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Former Charlottesville Mayor David Brown drops out of state House race

Former Charlottesville Mayor David Brown has withdrawn from the race for the 54th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates 15 days after announcing his bid.

“After considerable thought and discussion with friends and family, I am withdrawing from the race for the Democratic nomination,” Brown said in a written statement released on Wednesday. “This will be a very competitive primary, and I realize that I am not prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to succeed.”

That leaves four Democrats in the primary race for the newly redistricted 54th District seat. Another former Charlottesville Mayor, Dave Norris, is still in the running. He is joined by Albemarle County School Board Chair Katrina Callsen, former Charlottesville Democrats co-Chair Dashad Cooper and former Police Civilian Oversight Board member Bellamy Brown.

And more people could still join the Democratic primary field before the filing deadline of April 6.

To date, no Republicans have filed to run, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

Brown did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Progress on Wednesday.

He said in his prepared statement that he still intends to remain active in local politics, but did not say if that meant a bid for a more local seat.

“I will continue to be involved in helping our community address the serious challenges we face, but will look for opportunities locally instead of in Richmond,” Brown said in his statement.

Some of those serious challenges include creating “bikeable, walkable neighborhoods,” preventing gun violence and supporting public education, he said.

Brown served on City Council from 2004 until 2011 and was the city’s mayor from 2004 through 2007.

After he left City Council, Brown worked as a special assistant to Democratic House Minority Leader Del. David Toscano, who represented the Charlottesville area in the state’s lower chamber, from 2012 until 2014. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe appointed Brown director of the Virginia Department of Health Professions in 2014, given Brown’s experience as a chiropractor and service on the Virginia Board of Medicine. Former Gov. Ralph Northam reappointed Brown in 2018. Brown left the role in October 2022.

Brown urged whoever is elected to push for campaign finance reform. A bill that would have prevented Virginia lawmakers from using campaign funds for personal use—like a vacation or a country club membership—died earlier this month in the House of Delegates.

“Virginia’s campaign finance laws are among the least effective in the country, and we need to fix this,” Brown said.

The Democratic primary will be June 20.


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