Taylor, Nelson lead Democratic revival in Henrico
Party claims Commonwealth's Attorney, Varina District Supervisor seats
In a race that pitted Henrico County's Republican Party against itself, a Democrat walked away with the victory.
Democrat Shannon Taylor surprised Republican nominee Matt Geary and Republican-turned-independent favorite Bill Janis to claim the Commonwealth's Attorney's seat tonight, winning a race that she didn't enter until the candidate filing deadline in August.
Taylor earned 45 percent of the vote to defeat Janis (38 percent) and Geary (16 percent).
Taylor's win was one of two impressive victories for Democrats in the county; Tyrone Nelson also won a three-way race, unseating five-term incumbent Republican Jim Donati in the race for Varina District Supervisor. Nelson (53 percent of the vote) defeated Donati (35 percent) and independent Reese Haller (10 percent). Nelson will join fellow Democrat Frank Thornton of the Fairfield District on the board. The two men also are the only two African-Americans ever elected to the board.
In the Commonwealth's Attorney race, Taylor was the beneficiary of party infighting among Republicans, who gave Geary their nomination, then demanded he give it back following his admission of an extramarital affair. When he refused, party leaders convinced Virginia Delegate Bill Janis to enter the race as an independent, and many party officials switched allegiances.
While Geary, who spent nearly three years in the Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, and Janis, who had no professional prosecutorial experience, spent much of the campaign trading barbs, Taylor instead focused on her 12 years of experience as a prosecutor. She only became critical of Janis late in the campaign, after he made what she termed an erroneous claim about her past service.
In the end, the two Republican Party favorites split enough of the vote to give Taylor a surprising win – and a moderately embarrassing one for U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who also had pulled his support of Geary and given it to Janis.
In the Brookland District race for the School Board seat being vacated by two-term member Linda McBride, longtime district PTA volunteer Beverly Cocke (47 percent) defeated retired school system administrator and teacher Darrell Jenkins (36 percent) and Henricopolis Soil and Water Conservation District member Herb Dunford (16 percent).
Two new members – Nicole Anderson Ellis and Lynn Wilson – were elected to the Henricopolis Board – joining returning member Robert Brewster in a five-candidate field.
Nelson's win in the Varina District seemed to underscore frustration among many voters in the district, who have perceived that it has not received equal treatment from the county's leaders in recent years. Though Donati campaigned with statistics that indicated the opposite, public perception – highlighted by the growing demand for a planned new high school – tilted the scales in Nelson's favor.
Former Sandston resident Mildred Taylor celebrated her 106th birthday Aug. 9. Taylor, who now lives in Powhatan, is still a member of Sandston Baptist Church. She was visited the day after her birthday by several members of the church, who played for her a recording of the entire church membership singing happy birthday to her during worship. > Read more.
YMCA officials gathered last week to break ground on the new Tommy J. West Aquatic Center at the Shady Grove Family YMCA on Nuckols Road. The center, which will featured 7,600 square feet of competitive and recreational space, including water slides, play areas for children and warmer water for those with physical limitations, is the fourth phase of a $4 million expansion at the facility. West was president and CEO of Capital Interior Contractors and a founding member of the Central Virginia Region of the Virginia Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. > Read more.
The Sandston Rotary Club recently donated $1,000 to the Sandston YMCA for its Bright Beginnings program, which helps provide children in need with school supplies for the new school year. > Read more.
For our Top 10 calendar events this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Short Pump brewery offers more than just beer
I am still (happily) thinking about my entire experience at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery last week. Knowing nothing about this new brewery out of Denver, I was leery of brew-pub in the heart of Short Pump Town Center – this is not what I’d usually think of as a perfect fit, and yet, it was.
The restaurant and craft brewery opened in early June and features 10 beers made by female brewmaster Becky Hammond (pictured). This is the restaurant’s second location in Virginia; the first is in Arlington. Behind glass walls, customers watched the beer brewing in massive steel barrels. For our up-and-coming beer region, it makes sense that Short Pump would jump on board.
As I walked up to the back of the mall near the comedy club, I was taken aback by what I saw: at the top of the stairs was an overflowing restaurant with outdoor seating, large umbrellas and dangling outdoor lights. > Read more.
The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen is now registering participants for its fall 2014 schedule of classes.
The center will offer more than 100 classes for children and adults, covering topicssuch as culinary arts, fiber arts, visual and performance arts and more. Instruction is structured to appeal to a wide range of abilities, from beginners to experts of all ages. Class sizes are kept small to ensure maximum benefit for participants with generally no more than 15 students. > Read more.
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CalendarRegistration is due today for The New Virginians’ monthly luncheon on Sept. 10 at 11:30 a.m. at Hermitage Country Club. The speaker, Linda Galvez, beauty expert, author and leading consultant… Full text