Richmond Crusade for Voters announces endorsements for city races

9/17/2020, 6 p.m.
The Richmond Crusade for Voters will urge voters to back Kim B. Gray for mayor to replace incumbent Mayor Levar …

The Richmond Crusade for Voters will urge voters to back Kim B. Gray for mayor to replace incumbent Mayor Levar M. Stoney, who is running for a second term.

The Crusade, the city’s oldest African-American political group, on Tuesday endorsed Ms. Gray, now the 2nd District City Council representative, ahead of the launch of early voting on Friday, Sept. 18.

“Awesome,” Ms. Gray said after learning she had the backing of an organization she grew up with. “I attended meetings when I was still in diapers because my father belonged. I joined when I was old enough to vote.

“The Crusade’s work is ongoing, and I stand with them to promote voter registration, education and participation in the political process,” she said.

The Crusade for Voters was started in 1956 during the fight over school desegregation and is now marking its 64th year.

The Crusade also announced endorsements in the Richmond City Council and city School Board races.

The decision to back Ms. Gray, in part, stems from the Crusade’s concern about Mayor Stoney awarding a $1.8 million contract to remove the city’s Confederate statues to an African-American contractor who has contributed $4,000 to Mayor Stoney and his political action committee since 2016.

Ms. Gray has been at the forefront in criticizing the contract as an example of overspending and in calling for an investigation to ensure no laws were broken. Meanwhile, Gov. Ralph S. Northam and 14 of the 23 members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus have announced they are backing Mayor Stoney, including Richmond Delegates Jeff M. Bourne and Delores L. McQuinn.

In the contested races for City Council, the Crusade en- dorsed incumbent Councilman Andreas D. Addison in the 1st District; Tavarris J. Spinks to succeed Ms. Gray in the 2nd District; Ann-Frances Lambert to replace departing incumbent Councilman Chris A. Hilbert in the 3rd District; and incumbent Councilwoman Stephanie A. Lynch in the 5th District.

The Crusade also voted to endorse incumbent Councilwoman Ellen F. Robertson in the 6th District; incumbent and Council President Cynthia I. Newbille in the 7th District; and challenger Amy Wentz in the 8th District.

The Crusade membership overrode the Research Committee’s recommendation of support for incumbent Councilwoman Reva M. Trammell in the 8th District.

In the contested races for the School Board, the Crusade endorsed challenger Mariah White over incumbent J. Scott Barlow in the 2nd District; incumbent Kenya Gibson in the 3rd District; incumbent Jonathan Young in the 4th District; and incumbent Dawn Page in the 8th District.

The Crusade also endorsed Stephanie Rizzi to replace outgoing incumbent Dr. Patrick Sapini in the 5th District and former School Board member Shonda Harris-Muhammed to replace departing incumbent Felicia Cosby in the 6th District.

However, the Crusade did not endorse in the 9th District, where newcomer Nicole Jones is poised to replace incumbent Linda Owen, who is not seeking re-election.