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Why November's Election Could Upend Richmond City Council



November’s elections could reconfigure the landscape of city government, with the potential that a majority of City Council seats will change hands.

Five of the nine members could be new, counting the ones who have pondered runs for mayor and those not seeking re-election.

President Michelle Mosby has announced her intention to run for mayor, and councilmen Jon Baliles and Chris Hilbert have hinted at the prospect.

Member Charles Samuels announced in June that he’s ending his term, saying that eight years was an “appropriate length of time to serve on council.” Councilwoman Kathy Graziano also has hinted that she won’t seek another term.

Mosby kicked off her mayoral campaign in January with a three-day symposium featuring five black women who serve as mayors across the country.

Baliles, in his first term, said in April that he is considering a run for mayor. In 2012, he beat incumbent Bruce Tyler for his West End seat by 20 votes.

Hilbert, who has served on council since 2004, is a senior lending officer for the Virginia Housing Development Authority. He confirmed in September that he may run for mayor.

There’s no shortage of potential candidates. Community activist Lille Estes has officially announced her intention to run. Jack Berry, executive director for Venture Richmond, told Style that he’ll confirm whether he’s a candidate by April. Others who have hinted at the possibility include Jeff Bourne, chairman of the Richmond School Board, Levar Stoney, secretary of the commonwealth, and Joe Morrissey, a former state delegate.

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