Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney Wins Re-election

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Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has won another term in office with 38.07 percent of voters, just ahead of the 35.72 percent of voters he won in 2016, according to data from the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) and the City of Richmond. That upper-30s range is also the percent of support the mayor had in recent 2020 polls. In his first term, the mayor faced challenges including poor graduation rates in Richmond schools, controversy over his coliseum project, COVID-19 health and economic concerns, and questions of racial equity around policing and Confederate monuments. Those issues still face the mayor as he enters a second term.

“We will be discussing our specific priorities for a second term in the near future,” Stoney’s Director of Communications James Nolan said in an email. “Suffice it to say, the Mayor will continue to focus on what he has prioritized since his first day in office nearly four years ago: building One Richmond. That is, a city where no matter who you are, where you’re from, how you worship or who you love, you have the opportunity to live out your God-given talents in a place that is inclusive and equitable.”

Since Stoney’s election earlier this week, he has not announced any new initiatives, but his campaign website lists categories of past and future policies for affordable housing, criminal justice, diversity and inclusion, education, public transportation, COVID-19, environmental sustainability, and economic development.

In her campaign, lead challenger Alexsis Rodgers touted similar issues focused on holistic racial equity. In October, she told The Virginia Star, “This year, when the political tides turned, and all of the sudden there was a popular idea to put forward criminal justice and social justice reform issues, that’s when [Stoney] took initiative.”

Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) made a similar observation Wednesday, saying that Stoney’s controversial push to remove Confederate monuments came after years of taking the opposite side.

“He decided the only way to salvage his campaign was to go after the Black vote, that is why he removed the statues,” Morrissey said on Wednesday.

Stoney’s other major challengers Kim Gray and Justin Griffin ran campaigns criticizing the mayor for mismanagement and corruption, including a $1.8 million contract used to remove the monuments.

Gray was thought to be a strong challenger, but she only won one district. Rodgers took two districts, including in Gray’s home district. In district four, also thought to be part of Gray’s base, Stoney beat Gray by 1,160 votes, but Griffin and Rodgers each took over 2,000 votes. Three way splits of the vote also favored Stoney in districts three, six, and seven, according to unofficial results by the City of Richmond.

“There seemed to be a pool of people who didn’t want to vote for Stoney,” pundit Paul Goldman told The Star on Wednesday. “Nobody could [pull] that group around themselves. The group split between three people.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network.  Email tips to [email protected]

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