A Quick Review of Virginia State Senate Dem Nominee Lionell Spruill’s Illustrious...

A Quick Review of Virginia State Senate Dem Nominee Lionell Spruill’s Illustrious Career


Last night, Virginia Del. Lionell Spruill won a Democratic “firehouse caucus” over Del. Joe Lindsey for the vacant seat of former Sen. Kenny Alexander, who was recently elected Mayor of Norfolk. In my view, this election was a no brainer: Lindsey should have been the obvious, no-brainer choice over Spruill. Why do I say this?

First off, Lindsey is a strong Democrat, with strong progressive and pro-environmental ratings, according to Project Vote Smart. Second, to my knowledge, Lindsey is an upstanding individual, haven’t heard any rumors, allegations, or news stories about corruption or any other problems (e.g., embarrassing behavior, legislation, bigoted statements).

Now for Lionell Spruill. A brief review of his illustrious career will give you an idea of where he’s coming from.

  • Virginia Lawmakers Trying to Ban Vile “Truck Nuts” (1/16/2008): “Yesterday Virginia lawmakers were faced with Delegate Lionell Spruill, Sr.’s introduction of House Bill 1452, which proposed to make illegal the, ‘Display of objects or devices representing or resembling genitalia on motor vehicles.'”
  • World-famous truck-hitch bill is well-meaning – but still nuts (1/17/08): “Here we are, a little more than a week into the 2008 General Assembly session, and already the Old Dominion seems destined to become the butt of late-night comics and international punsters…By Wednesday afternoon, Google News showed about 300 separate news outlets – from Canada to Germany to Australia – posting stories about the bill. The headline writers were having truckloads of fun : ‘Virginia Bill Aims to Emasculate Trucks,’ ‘Virginia Legislator Testy over ‘Truck Nutz” and ‘Testicles Face Snip.’ This bill won’t pass. It’s an infringement on free speech.”
  • Spruill’s first job should be voters (7/26/08): “The latest loophole in Virginia’s ethics laws has been brought to you by Democratic Dels. Brian Moran of Alexandria and Lionell Spruill Sr. of Chesapeake. Moran, who is running for governor, has hired Spruill to help attract support from black voters across the state. Spruill received his first $7,500 monthly paycheck in January, according to the records compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project. His total compensation through May comes to $40,000. No other legislator is earning a salary doing work for a political campaign, and the financial relationship raises questions about both men’s judgment.”
  • Delegate Spruill Supports Republican Redistricting (1/20/09): “Delegate Lionell Spruill (D-Chesapeake) speaks on the House floor on why he supports Republican redistricting plan.”
  • Spruill’s Remarks About Muslims Make News (2/5/09): “During a debate on the House floor yesterday, Spruill spoke out about a proposed law that would allow state police chaplains to use Jesus’ name in public prayers. According to the Virginian Pilot, Spruill announced his opposition to the law but then said he doesn’t like to hear prayers of different religions, ‘especially those of the Muslim faith that I don’t care too much about.'”
  • Del. Lionell Spruill (D): “I’m not going to hell behind no Democrat” (10/18/10): “I’m not going to hell on that subject, of Democrats saying ‘the man is a Democrat, Spruill, he’s an atheist, you’ve got to [unintelligible, but I think something to do with supporting LeGrow] …I’m not gonna do it, I’m not going to hell behind no Democrat. And no, I’m not endorsing Randy Forbes, but I’m not also endorsing Mr. LeGrow, people go out and vote your own conscience…I love Jesus and I’ll never change that and Mr. Forbes loves Jesus. Now people telling me that all he gotta do is say ‘Obama.’ I say if both of them are going to church and one say Obama and one says Jesus…”
  • Yasmine Taeb Wins, Along with Atima Omara, Frank Leone, Doris Crouse-Mays and Steve Cochran; DNC “Victory Slate” #FAIL (6/18/16): Spruill finished very close to dead last in the voting for DNC representatives from Virginia, behind Yasmine Taeb, Doris Crouse-Mays, Atima Omara, Frank Leone, Steve Cochran and Matt Bell.

So…great stuff, eh? Virginia State Senate material or not? Again, its seems like a no brainer to me that Del. Joe Lindsey should have won this race easily, but obviously he didn’t. Also disappointing is to see many Democrats I respect – and some I, well, don’t – endorsing and congratulating Spruill on his victory. The question is why they didn’t support Lindsey, and how they can justify supporting someone with the record outlined above. Thoughts?

  • DevotedSkeptic

    That’s a pretty decisive win, a 2-to-1 margin of votes. But it’s all about mobilizing voters–no easy task for a firehouse caucus in the middle of the summer vacation season. Looks like the winner (a disappointing official, to be sure) had more dedicated supporters, and an organized ground game.