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Grogan Fought the T-D — and Won


After months of blood, sweat and toil to get his name out there, it seemed to Bill Grogan, independent candidate for the General Assembly's 68th District seat, that he just couldn't get no respect from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Admittedly, Grogan was running a self-described "stealth campaign," but he certainly wasn't that stealthy about it -- he'd registered by the June 12 filing deadline, raised money and been out beating doors and shaking hands.

But in a three-way race against incumbent Katherine Waddell and Manoli Loupassi, Grogan felt like the invisible man in terms of press coverage. Two T-D news articles about the race, published in July, omitted mention of him as a candidate.

"It was the second day in a row that they ran articles, and they mentioned Waddell and Loupassi, but not me," Grogan says. So he decided to find a way to boost his blip on the daily newspaper's political radar.

Because painting himself blue and streaking the paper's newsroom lacked a certain subtlety and dignity, he decided on the tried-and-true tactic of knocking on potential voters' doors.

Grogan launched his plan, calling — for about the 10th time, he says — an editor at the paper. This time, he told them he was holding a press conference July 27 at noon to officially announce his candidacy:

"I said it's going to be at the corner of Fourth and Franklin [streets], and the fellow says, 'Well, that's going to be right near our building!'

"I said, 'Yep.'"

Not only was it right near the newspaper's downtown offices, Grogan made his announcement literally from the front door of 300 E. Franklin St., the headquarters of the T-D's news operation.

"I did it on the steps," he says, adding that he was pleased that 30-plus people turned out for the event — including longtime T-D political reporter Jeff Schapiro — and with the next-day news story that resulted.

"By the way," Grogan says of the T-D's grand granite stairway fronting Franklin Street, "it makes a great public-speaking platform." S

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