I did want to pass along some extra material from both mayoral candidates and open the floor for people to talk about these city races.
Incumbent Mayor David Bowers held a rally Friday in front of Thelma’s Chicken & Waffles, where a sign promoted the restaurant’s “Mayor Bowers Burger” and “Council Chicken Sandwich.” The current and former chairmen of the Democratic Party of Virginia, Brian Moran and Richard Cranwell, warned Republicans are looking to get a foot-hold in the traditional Democratic stronghold of Roanoke with mayoral challenger Mark Lucas.
Bowers said he thought Lucas was all sizzle and no steak. He predicted big things for Roanoke, particularly the stretch between Valley View Mall and Wiley Drive: “In 10 or 15 years you’re going to drive that Interstate 581, and I think you’ll see a transformed skyline for Roanoke. And believe you me: the best is yet to come.”
Bowers also took time to describe himself, repeating some of the key phrases we’ve heard from him over the last few decades:
“I’m still that working-class guy who grew up in Raleigh Court. My dad drove a bread truck. My mom raised six very opinionated children, and I started practicing law from behind a card table.
“But during my tenure as mayor and in my public life, I hope you’ll know I’ve given you my heart and my hard work and my honesty and my good sense of humor. And I’ve brought dignity and friendliness to the office of mayor.”
Lucas didn’t hold a rally this week, but after Friday’s story with the candidates’ dueling takes on jobs and the economy, he sent along this statement as a rebuttal to Bowers and his Thursday news conference:
“I just wanted to chime in on something. I have heard David Bowers is now taking credit for the Carilion Biomedical facility. This is once again an attempt to take credit for something he didn’t do or originally opposed. He adamantly opposed the demolition of both the armory and Victory Stadium which are both within the Biomedical center footprint. He opposed closing Forest Park Elementary and now takes credit for the success of Forest Park Academy. He also opposed changing the proffers at Patrick Henry High School and was very vocal about renovating Victory Stadium to be used by both PH and William Fleming H.S., yet now takes credit for the beautiful new campus stadiums. You shouldn’t be able to get away with taking credit for accomplishments you had little to do with – particularly when your own campaign defines the Mayor’s role as merely hosting meetings and events. David Bowers may now, with a few days left until the election, attempt to rebrand his campaign as ‘Bowers means Business,’ but I would suggest a more appropriate name would be ‘Bowers means Business as Usual…’ “
We’ll be back tomorrow with lots of analysis on the race and thoughts on what each candidate must do to win — not to mention a live chat here tomorrow afternoon.
– Mason Adams