It was both surprising and disappointing to learn yesterday evening that Dave Trinkle is considering running for the 11th District seat in the Virginia General assembly after losing by 44 votes to Sam Rasoul in yesterday's Democratic primary.
The final score was 846-802 with Trish White-Boyd coming in at a respectable 522 and City Councilman Court Rosen finishing at a fading 462. That was the order I predicted, though I am hardly a political forecaster. I'm almost always wrong.
Sam Rasoul's is a new and attractive face on a political landscape that has produced a lot of squabbling in Roanoke. David should have been an overwhelming choice, but his second-place finish among the hard-core party faithful showed that his decisions on City Council have consequences.
My guess is that he, Court Rosen and incumbent Bill Bestpitch would be well advised not to take their incumbency for granted in next spring's election. Miss White-Boyd, in my estimation, will pick off one of those seats at minimum, if she wants it.
There is a chance Trinkle could win it as an independent. The more likely outcome, however, would be to turn the seat over to the absurd Republican candidate, Octavia Johnson, who was recently bounced from her Sheriff's chair, but who remains formidable because of loyalty in the African-American community. I have two words for Dave: Ralph Smith.
Smith is likely Roanoke's worst mayor ... in the 125-year history of the city. He won in a three-way race against Democrats Mac McCadden and incumbent David Bowers, 34-33-33. Bowers or McCadden, alone, likely would have won 66-34. Splitting the overwhelming Democratic vote in the city is madness.
An irony here is that Bowers was reported to be grousing at the end of the primary yesterday about the use of underhanded tactics in the primary. I don't know what those would be or who he might have been talking about, but politics--at its very base--is not clean, though this appeared to be one of the cleanest and most gentlemanly (and gentlewomanly) races I've seen in a good while.
At the end of a long and disappointing day, Dave was quoted thusly about running as an independent: "Of course I have thought about that [running as an independent] and I'm still going to think about that a little bit." This is a man who has good sense, substantial good will and a lot of political skill. I hope he doesn't waste it in a run against Sam. That would be sad.