Monday, June 08, 2009

David Toscano Will Face Opponent in November

Two-term incumbent Delegate David Toscano (D-57) may be surprised to learn that he will be almost certainly facing an opponent on the ballot in November.

Independent candidate Robert Brandon Smith of Charlottesville has turned in, as of 5:00 p.m. today, a total of 116 valid signatures of registered voters to qualify for the ballot this fall. Virginia law requires that candidates for the General Assembly obtain at least 125 signatures to get on the ballot.

This means that Smith has until 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday (primary day) to collect the additional 9 signatures that he needs to put his name on the ballot alongside Toscano's.

The 57th House District consists of 8 precincts in Charlottesville and 8 precincts in Albemarle. Before Toscano, a former member of the Charlottesville City Council, won the seat in 2005, it was held by the late Mitch Van Yahres for almost a quarter-century. Somewhat before that, the district was represented by Thomas Jefferson.

Of the valid signatures that Smith has obtained, 114 came from Charlottesville voters and 2 came from Albemarle County voters.

The lopsided signature count from Smith's petitions may reflect that he is better known in the city than in the county, where he regularly speaks up at City Council meetings about a range of issues. Something of an activist gadfly, in 2007 he was an unofficial write-in candidate for several posts. As I wrote following that year's election day:

I should add that Robert Brandon Smith, who announced that he was a write in candidate for virtually all offices on the ballot, received various votes in different configurations of his name for each of the available contests, though it is difficult to determine precisely how many of these votes were meant to be his.
I am sure that both Mr. Toscano and Mr. Smith are looking forward to participating in vigorous and robust debates about the issues that concern 57th District voters. The job interview process for state legislator begins on Wednesday.

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