Great post by Black Virginia News – far, FAR better coverage than you’ll get from corporate media, that’s for sure!
NEWPORT NEWS, VA — THE BIGGEST POLITICAL EVENT IN VIRGINIA 3 HOURS + 55 PHOTOS. The Bobby Scott Annual Labor Day Cookout is back and in-person after the COVID pandemic prompted two virtual formats in 2020 and 2021. Judging from the size of the crowd many were eager to attend a political Labor Day tradition that has gone on for 46 years in Newport News.
There are 62 days left until Election Day and 16 left until early voting.
The Scott Machine was out in force with a battalion of volunteers setting up food, hundreds of chairs, three large tents hours before the 3 p.m. start time. The event did not disappoint and lines formed outside of 914 Shore Drive in Newport News as visitors signed in and greeted each other in what has become the must-attend in a Commonwealth with elections every year.
There was no rain even though flood warnings in Northern Virginia and Georgia were issues for Labor Day evening. The in-demand Virginia Beach based band RaJazz provided the music.
The Bobby Scott Cookout brings out anyone who is in power or wants to be in power in any of the seven cities that comprise greater Hampton Roads… and beyond.
U.S. Senators, Virginia State Senators, Virginia members of the House of Delegates, elected officials on City Councils and School Boards — and the candidates running for those various positions were all in for the in-person return of the Bobby Scott Cookout. Elected officials from all of the “seven cities” of Newport News, Suffolk, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Hampton and Virginia Beach were in attendance — as well as a few from Richmond (Stoney, McClellan), Franklin and Isle of Wight.
If there’s anyone who needs to network in Virginia politics this would be a key event to attend. With Rep. Elaine Luria in what is expected to be a close race based primarily in lean-red Virginia Beach, many of those knocking doors in Virginia’s second district. Luria, a Democrat, appears to be running a more energetic campaign than her Republican challenger, State Senator Jennifer Kiggans, but the millions being poured into the race from national groups will likely keep the race very close.
At another recent political event, State Senator Louise Lucas, who is the highest ranking Democrat in state politics in Virginia, reminded everyone not to look past the 2022 midterms. Because of redistricting, a lawsuit by Paul Goldman, and the focus by Democrats to win back control of the House of Delegates while maintaining control of the Virginia Senate, many sense that attention is drifting to 2023.
But many of the political teams seen on the Scott family’s lawn where clearly giving 2022 attention and citing the threat to democracy underway by Trumpism in the wake of the January 6, 2021 attack of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters — this was alluded to by State Senator Mamie Locke as she spoke during the cookout.
During a media interview with WRIC before the lawn became packed with guests, Congressman Scott was asked about the annual event in general terms.
“It’s been a mainstay in the community and a kickoff for the campaigns,” he answered. “It gives the entire community an opportunity to come out. Depending on the weather we’ll have 600 to 1500 people,” the Congressman answer to a basic question about his Labor Day gathering. The event was attended by over 1,000 people.
Seen on the lawn yesterday were Sen. Tim Kaine, Rep. Elaine Luria, former Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, Virginia Senate President Pro Temper L. Louise Lucas, House Minority Leader Don Scott, Newport News Mayor McKinley Price, Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, Virginia State Senators Mamie Locke, Lionell Spruill, Jennifer McClellan, Monty Mason. Kaine, Luria, Leader Scott and Sen. Locke addressed the large crowd.
Delegates Cliff Hayes, Cia Price, Clint Jenkins, Jeion Ward, Nadarius Clark, Mike Mullin and former Delegate Alex Askew. Askew, Maurice Hawkins and and other in Virginia Beach have been seen on social media door knocking for Luria in recent months. They’ve also held several events in the battleground district which is receiving national attention.
GRASSROOTS. Candidates and their teams were out in force with t-shirts, handouts and volunteers with clipboards. That game was elevated even higher by Luria’s tight race and a competitive election for Mayor this year in Newport News.
Also seen on the lawn was President of Hampton University, retired General Darrell Williams. Hampton defeated Howard University, 31-28, in a classic HBCU matchup on Saturday night.
Many present demonstrated a real-time example of the grassroots interpersonal details of local politics at a hyper-local, but still large, event. Several candidates who are on school boards in the region are running for city council positions.
Prominent candidates to watch over the next 62 days are Chesapeake School Board member Pat King, who is running for Chesapeake City Council and Vernon Tillage, who is on the Portsmouth School Board and is now running for Portsmouth City Council.
SHOUTOUT TO ALPHA PHI ALPHA FRATERNITY. The oldest Black fraternity in America, established in 1906, was well represented at the cookout. APA members include Congressman Scott, Leader Don Scott, former Lt. Gov. Fairfax, Hampton President Williams and Carlos Clanton, Chairman of the Norfolk City School Board.
Alum of APA fraternity include Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass, Thurgood Marshall, Wyatt Tee Walker, W.E.B. DuBois, Duke Ellington, Maynard Jackson and Maryland’s current Democratic nominees for Governor Wes Moore.
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