Richmond City Council Races Heat Up 

Spring is in midblossom, and so are the coffers of the candidates attempting to unseat certain members of City Council.

Charlie Diradour, local real estate mogul and challenger to 2nd District Councilman Charles Samuels, began the year with no money. In three months he raised $26,255 from 17 individual donors. The bulk of that total came courtesy of Fan resident Kim Hawley, who donated $20,000 to Diradour's campaign in March.

Hawley, along with her husband Paul Hayes, are family friends, Diradour says. He and Hawley were speaking about the state of the city in March when she "shocked" him with the check, he says: "The bottom line is that we're friends and she wanted to help." At the end of the first quarter, Diradour reported spending $5,000, leaving his campaign with $21,249.

Samuels trails Diradour in overall fundraising for the quarter. But with $13,169 banked at its start, he ended it with $22,899. Samuels' notable contributors include the campaign of City Council President Kathy Graziano and Manuel Loupassi, father to Republican state delegate Manoli Loupassi, who once held the 1st District seat. The two gave $250 and $500 respectively.

In the 5th District, which for now is the most contested of the council races, developer David Gammino reported $12,745 at the end of the quarter. That's after spending $6,864. Compare that with incumbent E. Martin Jewell, who according to first-quarter campaign finance reports, raised not a dime from Jan. 1 to March 31.

But Jewell acknowledges that his initial filing is incorrect, he says, a mistake on his part. Jewell says that by the end of the quarter March 31, his campaign held a little more than $3,800. He plans to file an amended report this month.

The Richmond Registrar's Office reports that the second announced challenger for the seat, S. Lee Shewmake, has yet to file her campaign finance report. Neither have challengers Erin Delp and Dawn C. Page. Delp is challenging 3rd District Councilman Chris Hilbert. Page, a Richmond School Board member, announced last month that she would challenge 6th District Councilwoman Reva Trammell.

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