Rosalyn Dance pulls another rabbit out of the hat and wins the Democratic nomination for the 16th Senate seat, which runs from Richmond to Petersburg.
Regardless how you feel about Dance, you have to respect the fact that she put together a campaign on a shoestring budget, had a lot of the Democratic establishment against her, including the Democratic machine in Richmond, and still pulled out a healthy win, racking up big margins in all of the localities in the district except in the city of Richmond.
Dance’s main opponent in this race, Richmond Delegate Delores McQuinn, had all the cards in the deck stacked in her favor. McQuinn hired a professional campaign organizer and had plenty of money for voter contact and to motivate her supporters to the polls. In addition, McQuinn’s son, JJ Minor, is head of the Richmond Democratic committee and did everything in his power for McQuinn.
But McQuinn’s real knight in shining armor was Virginia State Democratic Party Chairman and Mayor of The City of Richmond, the Reverend Dwight Jones.
Jones pulled out all the stops for McQuinn, including recording a robo call for McQuinn that was sent out to tens of thousands of voters in the City of Richmond in order to motivate those who attend his church, and those who form his political base. But in a stunning rebuke to Jones, McQuinn failed to build a big margin in the voting location in the east end of Richmond. Unlike the second location in Richmond where McQuinn received a big margin, voters at the east end voting location, motivated by their opposition to the baseball stadium promoted by Jones and backed by McQuinn, turned out in big enough numbers to deny McQuinn the numbers she needed.
East End Voting Location:
McQuinn’s opponents took almost 40% of the vote at this location, bit it was McCollum who really raised the issue of the baseball stadium in this section of the city and it earned him 20% of the vote in this location. Dance could have done better at this location but she really missed an opportunity and failed to raise the stadium as an issue.
Some may wonder why Jones got involved to such a degree in this race but there is actually a simple reason for this – nepotism. Jones wanted McQuinn out of her House seat so that his son, also a pastor of Jones’ church and a member of the Richmond City School Board could run in the primary if McQuinn won the senate primary.
It is also so disturbing that Jones, the Chairman of the Virginia State Democratic Party, has been missing in action since his election to the chairmanship of the party. Rather than focusing on this falls elections, where control of the U.S. Senate is at stake and where Dems have a good shot of claiming a congressional seat in NOVA held my Frank Wolf for decades, Jones spends his time trying to control the results of a primary for the benefit of his son.
But Jones’ silence as party chair is even more appalling when it comes to the new voter ID laws that will be in place for the first time in this falls election. These laws adversely affect the elderly, minorities, and the working class/poor, and these voters are concentrated in central cities in central and eastern Virginia, and in rural counties. In other words, up to 12% of our base Democratic voters lack the required ID to vote this fall and they live in the cities and counties where Dems need to rack up BIG margins. But Jones has failed to act – there is no plan pushed forward by Jones and the DPVA to try to appeal to these voters to obtain the correct ID.
So, the reality is, Jones was really the big loser on Saturday, having put his reputation as Virgina Democratic Party Chairman and Mayor of the City of Richmond on the line and coming up with snake eyes. But to be fair, McQuinn has some of the blame to take in this race. McQuinn never really worked hard to build ties with her constituents and that added to her loss as well.
But aside from Jones and McQuinn, the other two big losers in this race.
Derek Jones is the first – by losing, McQuinn stays out in her House of Delegate seat, denying Derk Jones to move up from the Richmond School Board.
The second big loser is Nadine Marsh-Carter, daughter of former Senator Henry Marsh. Ms. Marsh-Carter may have blown the opportunity of a lifetime by not running for her father seat. By entering the race, she may have been able to block McQuinn from getting into the race, and potentially won the race. But is appears Ms. Marsh-Carter may have decided to run for McQuinn’s house seat instead, if McQuinn won the senate primary. And Ms. Marsh-Carter publicly support McQuinn, even recording a robo call for McQuinn that was sent to tens of thousands of Richmond voters. So for now, all electoral avenues for her have been cut-off.
So congratulations to Rosalyn Dance on her impressive victory. Dance’s turnout and margin in Chesterfield County was impressive, and her overwhelming victories in Hopewell, Prince George and Dinwiddie were also impressive. But Dance’s turnout numbers in Petersburg were truly unbelievable. Petersburg represented 18% of the population in this district while the City of Richmond represented 28%, but when the votes were counted in each locality, more ballots were cast in Petersburg than in Richmond. Thirty Five per cent of all ballots were cast in Petersburg, eclipsing Richmond by almost 2%.