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.
Reynolds Community College will host Richmond sculptor Paul DiPasquale Sept. 28 as he shares his presentation “Art Talk, Why Art Matters” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Conference Center Gallery of the Workforce Development and Conference Center on the Parham Road Campus, located at 1651 E. Parham Road in Richmond. This event is free and open to the public. > Read more.
The Children's Clothing Closet at Highland Springs United Methodist Church will be open Saturday, Aug. 27 and Tuesday, Aug. 30 to provide free new or nearly new children's clothing for families in need, prior to the start of the school year. The Clothing Closet will be open from 10 a.m. to noon both days. The church is located at 22 North Holly Avenue. > Read more.
The theme for the annual Dominion GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Lakeside has been announced.
This year's event, which opens Nov. 25 and will continue through Jan. 9, will explore "Living Color" and show how the world's kaleidoscope of colors speaks to people, impacts nature and influences culture, according to Garden officials. The event features more than a half million lights, botanical decorations, trains, holiday dinners, family activities and more. > Read more.
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Oct. 20, 2016Click here to read the print edition.
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CalendarTom Leonard’s free Friday Night Movie at the Pumpkin Patch concludes with “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” at 7 p.m. in the outdoor haybale theater. There will be cider and hot chocolate. Friday night movies are held every Friday in October. Tom Leonard’s is located at 4150 Tom Leonard Dr. near Short Pump. For details, call 364-5800 or visit http://www.tomleonards.com. Full text