Most Crowded Political Race 

Critics' Pick

click to enlarge Former governor and mayor Douglas Wilder speaks to assembled candidates for the top Richmond job.

Scott Elmquist

Former governor and mayor Douglas Wilder speaks to assembled candidates for the top Richmond job.

The elbowing and shoving has begun in the race for Richmond’s mayor, with 15 declared candidates so far. What is this, the Republican presidential nomination? We’ll see how many stick around after the June 14 deadline to file, or drop out like embattled “Hunger Games” tributes.

The political hopefuls — one of whom has since dropped out to run for re-election to City Council — were packed like sardines on the stage of a mayoral forum held by former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder. Among them was the City Council president and mayoral candidate, Michelle Mosby, who says the odds are in her favor.

During a recent meet and greet at Shockoe Whiskey and Wine, organized by the Metro Richmond Area Young Democrats, she said she wondered whether everyone in the pool was serious seriously dedicated to facing Richmond’s challenges.

“I’m not sure if everyone in here understands how serious this is,” she said, as the crowd milled around and knocked back drinks. “And maybe they are and maybe they want to fix it.”

She’s in a race filled mostly with newcomers who haven’t held elected office, a mixture that includes community activists, a teacher and an architect.

Chad Ingold has taught school for 15 years. One of the most out-of-left-field candidates, he says that he’s often asked why he didn’t first run for council or School Board before taking the shot at mayor.

“I set my own personal sights high,” he says. “I think that Richmond needs a strong leader, not just a CEO or administrator, to get us to the future of a Richmond public school system that is more equitable, that serves our children better.”

Like Donald Trump, could outsider candidates such as Ingold affect the tone of the race — or tap into a seemingly intense thirst for a shakeup?

“I feel like I am exposed to the problems and the concerns of the community,” Ingold says. “I certainly would like to bring to the race nonpolitical thoughts and ideas that people are afraid to say because they are considering a political future.”

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

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