It's official. After a week of counting, Richmond Registrar Kirk Showalter confirms that Dwight C. Jones won six of nine districts to secure the mayoral election.
Election officials spent the better part of a week counting an influx of absentee ballots in the hotly contested Nov. 4 election. The city registrar's office was inundated with 12,000 pre-election day ballots, and they not only had to be counted, but assigned districts where the voters lived. The office also experienced technical problems that held up the count.
Jones won six of nine districts, and edged out runner-up Bill Pantele, who won the 1st, 2nd and 3rd districts, in the popular vote 34,513 to 29,1433.
Voters stay in line at the voting precinct at
“No, it was one of those things where I actually thought we might have more people making an issue out of it but not really,” he says. “I think everyone wants the process to go smoothly. They don't want something where things will slow everyone down.”
Malou Rawls, a Democratic Party volunteer, was in front of the polling place handing out sample ballots.
“I'm actually passing these out for Bill Pantele, he's running for mayor,” says Rawls. “I went to his headquarters after I worked for Obama this morning.”
The turnout was diverse, says precinct worker Jennifer Dodge.
“It's very Democratic. … There's definitely a large numbers of African Americans that come here but it's very diverse," Rawls says. There's a lot of youths coming in and a very large number of middle-aged people coming in who's never voted before so that was exciting." -- Alexander Chang
City election officials say that earlier problems with slow-moving precinct counts are being resolved. But it still promises to be a long night. Workers started counting the more than 12,000 absentee ballots after the polls closed at 7 p.m. Some of the ballots were read by machine, but workers had to count others by hand.
The absentee ballots are especially crucial in the mayoral race, with districts 3 and 5 coming in tight. They could make the difference between a Mayor Dwight Jones, who just stepped into his party at the Paradise Lounge, or a Mayor Bill Pantele, who addressed his supporters earlier tonight about the close results. -- Scott Bass
The election-day upset of Richmond School Board Vice Chairwoman Lisa Dawson has opened a power vacuum on the board. Two members -- one a veteran member and the other a new face -- are vying to fill that vacuum, according to School Board sources.
First district Board member Kimberly M. Bridges and the incoming 3rd Distrcit representative Norma Murdoch-Kitt both have begun campaigns to assume the chairman post, which is now up in the air after the departure of Dawson.
With four new members on the board, and the two most obvious coalitions on the board possibly neutralized after each losing members, who might take the spot may well be a real question.
-- Chris Dovi