- The other big story is former secretary of the commonwealth Levar Stoney’s shockingly low numbers. Despite raising as much money as all the other candidates combined, he’s polling in the single digits, not much better than longshot activist Bobby Junes. Stoney has picked up some high-profile endorsements and will likely earn the support of the city’s Democratic machinery. But as I told Richmond Magazine’s Mark Robinson last month, endorsements are generally useful as signals to other elites, not to voters. Elite support is good, but at some point you need voters to buy your story. It’s possible that the Stoney campaign has been saving money for a big ad blitz; if so, Stoney needs to start getting his message out to voters ASAP. At this point he needs endorsements and donations less than he needs yard signs and committed supporters in each district.
- Former Venture Richmond director Jack Berry should be encouraged by the poll results; he’s probably the candidate who has come closest to “breaking through” to challenge Morrissey for voter support. (Indeed, his campaign tweeted this week that now it was a “two-person race.”) As long as no candidate wins a majority of votes in five of the city’s nine election districts, the top two candidates go to a runoff. If Berry takes even the No. 2 spot, he can take advantage of Morrissey’s high unfavorables — 44 percent, according to the CNU poll — to build an anti-Joe majority. (This has always been Bruce Tyler’s strategy, but his anemic poll numbers and lack of a niche suggest that he’s a longshot for the second spot.)
- City Council President Michelle Mosby is suffering from being the insider candidate in an outsider year. According to the poll, Mosby is in a distant third at 10 percent. That’s not so far behind Berry, but she’s one of the only two candidates (with Morrissey being the other) who has a higher “unfavorable” than “favorable” rating. It’s hard to run on a record of accomplishment in city government when a majority of Richmonders don’t like city government; the poll indicates that 50 percentdisapprove of City Council’s performance. (The other Council member in the race, Jon Baliles, is less well known but has much lower unfaves, most likely because of his opposition to Mayor Dwight Jones’ policies over the past few years.)
September 2, 2016 at 3:18 PM EDT