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Wade, Pinkston lead City Council race; two newcomers to join School Board

Democrats Brian Pinkston and Juandiego Wade were leading in the Charlottesville City Council election by press time Tuesday night, with 11 of 12 precincts reporting. The remaining ballots yet to be counted are provisional ballots and absentee ballots that have not yet been received. A landslide victory is likely for the two Democrats.

Wade, a member of the Charlottesville School Board, received 11,582 total votes by press time. Pinkston, a project manager at the University of Virginia, received 10,041 votes.

Yas Washington, an independent candidate and entrepreneur, was trailing Pinkston and Wade, with 3,407 votes.

Voters could select as many as two candidates on the ballot for the two at-large seats up for grabs this year. Absentee ballots will be accepted until 12 p.m. Nov. 5. Final results will be certified Nov. 15.

For Charlottesville School Board, two newcomers — Dom Morse and Emily Dooley — were among the top three vote-getters with all of the precincts reporting by press time, except absentee ballots received after Election Day. Incumbent Lisa Larson-Torres received 23.7% of the votes cast — 7,329 — which was the most of any of the final candidates.

Larson-Torres will serve a second term on the board along with Morse and Dooley.

Longtime board member Leah Puryear, who was seeking her fifth term, received 18.34% of the votes, missing the top three by less than 1,000 votes. Christa Bennett placed last in the voting with 14.5% of the vote.

Acting city registrar Taylor Yowell said most city precincts experienced high turnout. By 4 p.m., 8,148 people had voted in-person, which is about 26% of the city’s registered voters. That doesn’t include the 4,543 of voters who cast ballots early in-person or the ballots mailed in.

“There’s been a steady line at a lot of the precincts,” Yowell said.

In 2017, when the governor’s office was last on the ballot, 16,548 people voted in the city, about 52% of registered voters. In 2019, 13,125 voters, or 43% of those registered, cast a ballot.

The city didn’t face any major Election Day challenges, unlike Albemarle County, which ran out of ballots at some precincts less than two hours before the polls closed.

“There’s always a few hiccups with an election as big as this, but nothing too major,” Yowell said.

Pinkston ran for the City Council in 2019, but he lost the Democratic nomination to Michael Payne, Lloyd Snook and Sena Magill, who all currently sit on the council.

Pinkston and Wade will take the two seats that are currently held by councilor Heather Hill, a Democrat, and Mayor Nikuyah Walker, an independent. Hill announced early this year that she would not seek a second term. Walker chose to withdraw from the election in September. The new City Council will be entirely Democrat-controlled.

However, due to the timing of Walker’s decision, her name still appeared on the ballot because the ballot had already been printed. Last week, Yowell told The Daily Progress that the registrar’s office was doing all it could to notify voters of the change by including slips of paper announcing Walker’s withdrawal in each absentee ballot that was sent out and posting notices on each privacy screen in the ballot marking stations.

Walker had received 1,916 votes by press time, despite her withdrawal.

Pinkston and Wade celebrated their victory with other Charlottesville Democrats at Champion Brewing downtown Tuesday night.

Wade expressed his pleasure with being the leading candidate.

“It really feels good that what we’ve been saying and sharing with the residents of Charlottesville for the last 18 months have been kind of validated thus far,” Wade said. “We feel that residents are ready to move forward, they want to address some critical issues, but they’re ready to go. I think that they know that Brian and I are the kind of perfect pair to help the city move forward and we’re ready to go on day one.”

Pinkston said he’s excited at the prospect of leading the city.

“I think that I’m good at building consensus with stakeholders. I think I’m good at listening. I want to be a person that is compassionate and empathetic and listens to a range of different voices,” Pinkston said.

“It’s been a long trek for me, you know? I ran in 2019, I didn’t think I’d run again but chose to. I’m glad I did,” he said.

Katherine Knott contributed to this report.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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