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.
With a nod to Arbor Day, Citizen seeks photos, descriptions of significant Henrico trees
Citizen Staff Reports 04/28/2015
Do you have a favorite tree in Henrico?
Do you know of a tree with an interesting story?
Do you live near an especially large, old, or otherwise unusual tree – or do you pass by one that has always intrigued you?
Arbor Day 2015 (April 24) was last week, and though the Citizen has published stories about a few special trees over the years (see sidebar) we know that our readers can lead us to more. > Read more.
Henrico's most famous tree, known as the Surrender Tree, still stood for more than a century near the intersection of Osborne Turnpike and New Market Road -- until June 2012.
It was in the shade of that tree on April 3, 1865, that Richmond mayor Joseph Mayo met Major Atherton Stevens and troops from the 4th Massachusetts Cavalry and handed over a note surrendering the city to Federal troops. Evacuation had already begun. > Read more.
The Greater Richmond ARC's annual Ladybug Wine Tasting and Silent Auction on April 11 netted $75,165 to benefit its Infant and Child Development Services (ICDS) program.
About 350 guests sampled fine West Coast wines and craft beer from Midnight Brewery at Richmond Raceway Complex's Torque Club, along with food from local eateries. Carytown Cupcakes provided dessert. > Read more.
A Henrico High School student was one of eight students from Virginia selected as a 2015 student playwright as part of the School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community's 26th annual New Voices for the Theater Festival of New Works, which will be held July 10-11 at VCU.
Elaina Riddell of the Center for the Arts at Henrico HS will join the other students and bring her original one-act play to life on stage at the event. In total, 150 plays were submitted to SPARC. Riddell and the other winners will work closely with New York City-based professional playwright Bruce Ward for the event. > Read more.
In the mood for some spring shopping? Eastern Henrico FISH will hold their semi-annual yard sale this weekend – funds raised assist at-risk families in Eastern Henrico County. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden will hold a spring plant sale which is among the largest in the region with more than 40 vendors selling plants ranging from well-known favorites to rare exotics. Put on your detective hat and find out “whodunnit” at the movie “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” and “The Case of the Dead Flamingo Dancer,” presented by the Henrico Theatre Company May 1-17. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
It’s that time of year – charity races are popping up everywhere! On Saturday, St. Joseph’s Villa will be the site of the sixth annual CASA Superhero Run and the fifth annual Richmond Free to Breathe Run/Walk will be held in Innsbrook. Also in Innsbrook, the 2015 Richmond Take Steps for Crohn’s and Colitis will take place on Sunday. If you’re more into relaxation than exercise, check out Wine for Cure’s Dogwood Wine Festival or the Troubadours Community Theatre Group’s production of “West Side Story” at the Henrico Theatre. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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CalendarThe Ruritan Clubs of Eastern Henrico, Glendale and Varina will sponsor a Memorial Day Service at 10 a.m. at the Glendale National Cemetery on Willis Church Road. Varina High School… Full text