John Rowe claims victory in Portsmouth mayoral race

WAVY-TV 10 Photo
WAVY-TV 10 Photo

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Former city manager John Rowe defeated incumbent Portsmouth Mayor Kenny Wright Tuesday night in the 2016 Election.

“It’s a great day in Portsmouth,” Rowe said after his victory celebration.

Wright faced five challengers, including Rowe, on his mission to secure a second full term.

“We weren’t able to get our base out like I thought we should have and I take full responsibility for that,” Wright told 10 On Your Side. “This is a great country, this is a great city and when people speak, we all must listen and so the people have spoken tonight.”

Of the win, Rowe said, “I think the message is clear given the results of the election that they want change.” He continued, “We’re about unity. It’s a new day and we’re going to bring this city together and we’re going to start off on a new foot and it will be about unity and transparency.”

The other candidates for the office were Shannon Glover, Cliff Page Jr., Barry Randall and James Sturdevant.

With the majority of precincts reporting, votes for Rowe nearly doubled those for Wright.

Full Election Results

This race has been clouded by controversy. Mayor Wright faced a recall petition and even criminal charges.

On the Ballot: Portsmouth Mayor

During his concession speech Barry Randall said,

I told you all some months back that my goal for running for mayor was bigger than just myself. But it was to do it to give the people back their city. And I did just that. We did just that. So I am here tonight to concede the mayor’s race to John Rowe. I am here tonight to offer him my 100 percent support as my new leader in the city of Portsmouth.

Shannon Glover issued this statement Wednesday morning:

Thank you to all of my friends and neighbors for supporting my campaign. As we move forward, I look forward to working with all of our city leaders to Heal, Unite, and Grow our community.

Wednesday morning Rowe joined our Don Roberts and Katie Collett on WAVY News 10 Today. He said his priority is to bring civility back to local government.

Rowe went on to say he wants to ensure transparency. One of the first things he said he plans to do is revoke the policy forcing council members to pay a $1500 fine for discussing topics covered in closed sessions.

He also wants to add more time for citizens who want to address council at meetings — from three minutes to five minutes.

Rowe was endorsed by the political action committee, People for Portsmouth. That group had a clean sweep. All eight candidates they endorsed for city council and school board won their races Tuesday.

10 On Your Side’s Joe Fisher is working on a story about their impact on the Portsmouth election. You can see his story Wednesday night on WAVY News 10 at 11.