Ending months of speculation, West End Councilman Jon Baliles announced Monday he is running for Richmond mayor.
Baliles has represented the West End 1st voter district since 2012. He defeated then-incumbent and current mayoral candidate Bruce Tyler by 20 votes to win his council seat.
His mayoral announcement came via social media in the form of a YouTube video.
Jon Baliles announces
“We need a leader who can clean up the mess, be open and honest, and knows how to make Richmond work, and can do it on day one. That’s why I’m running for mayor,” Baliles says in the video.
Also Monday, Richmond businessman Brad Froman announced via social media that he, too, would run for mayor. Froman, 58, is the owner of a multimedia production company and a resident of Stratford Hills. In an interview, he said repairing City Hall would be his first task if elected.
Froman has never held public office. He created a political committee to run for U.S. Senate in 2014, but dropped the bid when his wife became pregnant.
Baliles and Froman join a field of candidates that includes City Council President Michelle Mosby, former councilman Bruce Tyler, former delegate Joe Morrissey, community strategist Lillie A. Estes, architect Lawrence Williams, activists Alan Schintzius and Rick Tatnall, and Richmond Public Schools teacher Chad Ingold.
The field could swell even more if long-rumored candidates Councilman Chris Hilbert, Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney and former Venture Richmond executive Jack Berry make their candidacies official.
Froman thinks the crowded field will promote a better dialogue about the city’s future.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of different points of view presented among the many different candidates, and people will sit back and have an open mind and say, ‘What do we really need in Richmond?’” Froman said. “And maybe it’s not what the political class and all the powerbrokers in Richmond think it needs to be.”