In addition to Richmond and Virginia Beach, the cities of Roanoke, Suffolk, and Portsmouth all held mayoral elections on Tuesday. In Suffolk, Councilmember Michael Duman has a solid lead in unofficial results; in Roanoke, incumbent Democrat Sherman Lea is ahead; and in Portsmouth, Councilmember Shannon Glover has won, according to data from the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP).
Portsmouth’s city council and mayor have recently faced controversy over a Confederate monument and charges filed by the Portsmouth Police Department against Senator Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth.) The council’s votes have frequently split along racial lines, including a recent vote to remove the city attorney and city manager, who are both Black. Glover, who is Black, will replace retiring Mayor John Rowe, who is White. According to The Virginian Pilot, results from Tuesday’s city council elections will shift the council from majority White to majority Black, leaving Councilmember Bill Moody as the only White member. The council will also appoint someone to fill Glover’s vacant seat.
“What happened at the monument was a black eye on our city and it just brought a very difficult situation for folks to deal with,” Glover told Wavy.com.
Roanoke’s mayoral election pitted incumbent Lea against former mayor David Bowers, who was running as an independent but was “once a career Democrat”, according to Progress Virginia. Bowers took an early lead, but after absentee ballots were counted, Lea pulled ahead according to The Roanoke Times.
Lea said his son kept him from getting discouraged. “He said, ‘Dad, stay with it. There’s going to be a change in the numbers,'” Lea told The Roanoke Times.
On his campaign website, Lea touts the city’s community safety, education, and COVID-19 response. “We have a great quality of life, a pre-pandemic growing economy, and are positioned well post-pandemic to attract new businesses and people.”
The city also elected its first majority-Black city council, according to WSLS.
In Suffolk, Councilmember Duman unseated Democratic incumbent Linda Johnson who has occupied the seat since 2006. Duman is a veteran and owns a car dealership, according to his bio on the city website. He has spoken favorably about Second Amendment issues as a councilmember.
When Virginia Citizens Defense League supporters asked the city to pass a Second Amendment resolution, the council declined, but Duman said, “I applaud Suffolk 2A Advocacy group, the Virginia Citizens Defense League and others for communicating their concerns to their representatives,” Duman said, according to the Suffolk News-Herald.
At a mayoral forum during the campaign, Duman said he would focus on transparency and said he’d be willing to consider civilian review boards for law enforcement, although he emphasized that badly behaved officers are the minority.
According to the Suffolk News-Herald, Duman said, “We can talk about the issues, but right now the issues are having means for our citizens and concerned parties, all our stakeholders, to communicate directly with our elected officials as they formulate their policies.”
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