Friday, June 23, 2017

Spruill, Lindsey Square Off This Saturday In Democratic Primary

By Leonard E. Colvin
Chief Reporter
New Journal and Guide

Norfolk and Chesapeake residents who live in the boundaries of the 5th Senate District will  be participating  in the  Democratic Fire House Caucus Primary July 9 to determine who will be the Democratic nominee. Virginia State House Delegates  Lionell Spruill of Chesapeake and Joseph Lindsey of Norfolk  will be the two names  on the ballot for the Democratic Party.

Since there is no  viable Republican contender to be nominated, local political operatives say the winner  of Saturday’s contest is expected to be elected the next 5th District senator during the November 8 General Election. The two men are seeking  to replace Kenneth C. Alexander, who was sworn in as the city  of Norfolk mayor’s on July 1. The 5th District includes precincts in both cities. Over half of them are in Chesapeake.

Individuals who are registered voters in the district will be allowed to participate in the  fire house primary which will take place from 10 a.m. to 2  p.m. There will be only one site for Norfolk residents to vote: the Kroc Center  at Princess Anne Road and Ballentine Blvd.  In Chesapeake, it will be at Camelot Elementary School and the  Indian River Library.
The contest has pitted long time political and party allies against each other and has tested alliances for the  men in both cities.

lionell spruill official
Spruill  is the senior member of the House of  Delegates where he has represented Chesapeake’s 70th House District for 22 years. He was first elected in 1994. Lindsey, a Norfolk attorney,  represents Norfolk’s 90th District and brings two years of state legislative experience to the position. A native of Norfolk, he replaced  former house delegate  Algie Howell in 2014 when Howell, who now sits on the state Pardons and Parole Board, stepped down.

Both candidates are touting their support for education, economic development and  transportation as key issues they are concerned about for not only for the  two cities which make up the 5th District but region-wide. Spruill is  sporting his legislative  experience and his support for Norfolk State University and his broad political connections about the region, state and nation.

joe lindsey
Lindsey, who is well-connected within Norfolk’s political circles, lists his support for local education, public safety and civil rights  during his two years in the lower house of the Virginia General Assembly. Many in Norfolk have long deemed the 5th District as a “Norfolk Seat”  because it has been held by two African-American politicians from Norfolk since 1987; first by the late Senator Yvonne Miller until her death in 2012, and then her protégé, Alexander.

But Spruill and Democratic  Party operatives claim that the 5th Senate District, as the other 47 Senate Districts, is composed of more than one city. “There are  over nine million people in Virginia,” said one party operative who asked  that their  name not be used for this article. “So you have to have multiple cities in these  districts to adequately represent all of those people.”

Both camps realize that a turn-out-the-vote effort will be critical during the four-hour window for district residents  to  go to the polls. After the July 9th Primary Caucus, the question then will be raised: who will replace the winner? Spruill said if he should win, he would support former Chesapeake  Councilman Democratic  Party operative  Cliff Hayes to replace him. Lindsey has not indicated who he would like  to replace him if the political  fortunes fall his way.

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