Category Archives: Elections – City

Wade and Pinkston outraise Brown in City Council primary race

(This installment was first posted as part of the June 2, 2021 edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement)

The latest campaign finance reports have been filed with the Virginia Department of Elections, as reported by the Virginia Public Access Project.  Let’s start with Albemarle County.

Incumbent Jack Jouett District Supervisor Diantha McKeel raised an additional $6,522 during the period and spent $9, leaving her campaign with a balance of $32,056 as of May 27. McKeel is a Democrat who currently faces no opposition on the November 2 ballot for a third term.

Incumbent Rio District Supervisor Ned Gallaway raised $10,150 in the period, with $10,000 of that coming from a single corporate donor known as Seminole Trail Management LLC. Gallaway spent $5 in the period and has a cash balance of $15,809. Gallaway is a Democrat who currently has no opposition on the November 2 ballot for a second term.

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Wade and Pinkston lead campaign finance race; Albemarle Supervisors candidates all running unopposed

(This segment originally was part of the June 2, 2021 installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement)

The latest campaign finance reports have been filed with the Virginia Department of Elections, as reported by the Virginia Public Access Project.  Let’s start with Albemarle County.

Incumbent Jack Jouett District Supervisor Diantha McKeel raised an additional $6,522 during the period and spent $9, leaving her campaign with a balance of $32,056 as of May 27. McKeel is a Democrat who currently faces no opposition on the November 2 ballot for a third term.

Incumbent Rio District Supervisor Ned Gallaway raised $10,150 in the period, with $10,000 of that coming from a single corporate donor known as Seminole Trail Management LLC. Gallaway spent $5 in the period and has a cash balance of $15,809. Gallaway is a Democrat who currently has no opposition on the November 2 ballot for a second term.

Newcomer Jim Andrews raised $10,139 during the period, including a $5,000 contribution from John Grisham. He spent $4,180 during the period with the majority of that going to pay for his campaign manager, Patty Haling.  Andrews has a balance of $30,507 as of May 27. Andrews is running as a Democrat and currently faces no opposition on the November 2 ballot. The winner of the race will succeed two-term incumbent Liz Palmer.

Andrews announced his campaign on May 13. That’s covered in the May 14 edition of this program.

In Charlottesville, Brian Pinkston reported $29,098 in contributions, including $7,325 in in-kind contributions. That means someone or some business offered services or a product for campaign purposes. In-kind donations include $3,500 from Lifeview Marketing LLC and $2,750 from Local Jurisdiction Consulting LLC. Pinkston also loaned himself $8,348 and raised $13,425 in cash. The candidate spent $29,763 during the period and had an ending balance of $24,074. 

Juandiego Wade raised $13,126 during the period, all in cash. The top donor is the Realtors Political Action Committee of Virginia. He spent $22,151 and had an ending balance of $32,626. 

Carl Brown raised significantly less money with $1,675. He spent $979 and had a balance of $720 as of May 27, 2021. 

Independent Yas Washington reported no money raised or spent with no cash balance. VPAP did not have any report for Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker, an independent who announced in late May that she would seek an additional term. 

Four Democrats introduce themselves to Fry’s Spring neighborhood at Council candidates forum

Hello! And welcome to the first election podcast of the 2021 season. I’m Sean Tubbs, the host and producer of the Charlottesville Community Engagement newsletter, and this is an edited audio version of the Fry’s Spring Neighborhood Association Candidates Forum held on March 10, 2021. The full recording will be made available  by the Fry’s Spring Neighborhood association, and you may have heard or read parts of it in the March 11, 2021 edition of the newsletter.  

Edited audio from the forum.

This is an attempt to get as much of the candidates’ words out there as possible. Edits are made for audio cohesion to make it a better listening experience, and to provide a little context from time to time. 

“Welcome everyone, thank you for joining us, we really appreciate the four candidates, the filed candidates for the Democratic nomination for City Council joining us tonight for our neighborhood meeting,” said Jason Halbert, the president of the Fry’s Spring Neighborhood Association. The group has a tradition of inviting candidates to their meeting and this is the first chance anyone in the community had to hear all four explain a little bit about who they are and what their vision is for Charlottesville. 

The candidates are:

Even though this forum was held on Zoom, the format was similar to other forums. If you’ve never heard one before, they usually begin with opening statements.

“We’ll just do some three-minute intros beginning with Carl followed by Yas, then Juan and Brian,” Halbert said. “I rolled a die to determine the order and we’d just love to hear what neighborhood you’re in and what your top priority is to be on Council. You’ll have three minutes each.”

For the full event, you will have to listen to the audio. On to the next newsletter!

Here, though, are the first five questions.

Question 1: What practical steps do you think you can take if you’re on Council to bring more transparency to the capital planning process so that neighborhoods and neighborhood leaders understand and can reflect back to their neighbors where these projects lie as a priority for the city?

Question 2: How do we balance the need for affordable housing… with the need to have infrastructure? 

Question 3: “If you are on Council, how would you work with people with whom you disagree?”

In years past, these meetings were held in the basement of the Cherry Avenue Christian Church. But in the almost-spring of 2021, this forum was held online which meant interaction between candidates and participants in the virtual channel. 

Question 4: “How do you feel about raising the property tax rate?”

Question 5: “What are your thoughts on the ward system for Council relations? How can neighborhood associations make sure they are heard?”

School Board veteran Juandiego Wade announced bid for Charlottesville City Council

The race for two seats on the Charlottesville City Council began today with the first candidate to announce a run.

“My name is Juandiego Wade and it is my honor to announce my candidacy for Charlottesville City Council,” Wade said. Wade has been a member of the School Board since 2006, the first year there were elections for those positions. He’s won re-election three times since. 

Juandiego Wade made his announcement in a Facebook Live video with his wife and daughter at his side

“I know the greatness that Charlottesville possesses, the greatness of its citizens, its staff, its organizations,” Wade said. He’s been an Albemarle County employee for thirty years and has served as the co-chair of the Community Working Group put together by University of Virginia President Jim Ryan.

“I believe to have demonstrated leadership and knowledge of local government which will allow me to hit the ground running,” Wade said.

So far, Wade is the only challenger to announce, though Mayor Nikuyah Walker announced last February she would seek a separate term. However, Walker is an independent whereas Wade is seeking one of two Democratic nominations in the June 8 primary. 

After the announcement, Wade took questions from reporters. The first from Nolan Stout of the Daily Progress asked what issues Wade wanted to discuss during the campaign.

“My platform, my areas would be criminal justice reform, I’d like to see how that could reimagined and I think that we can do that if we work together as a community,” Wade said. “Affordable and workforce housing, public education, and the economy and I feel like with those areas I’m experienced in particular with education, and the economy as a career counselor working with the local shops and business owners for the last ten years in my current capacity with the county.”

Wade’s discussion with reporters was happening at the same time City Council continued to meet in closed session to discuss hiring a new city manager. A search firm is no longer working on behalf of the city to identify applicants. Wade didn’t want to directly address what Council should do, but did say that as a School Board member, he has worked closely with Superintendent Rosa Atkins, who has been in her position since July 2006. 

“When you get a good leader, you have to support them and that’s something that I’m used to and that I understand,” Wade said. “Not that you don’t challenge your leaders with questions and ideas from time to time, but it has to be a team mentality.”

From that perspective, Wade said he understood what Council is experiencing. 

“Governing, leading under the best of circumstances is a really difficult job and we’re not in a perfect situation now,” Wade said. “I can imagine the leaders, the current leaders of Charlottesville, they have some difficult decisions to make.” 

He said his time as an elected official in Charlottesville has prepared him to make choices when the time comes. 

“Over the years, on the School Board for the last 16 years, we have made some really difficult decisions and it got pretty heated and we got pretty short with each other but that’s part of it,” Wade said. “We get into this field to make those difficult decisions and that’s why we were elected to do that.” 

Aside from calls to closed session, Council has not had a meeting yet this year and skipped one scheduled for January 4. They will meet tomorrow as part of a joint meeting with the Planning Commission. They had been originally been scheduled to discuss the Capital Improvement Program for next Fiscal Year, but that has been postponed to February. 

One big ticket item for consideration by the current or a future Council is whether to move forward with at least $50 million to reconfigure schools for 5th through 8th grade. This next comment comes from Wade the School Board member who has to vote on a budget request to send to Council.

“We will need to look at the budget just like in every year,” Wade said. “We have a great relationship with the city government working with public works and the City Manager’s office to move forward because they know just like we do that when we have great schools and modern schools that that is a plus for the city. That that is going to draw businesses and residents in and so I know that they want to do it.”

So far, Wade is the only announced challenger. He said he would wait to see who else seeks the Democratic nomination. 

“Until we get two nominees, I just want to talk about my vision and listen and I think that I can do that I will hopefully be one of the seats come next November that will be able to serve the city,” Wade said. 

Bekah Saxon, the co-chair of the Charlottesville Democratic Committee, said the current plan is for local Democrats to select nominees in the June 8 primary.

“We are excited to see how the candidates emerge and are committed to making sure voters are able to learn about the entire slate of candidates in the Democratic primary in the months leading up to the primary,” Saxon said in a message to me this morning. 

Local election campaigns are often community events where people gather together. For at least the first part of this race, things will be a little different. I asked Juandiego Wade to talk about how the pandemic will affect the race. 

“You know, Charlottesville is all about relationships and some of those things that that a candidate can really do well on is having those meet and greets in people’s neighbors’ living rooms and kitchens and things like that,” Wade said. “I don’t think that may be possible this time around but what I do imagine is that maybe meeting as the weather warms up in someone’s backyard, or a big area where people can spread out and we can talk. But certainly Zoom will be part of that for this campaign. If there are public forums people want to come to, that it just may have to be socially distanced when people meet.” 

Some other information on the candidate. Wade is a native of Richmond, graduated from Norfolk State University in 1988 and the University of Virginia in 1990. In 2019, the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce honored him with the Paul Goodloe McIntire Award. According to his campaign website, he has been married to Claudette Grant since 1993 and then have one daughter who attends James Madison University.

This story was originally published as part of the January 11, 2021 edition of the Charlottesville Community Engagement newsletter.

Snook leads Council campaign finance race

Attorney Lloyd Snook is well in front in the campaign finance race for Charlottesville City Council.

Snook reported $28,433 in contributions in the first quarter of 2019, according to campaign finance data published by the Virginia Public Access Project.

Snook received 53 cash contributions with amounts more than $100, including four $1,000 receipts. Former City Councilor Julian Taliaferro is among the donors in that category.

So far, Snook’s campaign has spent the money on campaign promotion materials through a company called The Blue Deal, as well as $1,000 to rent Bashir’s on the Downtown Mall.

Sena Magill raised $7,872 in the period, including six contributions over $100. Former City Councilors Meredith Richards and George Gilliam are included in that list.

Magill started the year with a balance of $11,723, including a $10,000 gift from Sonjia Smith. Her $4,625 in itemized expenditures include a $1,663 payment to herself as a vendor.

Brian Pinkston raised $10,182 in the period, including 25 donations of more than $100, totalling $6,785. Former City Councilors Meredith Richards, Elizabeth “Bitsy” Waters, Tom Vandever, and George Gilliam donated to the Pinkston campaign.

So far, Pinkston has spent $2,211 on the campaign, including $999 to himself as a vendor.

Michael Payne raised $9,281 in the period including 19 donations over $100.

Bellamy Brown, an independent candidate who joined the race in late March, reported $50 in the period.

VPAP did not list any data for former Councilor Bob Fenwick, who is also in the race for three Democratic nominations.

Neither John Edward Hall or Paul Long, independents in the race, raised any money in the first quarter of the year.

Albemarle County Supervisor Races

VPAP also lists data for Albemarle County, including the contested race for the Democratic nomination for Albemarle County. Incumbent Norman Dill declined to seek a second term.

Bea LaPisto Kirtley raised $7,350 in the period, including $5,000 from Sonjia Smith.

Jerrod Smith raised $4,906 in the first quarter.

In the open Scottsville seat, Democrat Donna Price raised $1,026 while Republican Mike Hallahan raised $2,500.

Incumbent Ann Mallek raised no money in the first quarter, but reported a campaign finance account balance of $2,658. She currently faces no challengers.