Posted on: December 4, 2023, 09:45h.
Last updated on: December 4, 2023, 09:45h.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney (D) has officially announced his intention to run for governor, aiming to succeed Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin in January 2026. Stoney says he’s running for governor to ensure all Virginians have “a fair shot” where success doesn’t depend on one’s zip code. He believes he’s qualified to bring people together, as he was the first Black person to serve as the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia and became the youngest mayor in Richmond’s history when he was elected at 35 years of age.
His time as mayor has seen Richmond through some difficult, pressing, and divided times, including the city’s June 2020 protests at the Robert E. Lee Statute in response to the murder of George Floyd. His administration claims credit for reducing Richmond’s poverty rate by more than 20% since he assumed office, and is saying that the city now has a budget surplus.
Mayor Stoney already faces competition in the Democratic primary, with US Rep. Abigail Spanberger also running for governor. The congresswoman will not seek reelection so she can pursue the governor’s office. No Republican has yet declared their 2025 election candidacy.
Support of Casino Resort
One of Stoney’s more controversial proposals was his support of Richmond bringing a casino resort to the city. Each of Urban One’s pitch were met with significant opposition, with voters rejecting the project narrowly in 2021 and more strongly in the recent referendum. Urban One was seeking to construct an integrated resort casino near the Phillip Morris plant on the city’s Southside along Interstate 95, but the proposal faced heavy criticism from opponents. The proposed casino tax revenues were promised to benefit early childhood programs through the establishment of the Richmond Childcare and Education Trust Fund, but the successful casino opposition campaigns argued that “we’re not lacking money in Richmond” but “lacking a vision.”