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Politics

City Council Votes to Roll the Dice on a Second Casino Referendum Doubling Down with Tax Cuts

Is anybody looking forward to months of casino referendum ads again?

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In November the voters of Richmond rejected the referendum that would allow a casino to be built in South Side Richmond. The vote was close, at 51% against 49% for and broke down on racial lines. Black neighborhoods and voters were heavily in favor of the casino.

Last night the vote wasn’t close. Only Councilwoman Katherine Jordan voted against the measure to put the One Casino Referendum back on the table. The casino would still be built near Commerce Road and Walmsley Boulevard.

Outspoken former 6th District City Council candidate and anti-casino activist Allan-Charles Chipman summed up the situation thusly:
“The passage of this legislation would defy the expressed will of the people in Richmond. It is a frequent tactic of casinos once they lose any democratic referendum to try and break the will of the people with consecutive referendums…While double or nothing is an acceptable tool for someone who lost a bet in the casino, it is not an acceptable option for the members of this body who lost a bet on a casino.”

To sweeten the pot, Mayor Stoney is promising a 2-cent reduction to the city’s real estate tax rate if and only if the referendum passes. The hope being that the promised tax revenue from the casino would fill any budget gaps. The Mayor is betting that the casino will keep paying out long after the “newness” shine has worn off.

As with all proposals, the $600 million One Casino proposal promises a lot, $30 million in annual tax revenue, 1,500 jobs, and an immediate $25 million payment if the measure passes.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

Downtown

Youngkin calls raid on Trump club a ‘stunning move’ by feds, raising speculation about presidential run

Youngkin’s statement didn’t reference Trump specifically, but it was an unusually direct show of support from a Republican figure who kept the ex-president at arm’s length en route to his close win last year in a purple state.

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By Graham Moomaw

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin called the federal raid on former President Donald Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago a “stunning move by the DOJ and FBI” and implied it could be politically motivated.

In a tweet posted Tuesday morning, Youngkin drew a connection between the news of the search in Florida and prior events in Virginia.

“This same DOJ labeled parents in Loudoun County as terrorists and failed to enforce federal law to protect Justices in their homes,” read the post from the governor’s political account. “Selective, politically motivated actions have no place in our democracy.”

The governor’s claim about the events in Loudoun has already been widely refuted by fact-checkers. A controversial letter from the National School Boards Association mentioned the arrest of a Loudoun father upset over his daughter’s sexual assault in a school as an example of aggressive behavior toward school boards that could be “the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism.” When Attorney General Merrick Garland responded by saying he would investigate and prosecute threats against school boards, he didn’t mention terrorism or Loudoun.

In response to protests over the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, Youngkin, and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan asked the Department of Justice to enforce a law that bars picketing outside justices’ houses in their states, but no federal prosecutions followed.

Youngkin’s statement didn’t reference Trump specifically, but it was an unusually direct show of support from a Republican figure who kept the ex-president at arm’s length en route to his close win last year in a purple state. Youngkin has been downplaying speculation about whether he might run for president in 2024, a move that could put him in competition with Trump for the GOP nomination.

Controversy over federal law enforcement agencies has particular resonance in Virginia due to the high numbers of federal employees who live in the state.

Facts have been scarce about why the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago, what agents were looking for and what federal authorities believe Trump may have done. But Virginia Republicans didn’t hold back expressions of outrage over the move.

“The dangerous precedent the Democrats set yesterday by weaponizing the FBI should anger and frighten every American,” state Sen. Jen Kiggans, the Republican nominee in a close congressional race in the Hampton Roads area, said on Twitter. “All to settle old political scores and silence their political opponents – it’s corrupt, and it’s flat out unacceptable.”

Kiggans was responding to an earlier statement from her opponent, Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria, a member of the congressional Jan. 6 committee who was pointing to Republican threats to investigate the Department of Justice if the GOP wins back control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“There is no way to defend Trump, only to deflect,” Luria said.

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Politics

Democratic Primary is Today

Get out there and participate in electing your political leaders.

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The Republicans have already tapped Glenn Youngkin, a political newcomer with a ton of cash as the GOP gubernatorial candidate. Today it’s the Democrat’s turn to pick their candidate for Governor and other officials.

Five candidates are competing for the nomination as governor in Tuesday’s primary, with former Gov. Terry McAuliffe seen as the heavy favorite. McAuliffe’s opponents include state Sen. Jennifer McClellan and former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you are in line at 7 p.m., you will get to vote. Voters heading to the polls on Tuesday are strongly encouraged to wear a mask, although it is not required.

Not sure where your polling location is or if you’re registered go here to get the information.

Full list of statewide candidates

Governor

Five Democrats are vying for the nomination to succeed Gov. Ralph Northam, who is limited to one term:

Lieutenant Governor

Seven Democrats are running to succeed Justin Fairfax:

Attorney General

Del. Jerrauld C. ‘Jay’ Jones takes on incumbent Mark R. Herring.

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Downtown

Governor’s race draws $11 million total in first-quarter fundraising

The 13 candidates running for the Virginia executive mansion raised a total of over $11 million in three months, according to recently released finance reports. 

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By Noah Fleischman

The 13 candidates running for the Virginia executive mansion raised a total of over $11 million in three months, according to recently released finance reports.

The candidates had more than $18 million in cash on hand in the first quarter, according to finance report data reported by the Virginia Public Access Project. Cash on hand is tracked as accessible money and in-kind donations, which include non-cash gifts such as goods, services and expertise.

Four candidates running for governor each logged more than $2 million in cash on hand.

Stephen Farnsworth, director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, said it’s uncommon to have that many candidates with large amounts of money on hand.

“It’s rare to have that many people running for governor,” Farnsworth said. “And it’s even rarer still for there to be so many candidates with bank accounts at that level.”

Former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe had the largest war chest of any candidate, clocking in with more than $8.5 million cash on hand. Republican candidates and businessmen Glenn Youngkin and Pete Snyder trailed McAuliffe with just over $3.6 million and $2.6 million cash on hand, respectively.

McAuliffe also led all candidates in the most money raised from January to March, bringing in more than $4.1 million. Reported loans and in-kind donations are not included in cash raised totals reported by Capital News Service.

“He’s the only candidate who has been governor previously,” Farnsworth said of the advantage McAuliffe has in the Democratic race. “He has experience in statewide elections, as well as with the national Democratic Party, which has created a lot of fundraising opportunities.”

Former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-Woodbridge, rounded out the top four candidates, with more than $2.3 million cash on hand. She trailed Youngkin and McAuliffe and ranked third in fundraising in the first quarter, logging more than $1.8 million. Carroll Foy edged out Snyder, who raised over $1.3 million.

Del. Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, reported more than $321,000 cash on hand and Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Midlothian, recorded just over $205,000. Cox ranked third in fundraising for Republicans, bringing in more than $376,000, while Chase logged more than $116,000 in donations.

Republican candidate Sergio de la Pena, a retired U.S. Army colonel and former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Western Hemisphere affairs, checked in between Cox and Chase, raising more than $202,000.

Candidates serving in the General Assembly could not start fundraising until the session ended.

Farnsworth also said Democratic candidates have more cash on hand because the party is holding a primary, unlike the Republicans, who are using a convention to nominate a candidate.

“The Democrats are going with a primary, which involves a great deal of effort to connect with voters across the commonwealth,” Farnsworth said. “When you’re running in a convention, money may be less important.

Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas, logged just over $100,000 cash on hand and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax had just shy of $100,000. Carter raised more than $154,000 with over $93,000 of it from cash donations of $100 or less. Fairfax raised almost $27,000.

In the lieutenant governor race, Del. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, led the pack of 13 candidates with more than $960,000 cash on hand. Del. Mark Levine, D-Alexandria, followed Rasoul with just north of $605,000 on hand.

Rasoul also edged out his Democrat opponents in fundraising with over $620,000, followed by Norfolk City Council member Andria McClellan who brought in over $365,00.

Two former Republican delegates are vying for lieutenant governor and both started without cash on hand in January. Winsome Sears, a former Republican delegate from Winchester, outraised former Del. Tim Hugo, R-Fairfax, in the quarter, recording more than $160,000 in donations. Hugo brought in over $103,000.

Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat vying for his third term in the position, led the six candidates. He reported more than $1.3 million cash on hand. Del. Jay Jones, D-Norfolk, recorded just over $1 million, second-most of the candidates.

Herring outraised Jones in the first quarter as well, logging more than $624,000, while Jones raised more than $456,000.

Del. Jason Miyares, R-Virginia Beach, logged the most of the four Republican attorney general candidates, with more than $429,000 cash on hand. Miyares raised more than $190,000 in the first quarter. He is trailed by Republican contender Jack White, who raised over $153,00. White is an ordained minister and Army veteran.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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