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Democrats choose Dance

She is the nominee to replace Marsh

Joey Matthews | 8/15/2014, 2:13 p.m.
Petersburg Democrats strongly backed Delegate Rosalyn R. Dance to be the Democratic candidate for 16th District Senate seat, previously held ...
Delegate Rosalyn Dance

Regardless, Delegate McQuinn failed to turn out a big Richmond voting bloc despite the endorsements of Richmond council members whose districts are inside the Senate district, including council Vice President Ellen F. Robertson, 6th District; Cynthia I. Newille, 7th District; and Reva M. Trammell, 8th District.

Rev. McQuinn also earned the support of more than two dozen ministers.

Delegate McQuinn’s defeat also appeared to be a rebuke to Mayor Jones, who endorsed her in an automated phone call that went out to thousands of households in the district last Friday.

The mayor called Delegate McQuinn “a true Democrat” who would support “President Obama’s Medicaid expansion 100 percent.”

That was a reference to Delegate Dance’s lack of support of Medicaid expansion. Her critics, including the Free Press, which backed Delegate McQuinn in the race, cited her support of a House budget in committee and on the floor that did not include expansion of Medicaid.

Delegate Dance, Mr. McCollum and others criticized the mayor’s endorsement, saying the state party leader should not endorse a candidate in a party nominating contest.

Democratic Party of Virginia rules prohibits the party and any of its elements from “formally endorsing contested candidates for office prior to nomination.”

Delegate McQuinn’s campaign manager Craig Bieber said Chairman Jones endorsed her in his capacity as mayor. He said Mayor Jones and Delegate McQuinn are longtime friends and political allies.

Delegate McQuinn, chair of the Richmond Slave Trail Commission, has ardently backed the mayor’s plan to build a baseball stadium, heritage center, grocery store and hotel in Shockoe Bottom.

Some cynically suggested the mayor backed Delegate McQuinn in hopes she would win, opening her House of Delegates’ seat for a run by his son, the Rev. Derik Jones, currently a member of the Richmond School Board.

Mayor Jones and Delegate Dance made peace after the dust had settled.

“While we still have a ways to go in certifying the results, we’d like to congratulate Delegate Dance and look forward to electing another Democrat to continue the legacy of Henry Marsh in the state Senate,” Mayor Jones stated in a release through the Democratic Party of Virginia.

“I thank Chairman Dwight Jones for his conciliatory message that he is willing to work with me and help me through the November election,” Delegate Dance stated in a release.

State Sen. A. Donald McEachin of Henrico, chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, told the Free Press that Delegate Dance “is as welcome to the caucus as flowers in the springtime.

“I think she’ll be an excellent caucus member, and I look forward to working with her in January,” he added.