To an intimate group of key, close campaign workers, a few family members and a handful of reporters, City Council President Bill Pantele has conceded the race for mayor of the city of Richmond to Delegate Dwight Jones.
"Richmond is going through a lot of changes," he says in his speech at the Holiday Inn on the Boulevard, and we had a historic election this election season. It's the first time we've had a real contested mayoral election. It was a hard-fought race. It was a clean race. At the conclusion of this race, the outcome was very, very close. ... Even understanding that there were a lot of ... absentee ballots to be counted," he says, he made the decision to call Jones to concede.
"I simply can't put the city of Richmond through a protracted battle. I've given it all that I have because of my love for this city."
In talking with Jones, Pantele says, "I committed to work with him ... to take this city forward. It's the right thing to do. Richmonders expect that of me."
Pantele, a lawyer, gave up his City Council seat to run for mayor, so he won't hold an elected citywide office for at least another four years. When asked, he says he isn't interested in holding a position in the Jones administration.
"My service to the city is not over. We'll see what comes down the pike in the appropriate time."
For official election results as they come in, click here.
At Gallery5, about 175 people listened to Strike Anywhere while results rolled in. Jenny Friar, a nonprofit consultant, voted, but she declined to pull the lever for a mayoral candidate.
“I didn't vote for any mayoral candidates because I didn't like any of them. It was very hard on me not to, because I had such pride in the presidential candidate,” she says. “I wasn't in a mode for picking the least-worst candidate.”
Curtis Grinstead, the musical director at Gallery5, says he voted for Dwight Jones for mayor.
He's not Bill Pantele fan. “I don't care about the party patrol,” Grinstead says. “I would definitely not like to see him be mayor.” — Roberto Curtis
Henrico County Sheriff Michael Wade says he put up McCain signs in the Fairfield District from 8:30 p.m. Monday until 2:30 a.m. Tuesday mornnig, but did so in plain clothes -- jeans and a blazer -- and while driving his personal vehicle.
He says concerns from the Obama campaign that he may have intimidated some voters is bunk.
Wade says he was off duty, and returned today at about noon to repost signs at one voting precinct, at Laburnum Avenue and Harvie Road, where the signs had been knocked over.
“I'm just doing my duty as [Henrico County Republican Committee] chairman,” he says. “I didn't intimidate anybody. It's bullshit. That's spelled B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T. I never spoke to anybody there.” -- Scott Bass
He dropped out in the fourth week of October, but Paul Goldman's still pulling in the numbers. And he's not staying home tonight. He's joined the Election Night party with mayoral candidate Delegate Dwight Jones.
It's not a shock, considering Goldman threw his support to Jones. But what's a little surprising is that Richmond voters apparently didn't realize Goldman was out of the race. So far they've ranked him fourth in the mayoral showdown, and he's even beating architect Lawrence Williams, who stayed in the race.
Dwight Jones may have sealed a victory in the Richmond mayor's race. Results from the Maymont precinct in the 5th District, the poll results of which were outstanding, now are unofficially reported as 2-1 in Jones favor.
Although Richmond officials continue to count some 8,000 absentee ballots, workers with Jones' campaign just walked out of the Richmond registrar's office all smiles.
A couple of City Council appointees are sticking out in the sparse crowd at mayoral candidate Delegate Dwight Jones' party at the Paradise Lounge. Joining in the celebration are Jim Hestor, the city assessor, and Umesh Dalal, city auditor.
Also spotted: City Councilman Bruce Tyler (uncontested tonight), Delegate Joe Morrissey, J.J. Minor, vice president of the City Democrats (and son of City Councilwoman Delores McQuinn) and Henrico County School Board member Lamont Bagby. Also, we see Tom Shields, of the University of Richmond's Jepson School of Leadership Studies. And former commonwealth's attorney David Hicks, in a black leather jacket.
Richmond Voter Registrar Kirk Showalter says that her office's accounting of still outstanding ballots from Tuesday's election already has changed the mayoral race landscape.
After counting all in-person absentee votes for the Third District, that race now appears to be leaning -- just barely -- in favor of presumptive Mayor-elect Dwight Jones.
"That district now favors Jones by seven votes," Showalter says. Previously, election-night results showed Pantele carrying the district by a single vote.
And with 300 city-wide provisional ballots uncounted, and the vast majority of an additional 6,200-plus absentee ballots also yet to be tallied, there could be bigger results shifts yet to be realized, she says.
"I don't think the total votes cast is going to change much, but what could change is whether Mr. Jones in fact attained a majority in five of the Council districts," Showalter says, noting that failure to hold five of the nine districts would mean a run-off election in December. "If something shifts, that's the most likely shift. I always consider it up in the air until the final official results come in."
-- Chris Dovi
The political talk at Crossroads Coffee & Ice Cream on Forest Hill Avenue was all Obama and, to some surprise, City Councilman Marty Jewell.
The 5th district coffee shop, in the shadow of the proposed Patrick Henry charter school, was “like a busy Saturday,” says co-owner Will Herring, adding that his informal browsing turned up a few interesting tidbits.
Perhaps surprising, there was little discussion about the mayor's race in a district that many see as a tossup between Dwight Jones and Bill Pantele. “Nobody seemed to have a clue about [the] mayor,” he says, adding that some voters, even those just retuning from the polls, seemed confused.
As for Jewell, who some think is in serious jeopardy of losing his seat on City Council, the talk seemed indicate he was safe. Jewell is fending off challenges from Mark Brandon and Lee Shewmake, but Herring says the coffee talk favored Jewell.
“Almost to a person, the general feeling seemed to be that Mark and Shewmake would split the vote [against Jewell],” he says. — Chris Dovi