board member Warren A. Steward are trying to unseat Winn.
Seventh Ward incumbent Angelia Williams-Graves,  Vice Mayor since 2014, has sat on council since 2010.
She is seeking a new term and is being challenged by Rev. Kendrick Turner,  who moved from Newport News to seek a seat on the Norfolk Council. Also Harry D. Candela, another  political newcomer, is running.

Chesapeake

In Chesapeake,   incumbent Mayor Alan Krasnoff, first elected mayor in 2008,  will be running unopposed  in the upcoming election in early May.
There are three open seats on city council and  six people are seeking to be among the top three candidates to acquire enough votes to sit in one of them.  Current council incumbents  Robert Ike, Rick West and Deborah Ritter are seeking to hold on to their respective seats on council.
There are three challengers: Dwight Parker, who is Black and served on council for 15 years; Gene Waters, who served four years on council (2004-2008); and  David Washington, who is African-American and is a political newcomer.

Currently there is only one African-American  on the Chesapeake City Council; Dr. Ella Ward, who is also running  for the 4th  District U.S. Congress seat.
Under the rules of the at-large system of electing council in Chesapeake, the candidates receiving the top three  percentage of votes win a seat on council.
Samuel L. Boone, Jr., C. Jeff Bunn, Thomas L. Mercer Sr., Donna L. Parker and  Victoria L. Profitt are seeking seats on school board this spring.

Franklin

In Franklin, two sitting councilmen  are seeking to replace Raystine Johnson Ashburn as mayor, now that she has chosen not to run for another turn.
Ashburn was the first African-American and woman elected mayor in this majority Black city.
Fourth Ward incumbent Greg McLemore and Ward 6 incumbent Frank Rabil are running to replace Ashburn. Both are in the middle of their current terms in office which will end in 2018.
Franklin has a 4-3 Black majority on council and the Black community’s leadership wants to retain  it. But that may be complicated with McLemore running. Throughout his career on council he has been at odds with his colleagues on council and even residents of his ward and other parts of  the city are concerned about his temperament to be mayor.

Kenneth Sanford, a veteran, withdrew from the mayor’s race. A friend of Sanford said that he left the race,  hoping to  assure the election of McLemore  and avoid splitting the Black vote on election day in early May.
The larger the turnout, the greater chance the Ward 3 incumbent has of winning. Another factor  is who will be appointed to replace either Rabil or McLemore if indeed one of them should ascend to the mayor’s job.

Incumbents in Franklin  Council Wards 1, 2 and 4 are seeking reelection. Barry Cheatham and  Benny Burgess, are  seeking to retain their seats in the 1st and 2nd Wards respectively and doing so unopposed.
African-American  Mona Murphy, who represents the  4th Ward,  is being challenged by businessman and activist Linwood Johnson. Johnson was the leader of the coalition of Black residents seeking to get the council to address the high electric bills from the city-owned utility.

On The Peninsula

On the Peninsula. Newport News Mayor McKinley Price is seeking another term  unopposed.  African-American,  he is the leader  of a council which has a 4-3 Black majority.
There are  three ward seats up for election and the incumbents have challengers.
Ralph Coleman is being challenged again  by Marcellus Harris, Jr. in the Northern District.

Patricia Woodbury is being challenged by Mike Mullins in the Central District.
Tina Vick, the incumbent  in the South District, is being challenged by Nichole Almond Joy and  Akin Muhammad.
In Hampton  incumbent Mayor George Wallace, who is Black, is being challenged by fellow council member  Donnie R. Tuck. The Hampton Council has a 4-3 Black majority.

*****

For the first time, African-American  men will be running for mayor in five Hampton Roads cities.
Senator Kenneth Alexander is running for mayor of Norfolk, which along with Virginia Beach has not elected a Black person to  that post.
In November,  incumbent Mayor Kenneth Wright has three challengers seeking to unseat him during the General Election which will take place in November.
 Former City Manager John Rowe, who was fired by the city council several months ago, will be running. Also, running are businessman Shannon Glover, who moved from Suffolk to seek the job, and Kouakou Ansumane Boudjiho-Bey.

When Rowe announced his intention  to run,  former Portsmouth Sheriff Gary Waters withdrew from the race
Franklin Council member Greg McLemore is running a second time  for mayor in that city.
McKinley Price is running for another term in Newport News and incumbents George Wallace and councilman Donnie Tuck are running for mayor in Hampton.

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