Best Candidate for Mayor of Richmond 

Readers' Pick

Jon Baliles

1st District City Councilman

Second Place: Levar Stoney

Third Place: Roland West

You can sense genuine enthusiasm for this year’s Richmond mayoral race. Maybe that’s because everyone’s sick of presidential politics. Or maybe it’s because the luster of Mayor Dwight Jones’ accomplishments in his two terms — the UCI bike race, the Redskins training camp — wore off around the time the city schools and roads began falling apart. “We need a leader to clean up the mess, be open and honest, and make Richmond work — for all of us,” Councilman Jon Baliles writes in an April fundraising letter. So what’s broken? He laughs, answering, “Accessibility and transparency at City Hall.” Baliles brings a mix of establishment backing (he’s the son of former Gov. Gerald Baliles) and outsider cred (he’s the co-founder, with Ed Trask, of the popular RVA Street Art Festival). Betcha didn’t know he’s also an avid gardener and a rabid fan of British football. But he has plenty of competition in a crowded field of 15 candidates so far. An early favorite made a dent in the voter poll — Levar Stoney, 35, who recently resigned as secretary of the commonwealth to pursue his mayoral bid. As for Roland West, general manager of Off the Hookah and owner of the District 5 bar in the Fan, he isn’t running for office, as far as we know. But if he does, we want an invite to that political party.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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