Robert D. Holsworth, longtime political science professor at VCU, took a few minutes at Richbrau Brewing Co. to grade the mayoral campaigns. With early results pointing to a decisive victory for the Rev. Dwight Jones, Holsworth says he was impressed with the grassroots campaigns of Jones and Bill Pantele.
Bob Grey's campaign? Not so much.
“A big disappointment is the campaign run by Bob Grey,” he says. Holsworth, known for his political analysis as “Dr. Bob” on local TV news networks, says Grey had neither a “knack nor fire” for political campaigning. “He's a wonderful person, he just didn't have his heart in the race,” Holsworth says.
Grey also missed an opportunity by distancing himself from Mayor Wilder, Holsworth says. “His only opportunity was for Wilder to [campaign] for him in a couple of districts and force a runoff,” Holsworth says. Pantele and Jones had cornered the anti-Wilder vote, but added that Wilder still had the “most political oxygen.”
Jones won a decided advantage by gaining the local Democratic Party nomination, which put his name alongside Obama's on sample ballots. He noted the misfortune of Pantele campaign workers handing out sample ballots at the polls imprinted with Jones' name.
“I saw somebody working for Bill hand out sample ballots with Jones's name on it,” Holsworth says. “[Jones] understood the importance of getting the Democratic Party nomination.”