|Kimble Reynolds Jr.|
Former Martinsville Mayor Kimble Reynolds Jr.'s entry into the 11th District House of Delegates race in Roanoke presents some interesting questions, since he's running as an Independent.
Reynolds, who lost a race to Robert Hurt (now a U.S. Congressman) for the 13th District seat earlier and who was a strong supporter of Tom Perriello's when he won a Congressional seat, throws a large wrench into what was looking like a Sam Rasoul cakewalk.
Rasoul beat three other Democrats to win that party's nomination to run against former Roanoke Sheriff Octavia Johnson, a Republican. Both Reynolds and Johnson are black and Rasoul is white. Roanoke's African-American community has tended to vote for black candidates when given that choice and in this race, they'll have two choices. Rasoul ran strong among minorities in his chase of the nomination, won by 44 votes.
Reynolds has little name recognition here and there are some who are even questioning whether he actually lives in the district (his law office remains in Martinsville), but he's in and his candidacy must be dealt with. His support of Perriello is encouraging. I think Perriello, a one-term Democrat in the House (he lost to Hurt, too), is one of the best Congressmen we've had in many years.
Reynolds is not going to win. You can bank that. But he can disrupt if the race is close and word is that Johnson's handlers plan a nasty campaign, the kind that divides. Sam won't do that. He's a good guy with a lot of integrity and my guess is he'd rather lose than be the kind of candidate who plays a dirty game, Mayor David Bowers' acrid assertions aside.