Despite being the top fundraiser for the Richmond mayoral race, former Secretary of the Commonwealth, Levar Stoney, still lags in the polls behind two opponents – Joe Morrissey, the former state delegate whose career has been marked with scandal, and Jack Berry, former executive director of Venture Richmond who has raised significantly less funds than Stoney.
With the assistance of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Stoney gained an immense fundraising advantage and raised more than any other candidate. According to Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) finance records, 60 percent of Stoney’s donors also gave to McAuliffe and his political action committee.
In addition, Stoney has been able to secure the endorsements of several prominent Virginia Democrats including former Richmond mayors Henry Marsh and Rudy McCollum, and Anne Holton, the state’s former secretary of education and wife of Democratic vice-presidential nominee, Tim Kaine.
However, despite spending the most on television and radio advertisements, and mailings among all candidates, Stoney remains behind.
A recent ChamberRVA poll of 1,850 likely Richmond voters revealed Stoney trailing both Morrissey and Berry in a three-man race among the seven Richmond mayoral candidates.
The poll showed 20 percent of respondents citywide supported Morrissey, 17 percent supported Berry and 15 percent supported Stoney. Michelle Mosby, Bruce Baliles, Lawrence Williams and June Bobby, who also appear on the ballot, garnered a combined total of 10 percent of respondents.
Stoney has, however, made strides in the polls. A September Wason Center for Public Policy at Newport University revealed that Stoney trailed in fifth place behind Morrissey, Berry, Mosby and Baliles.
Comparing the most recent poll to data from a late September Richmond Association of Realtors poll showed support for both Morrissey and Berry has also declined. In the September report, Morrissey had 28 percent citywide support; Berry had 25 and Stoney had 14 percent.
In order to win a Richmond mayoral election, a candidate must win five of the city’s nine districts. If no candidate reaches that threshold in the November election, the top two finishers in the citywide vote advance to a runoff election in December.
Among decided voters, Morrissey leads in six of the city’s nine district while Berry leads in the remaining three.
“Levar is running second in every district, which is evidence that he’s the only one with the ability to put together a broad coalition to win,” said Stoney campaign spokesman Matt Corridoni to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Undecided voters could impact the final results of the race.
Thirty-eight percent of the ChamberRVA poll’s likely voters remain undecided, leaving room for shifts in ranking among candidates as Election Day approaches. Many of the undecided reportedly favor one of the top three candidates with Morrissey and Stoney being favored by 21 percent of undecided likely voters and Berry being favored by 16 percent.