RICHMOND, Va. — Levar Stoney appears to have won the Richmond mayoral race after capturing five of the nine city voting districts, according to preliminary results. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Stoney defeated Berry in the popular vote, 33,423 (36 percent) to 31,174 (34 percent) with absentee ballots yet to be counted.
In order for a candidate to become Richmond mayor, he or she must win five of the city’s nine districts. If no candidate wins five districts, a runoff election between top voter getters will occur.
According to the results, Stoney won the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th Districts, while Berry won the 1st and 4th Districts, with absentee ballots yet to be counted.
Stoney and Berry were locked in a tight battle in the city’s 3rd District that would decide if Stoney would become mayor elect or if there would be a runoff on December 20.
Stoney ultimately won the District, 3,754 votes (37 percent) to 3,162 votes (32 percent), with absentee ballots yet to be counted.
Before all the precincts reported Tuesday night, Stoney addressed his supporters at his Richmond campaign rally.
“Six and a half or so months ago, we started a journey to change Richmond. I told you then that I would always stand up for those individuals who lacked a voice,” said Stoney. “I told you then that I would always right those wrongs that I saw in our city.”
During his speech, Stoney thanked his supporters and Richmond city councilman Jon Baliles, who recently dropped out of the mayoral race and endorsed Stoney.
“The City of Richmond has been patient for far to long. It is our time,” Stoney said.
While speaking to campaign supporters Tuesday night, Berry said he believed the race is headed to a runoff, “in which case we’re going to gear up again and do this for December 20.”
“It doesn’t appear to be over,” he said. “It appears we’re going to do it without the distractions of a national election, without the distractions of a candidate everyone wanted to beat. We are going to do it with people who care about our city and make the decision about who our leader is going to be.”
Pre-election polls showed Joe Morrissey as the favorite in the mayoral race, leading in four of the nine Districts; 6, 7, 8, and 9.
While Morrissey did win the 8th and 9th Districts, he wasn’t as competitive in some of the remaining districts and trails Stoney and Berry with only 21 percent of the overall vote.
Earlier Tuesday night, Morrissey conceded the mayoral race to Stoney and Berry, who he believed were headed towards a runoff.
“I want to say this. I was pleased to run with some really, really exceptional candidates,” Morrissey said at his Richmond campaign headquarters. “I want to congratulate Levar Stoney. I want to congratulate Jack Berry.”
Who is Levar Stoney?
Levar Stoney most recently served as Secretary of the Commonwealth under Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, but has never been elected to office.
Along with education, Stoney said he would work to reduce gun crime in an effort to keep neighborhoods safe for families.
“None of these things will get done without a fresh approach to city government,” he said. “I will be a hands-on, visible and transparent Mayor. I will promote collaboration across departments. I will promote diversity and I will motivate staff to get things done. I will be the champion of accountability. We will measure our outputs as well as our inputs, and the buck will stop with me.”
Stoney, 35, was born in New York and grew up in Yorktown. He attended James Madison University.
Stoney was sworn in as Secretary of the Commonwealth on Jan. 19, 2014 and was the first African-American to hold the post. He was also the youngest member of McAuliffe’s Cabinet. He resigned on April 15, ahead of his mayoral run.
He was also previously one of the youngest state Democratic party executive directors, back in 2008, when he served the Democratic Party of Virginia. From there he parlayed his experience into McAuliffe’s gubernatorial campaign.