I’m fascinated by the Richmond mayoral race. The characters, the issues, the jockeying for position — it’s all fun to watch, and it’s important. This election will have far-reaching and immediate effects on our city.
So doing my civic duty, I’ve been engaged. I attended the mayoral forum held by the Kiwanis Club on Sept. 12. Two days later, I got tipsy and live-streamed the mayoral forum held by The Richmond Times-Dispatch. A few weeks ago, as I shared in this column, I had beers with Levar Stoney. (You’re next, Joe Morrissey. I hope you like tequila.)
What I’m saying is, I now feel qualified to give a completely biased, somewhat researched, crass and probably unfair power ranking, with betting odds, of Richmond’s eight mayoral candidates. And no, I haven’t been offered any form of payola from any candidate, which is disappointing, because I can be bought fairly easily.
1. Joe Morrissey (4-1) — After he surprised a lot of people by handily dominating the Christopher Newport University poll released Aug. 30 — which may be the only poll we see in this race — he’s harder not to take seriously. Despite fellow candidate Lawrence Williams implying that Morrissey has exploited the black community, a large swath of black voters seem to love the guy. Plus, he’s sharp. That’s the word that comes to mind. The personal stuff, his love life, the punching another lawyer — it doesn’t bother me as much as I suppose it should. I mean, who hasn’t wanted to punch a lawyer?
2. Jon Baliles (6-1) — The Richmond Times-Dispatch calls him “a thinking man, subtle and often original.” I don’t disagree. I’m a little biased because I’ve known this fellow Trinity Episcopal School Titan for a long time, and I like the guy — but don’t hold that against him. He’s certainly been around politics long enough, growing up in the Executive Mansion, working for Doug Wilder. But those things aren’t as relevant as his Kennedyesqe politician coif. Now that’s the hair of a leader. I told you, these rankings have no basis in reality!
3. Levar Stoney (7-1) — I like Stoney too and that’s probably because we’re both in our 30s and I used to bartend for him. There’s obviously some inexperience there, but it isn’t quite the issue that everyone’s making it out to be. He has money and Gov. Terry McAuliffe in his back pocket, and he wears a fly suit (unlike some of these other schlubs I won’t name who look like they got dressed in the dark). Plus, have you heard that Stoney overcame adversity as child? Yeah, I hadn’t heard that either. He should mention that more.
4. Jack Berry (7-1) — He is not a politician. He ran a business and he’ll run this city like a business! There’s something impersonal about his pitch. I want our city to be run like a day care — snacks, naps, the occasional paddling. Hmm. I think I just stumbled upon my 2020 mayoral platform.
5. Michelle Mosby (14-1) — She’s proficient in Googling things, which is an important skill when you suddenly need to know the actor who played Virgil Earp in “Tombstone” (it was Sam Elliott, duh!). The current City Council president also splurged and encased a Cadillac Escalade in Mosby for mayor wrapping, which is ridiculous ... ly awesome. I almost bumped her up a spot for the whip alone.
6. Bruce Tyler (50-1) — Former City Council member and one of two architects in the race. I have absolutely nothing to say next.
7. Lawrence Williams (100-1) — The other architect. Has been providing a lot of comic relief, intentional and otherwise. Williams ran in 2004 and 2008, and in both races he got about 1 percent of the vote. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, Williams has raised zero dollars for his campaign. Zero. I raise more Taco Bell money from my couch cushions. He clearly gives no F’s, which is refreshing.
8. Bobby Junes (Snowflakes have better chances in Dubai) — Consistently mentions that he served 10 years for Henrico Parks and attended 120 meetings for it. You made it to all the meetings! Neat! I like Junes, I really do. He’s funny. But for mayor? I’m thinking we start lower. How about greeter at the Science Museum? That could be fun!
Wanna get involved? I’m holding a debate Oct. 7 in the basement of my Fan house. It’s bring your own liquor. I’ve already put down some cardboard for the dance-off portion of the evening.
Editor’s Note: As of press time, exactly no candidates had agreed to attend. S
Jack Lauterback also is co-host of “Mornings with Melissa and Jack” on 103.7 Play weekdays from 6-9. Connect with him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @jackgoesforth.