The latest campaign finance reports for Richmond's City Council races show challengers in some tightly contested races rapidly raising money on the way to the Nov. 6 elections.
Challengers in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 9th districts all outraised their incumbent opponents from July 1 through Aug. 31, though most of the incumbents still retain an advantage in cash on hand. Campaign finance reports were due Sept. 15.
Incumbents in all but one Richmond City Council race continue to hold a major fundraising advantage over their opponents.
And while several challengers say cash isn't everything, they acknowledge that money does equate to messaging, and they're doing their best to catch up.
According to the latest campaign finance figures from the Virginia Public Access Project, the only race in which the incumbent doesn't enjoy a significant financial edge is the 2nd District contest between incumbent Charles R. Samuels and Richmond businessman and real estate developer Charlie Diradour.
Two candidates looking to unseat City Council incumbents this fall have made a show of financial force, outraising their opponents over the past three months, campaign finance reports show.
Contractor and developer David Gammino, who is challenging incumbent E. Martin Jewell for the 5th District seat, raised $16,510 between Jan. 1 and March 31, according to first-quarter campaign finance reports compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project.
It's a three-way race for the 5th District seat on Richmond City Council again.
Woodland Heights civic leader S. Lee Shewmake is running to unseat Councilman E. Martin Jewell, who won re-election four years ago with less than 50 percent of the vote in a battle with Shewmake and businessman Mark E. Brandon.
Richmond's City Council has a problem with making and keeping appointments. A council committee struggled Tuesday with proposals to change the way it appoints members to the Slave Trail Commission, Capital Region Airport Commission and a new GRTC Transit System task force, while belatedly reappointing two members to the board of commissioners at Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority.
The political season is still in its gurgling, soft-headed infancy, but the field for November's citywide elections is taking shape. What do we know for sure? The Richmond School Board is about to get an infusion of new blood. As for City Council, 9th District Councilman Douglas Conner has, by way of unforced error, opened the door for a challenge. And the race for the 2nd District seat may the most interesting of them all.
Richmond City Councilman E. Martin Jewell hasn't accounted for all of the money he spent in his re-election campaign four years ago or reported almost $4,000 he raised at a fundraiser last spring.
Richmond Registrar J. Kirk Showalter said her office had alerted Jewell in 2010 that he had to account for a balance of $6,397 that his campaign showed in its final report of 2008 but was zeroed out in subsequent reports.