With each passing day, the 2016 Richmond mayoral race becomes a more crowded affair.
Church Hill resident Rick Tatnall said in an interview Thursday morning that he is seeking the office. Tatnall, 58, is a well-known advocate for cleaning up the James River and other environmentally friendly initiatives. He recently lobbied to keep minor league baseball on the Boulevard as the city solicits input on how best to redevelop the publicly owned land that's home to the Diamond.
Tatnall has never held elected office. He ran for mayor in 2012, but dropped out after he realized his candidacy jeopardized his advocacy projects. This time around, he says, he can’t sit on the sidelines.
“All of the names that are out there, I don’t think are qualified … This is the most important election in the history of the city of Richmond,” he says. “We’re going to change the mayor. We’re going to change a majority of council — that’s a given — and we’re at a time when we can either go forward or stumble back.”
Tatnall has not begun circulating a petition to gather the 500 signatures the city charter requires of a person to formally announce their candidacy, but he says he is “100 percent going to be a candidate.” He lays out his vision for a “proud and unified city” on his website.
Earlier this month, Fulton resident Chad Ingold announced his mayoral bid on social media. Church Hill People’s News was the first to report it.
Ingold, 39, is a Richmond Public Schools teacher at Open High. He has worked for the school system for 14 years. His time in the classroom has instilled in him the importance of remedying the city’s poverty problem, and he wants to be a part of the solution.
“The local political system has not seemed to address the problem or even put a light on the problem or discuss the problem in any kind of productive way … The local politics to me have been really disappointing,” he said in an interview Thursday.
Ingold has never held or sought elected office. He admits his status as a political newcomer may lead others to overlook him, but with his bid, he says, he wants to “resurrect the spirit of citizen public service.”
In the last two weeks, Ingold says he has gathered about 200 signatures.
Tatnall and Ingold join Richmond City Council President Michelle Mosby and community activist Lillie Estes as declared candidates. Several others have expressed interest in running, including Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney, Councilmen Jon Baliles and Chris Hilbert, Venture Richmond’s Jack Berry, Richmond School Board Chairman Jeff Bourne and former state Del. Joe Morrissey.