I like LeOtis Williams. I’ve supported him in the past when he ran for delegate and I’ll probably support him in future political endeavors. He’s a successful businessman, a philanthropist, and a popular figure in Suffolk. But he shouldn’t be in the race for the Whaleyville seat for Suffolk city council this year.
Given an electorate’s first, second, and third choice, our electoral system often elects the third. This year, that third choice will be Mike Britt, the overtly Republican candidate for Whaleyville.
City council candidates don’t run on party tickets in Virginia, but that rule has become nothing more than a technicality lately. Whaleyville votes almost 2 to 1 for the Democrat. But this year that 2 is going to be split between Williams and Curtis Milteer.
Curtis Milteer has been Whaleyville’s councilman for as long as most of his constituents can remember. Some people are saying it’s time for him to step aside and let someone younger take over. I agree, but Milteer isn’t stepping aside yet and he still has support among constituents who think he’s been good for the borough. I believe that support includes some Republicans. Milteer will lose some votes to Williams but he might still have enough to hold on to his incumbency. Williams, on the other hand, might get enough votes to beat Milteer, but he’s not going to beat Milteer and Britt. Too many Republicans are going vote for Britt and too many of Milteer’s loyalists will vote for Milteer.
And that’s going leave us with Republicans once again cheering and saying, “The people have spoken” as they seat a representative who doesn’t represent the people.
This is a redistricting year which means it’s a bad year to loose a borough to Republicans. Curtis Milteer has been doing a fine job for many years and I have faith he can keep going for a little longer. The chances of a Democrat winning if they split their vote is diminished, but Milteer has a better chance of holding on than Williams has of beating him and Britt together. My vote is too important to throw away. I’m voting for Milteer.
(note, I accidentally posted this while I was still drafting, and the earlier version had incorrect information)