Mike Dickinson mobilized big turnout to Trump Trains that traveled through the heart of Richmond in October. Dickinson’s grassroots events energized local Trump supporters even as mainstream GOP events in the area struggled. At the time, Dickinson was running for Richmond’s 1st City Council District; he came in third with 1,842 votes. Now, he has again set his sights on the 68th House of Delegates district, currently held by Dawn Adams (D).
In his Monday announcement for the Republican primary, Dickinson said, “After the tremendous success of my City Council campaign in igniting unprecedented interest throughout the region in fighting for great American values I have decided to run for Virginia’s House of Delegates 68th District (which encompasses parts of Richmond City, Chesterfield, and Henrico).”
So far, Dickinson is the only Republican candidate for the seat. The district is a swing district; in 2017 Adams took the district from Manoli Loupassi (R) with just 50.44 percent of the vote, according to Ballotpedia. Adams’ 2019 challenger Garrison Coward (R) lost with 45.3 percent of the vote.
Dickinson has come a long way since 2014, when he ran as a Democrat for Virginia’s 7th congressional district, according to Ballotpedia. He appeared on Fox News, where he told Sean Hannity, “You tell lies there, you distort the truth, you promote hate.”
In 2015, Dickinson ran for the 68th district as an independent, losing with 484 votes and 1.9 percent of the vote. Dickinson said he’s not the same politician he was then. Now, he’s attacking leading Virginia Democrats.
“My opponent Delegate Dawn Adams has sat idly by as the General Assembly has been hijacked by criminals like State Senator Louise Lucas [(D-Portsmouth)], outlandish morons like [Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manassass)], and extremist America haters like Jennifer Carroll Foy [(D)],” Dickinson said in his Monday announcement.
Dickinson gives President Trump and God the credit for his change. In 2016, he was attracted to Trump’s campaign messaging and style. Dickinson, a former strip club owner, sees a lot of similarities with himself and Trump, who had his own transition from Democrat to Republican.
“President Trump definitely showed that people that have different ideas and different beliefs can be accepted in the Republican Party. Trump led a life like I did.’
Dickinson added, “He did a lot of crazy things and he was surrounded by a crazy world, a world of businessmen, not a world of politicians,” he told The Virginia Star. “Plus I grew up. I think the old thing holds true that everyone is a Democrat until they’re paying taxes on their own business, and then they become a Republican pretty fast.”
In 2017, he converted to the Church of Latter-Day Saints.
“I met a missionary in late 2016, 2017, and she really helped me find my bearings as far as faith goes,” he said.
Dickinson said if Republicans have any doubt about his bona fides, they should look at his work over the past year.
“Over the last nine or ten months in the City of Richmond and in the Richmond region, you would be hard pressed to find somebody that’s been out there fighting on the front lines as much as I have,” Dickinson said. “I think that anybody that has questions about my past can see that I’ve worked hard for almost the last year now to redeem myself.”
In September, Dickinson’s application for a “Baby Lives Matter” mural coincided with cancelled plans for a “Black Lives Matter” mural. He’s also criticized Richmond Public Schools for their political stances, and spoken out in favor of gun rights and law enforcement. But with his extensive political background, he risks being viewed as a local Harold Stassen — a perennial candidate.
“This is an unparalleled time in America and Virginia as we are under attack from terrorists and criminals like BLM and Antifa. The Democratic Party of Virginia has turned against law-abiding Americans and now favors criminals,” Dickinson said in his campaign statement. “Just today I took a drive down the sorry sight Monument Avenue in Richmond has become. Filth, criminals, and vandalism everywhere. That is what Democrats have turned Richmond into.”
He said, “It is not coronavirus that is killing Virginia businesses — it is Democrat rule. Between the higher taxes we all now pay — highest gas price in the South — and farcical mask curfews (Coronavirus must be the vampire virus, it only comes out after midnight), Virginia is quickly losing its luster as a great place to live and do business. We must change that.”
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