This week the Richmond Mayor chatter went into overdrive thanks to a poll released by Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center for Public Policy and published by the Richmond Times Dispatch. The poll of 600 likely voters was conducted across the city Aug 18 – 24 and has a 4.9 margin of error.
The poll results show the embattled (that’s a good word right…embattled) Joe Morrissey with a significant lead with 28% of the citywide vote. He was followed by former Richmond Venture director Jack Berry (16%), City Council President Michelle Mosby (10%), City Councilman Jon Baliles (9%), former Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney (7%), and former Councilman Bruce Tyler (4%). The poll shows a pretty large undecided vote (1/4) – therefore nothing is decided as of yet – most people are not paying attention – but The Cheats Movement loves the energy…so let’s talk about it.
The poll set off a firestorm of reaction across social media. As you know, here at The Cheats Movement we’ve been following this race very closely and I must admit the poll shakes up the landscape for me as well. It mostly proves that some of my early prediction (like the my early tier rankings) were somewhat off base. So in light of new information, here are my 5 thoughts/questions from the CNU poll results and my updated Cheats Movement Mayor Race Tier Rankings. But let’s face it – NO ONE ASKED ME.
1. I’M NOT SURPRISED THAT “FIGHTING JOE” IS WINNING – I AM SURPRISED THAT LEVAR IS 4TH
- Somebody has to say it right…I’m okay with it being me and let’s face it – I’ve clearly been wrong placing Levar in the frontrunner category of the Cheats Movement top-tier rankings to this point. Levar has raised a record amount of money (which he hasn’t spent), he’s getting some significant endorsements, and he’s out – putting in the work – asking for people’s votes. I give him credit for all of that but it is clearly no substitute for Richmonders knowing who you are through daily contact and interaction. A lot of people don’t know Levar Stoney and I don’t know exactly how he makes that up – even with a blast of television ads. The RTD’s Michael Paul Williams (and one of my favorite people in Richmond – that I haven’t met yet) tweeted, “CNU poll shows name recognition is everything. Notorious beats unknown. #rvamayor.” MPW speaks the truth.
2. OKAY I’M A LITTLE SURPRISED THAT JOE IS WINNING
- I just don’t know exactly what this means. Cleary, Joe Morrissey has had a life-time of – just everything. He’s had his share of victories and of course, his share of challenges. In that way, he is a lot like many Richmonders and I’m sure that is why and how they relate to him. I’m going to dig deeper into why people support Joe in a later post. Clearly, the block loves Joe Morrissey. Voters that feel like no one is reppin them feel that Joe is reppin them – and Richmond City, as a whole, often feel like no one is representing for them – so I can see it. But Joe is going to have to sell me that he is a role model for our youth. Any leader should have to pass that test right? Maybe not. Maybe he does pass the test with the people that are supporting him. I’ve been around him. I’ve interviewed him (he called me Felix that one time) but I understand his personality, extreme intellect and charm. He’s a likable guy. I just don’t know what this all means — someone help me out.
3. DESPITE WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD – MOSBY AND BALILES ARE NOT DEAD IN THIS RACE
- I’ll admit, I’ve never placed Mosby or Baliles as major players in this race. And, I still don’t see their paths to outright victory – but clearly I’m wrong that their campaigns have no place in this landscape. Both Mosby and Baliles have proven that they have some real support in their base areas of the city. The CNU poll shows Mosby leading in the 9th and if that holds – she may single handily be responsible for a run-off. I’ve seen the Mosby campaign at a ton of community events – out with the people – working really hard to win the race. Often times, I’m surprised that she’s working as hard as she is – I shouldn’t be, she wants to lead. I can see that her work is paying off. As for Bailies who trails Berry in his home district of the 1st. I haven’t seen that same “on the ground” effort. I know Jon and like him but outside of the campaign emails I get from his campaign, I haven’t seen him in the streets, not to say he’s not out there (I’m not in the streets a lot these days). I just haven’t seen it up close – so for him to be polling so well tell me he has tremendous upside.
4. JACK BERRY IS PITCHING A NEAR PERFECT GAME (SO FAR)
- As of today, Jack Berry is running a really good race – I’d say near perfect. He’s out working hard, raising money and actually spending some of it. His “I’m with Jack” video is the best I’ve seen so far of this race. And clearly his message is resonating with Richmonders. He’s playing to his strengths of experience leadership and clearly has connections in all parts of Richmond. Does he have a real shot to pull this off…you tell me?
5. WHAT DOES IT TELL US THAT IN A CITY AS DIVERSE AS RICHMOND – TWO (OLDER) WHITE MALES ARE LEADING THE POLLS?
- I guess that’s more of a community question. I clearly don’t have the answer. Clearly, we have a long way to go nationally for women and minority leaders to accurately represent our communities but I feel that local elections are much better at that. We’ve had two black males serve as our first two popularly elected Mayors since the charter was changed – so maybe there is nothing to this particular question but seeing the early poll results – I do have to wonder. How come.
NOW FOR THE LATEST CHEATS MOVEMENT MAYOR RACE RANKINGS:
- Joe Morrissey: The CNU poll has Joe leading in the 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th which would get him what he needs to win the race outright.
- Jack Berry: The CNU poll has Jack leading in the 1st, 2nd, and 4th.
- Michelle Mosby: The CNU poll has her winning her home district of the 9th and doing surprising well in the 1st.
- Jon Baliles: The CNU poll has Jon doing will in his home district of the 1st and well in the 4th.
- Levar Stoney: My shock of the poll. Levar has failed to gain traction city-wide. There is still a lot of time and he has money to spend but the clock is ticking.
- Bruce Tyler: I know that I haven’t mention Bruce Tyler up to this point. I don’t know what he did to gain 11% in the 9th. You tell me. Good for him though.
Okay, so am I right with my tier rankings or am I way off base? Let me know by adding your own rankings and comments in the comment section. The Cheats Movement Blog will continue to look at this race very closing as we move in to the November election. YOU can always email me/the blog at: TheCheatsMovement@gmail.com.