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  • tommy
    Message 1 of 1 , May 4, 2003
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      > McEachin pulls out of primary
      > Lambert has no opposition for state Senate
      > Former Del. A. Donald McEachin, of Henrico County, withdrew yesterday
      > from a state Senate primary race in which his campaign never seemed to
      > catch fire.
      > McEachin said he had gotten the pro-mayor-at-large answer he wanted
      > from Sen. Benjamin J. Lambert III, D-Richmond.
      > Lambert, who has represented the 9th senatorial district in the
      > Virginia Senate since 1986, now has no opposition in the June 10
      > Democratic primary, nor in the Nov. 4 general election.
      > The Lambert-McEachin primary was to have been the only significant
      > contest in the Richmond area this year. There are no other primary
      > challenges in the area. In addition, the House of Delegates and Senate
      > districts have been drawn so carefully to benefit incumbents that few
      > of the incumbents are being challenged.
      > On Wednesday, McEachin released a letter to Lambert in which he
      > promised to withdraw from the race if Lambert pledged to support a
      > mayor-at-large plan proposed by former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder and
      > former mayor and congressman Thomas J. Bliley Jr.
      > He asked for a response from Lambert by May 6.
      > Lambert responded that he could not sign on to a specific plan when
      > another plan is being developed by the Richmond City Council.
      > But after attacking McEachin for the "unethical" lapse of trying to
      > hold the 9th District seat "hostage" for a deal on the mayor-at-large
      > issue, Lambert added:
      > "I support the election of the mayor at large by the people of the
      > city of Richmond in a manner the voters deem most appropriate."
      > McEachin said Lambert's response was so "shrill" that he had not
      > focused on the paragraph in which Lambert seemed to agree to the
      > mayor-at-large proposal.
      > "Given the tenor of his response, I was tempted to strike back and
      > engage in a full campaign," McEachin said. "But I have given my word
      > [that I would withdraw] and your word ought to be your bond."
      > McEachin said he is satisfied that Lambert has moved a long way from
      > 1995, when he opposed the mayor-at-large proposal.
      > McEachin insisted he could have won the primary. He said he has been
      > underestimated before in Democratic primaries and has gone on to win.
      > But he said he would have had to self-finance his campaign and, having
      > won a concession on the most important issue facing the voters, he
      > thought it would be best to withdraw.
      > Lambert praised McEachin's decision. He said he was about to send
      > McEachin a letter pointing out his agreement to a mayor-at-large
      > proposal, if the Richmond voters agree. But the letter was to urge
      > McEachin to move on to other issues, he said.
      > The Wilder-Bliley commission proposed electing Richmond's
      > mayor-at-large, but the person would have to receive a majority of
      > votes in five of the city's nine wards.
      > A City Council commission studying the same issue is expected to make
      > recommendations by the end of June.
      > McEachin said he expected the Wilder-Bliley plan to be on the ballot
      > this fall and to be approved. Currently, the city's mayor is chosen by
      > the council from among its nine members.
      > In a 1995 referendum, Richmond voters approved by a 2-1 margin having
      > a popularly elected mayor, but the proposal died later in the City
      > Council and a General Assembly committee.
      > Ever since McEachin entered the race, there have been suggestions that
      > he was pushing Wilder's agenda.
      > McEachin was the Democratic candidate for attorney general in 2001. He
      > lost to Republican Jerry W. Kilgore by a wide margin. If he lost again
      > to Lambert, his future in politics might have been limited.
      > The 9th District encompasses Charles City County and parts of Richmond
      > and Henrico County.
      > Contact Tyler Whitley at (804) 649-6780 or twhitley@...
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