In a surprise victory, Tom Butt was elected Richmond Mayor tonight after a multimillion-dollar campaign by the Chevron Corporation failed to defeat Butt or elect a slate of candidates the giant oil company had supported.
According to tallies as of Wednesday morning, Butt received 51.43 percent of votes, beating his nearest opponent Nat Bates, whose campaign was supported by Chevron, by 16 points.
An ecstatic Butt, speaking from his headquarters, praised his campaign workers and marveled at the unexpected margin of victory: “I’ve never had such a bunch of people who are dedicated and worked so hard. It’s far away above anything that I’ve ever experienced.”
Butt’s election also helped bring victory to a slate of progressive candidates including Jovanka Beckles, Gayle McLaughlin and Eduardo Martinez, who each won a seat on the City Council.
The progressives’ sweep of city hall and the city council further means they’ll be able to fill Butt’s vacated council seat.
A number of observers said that Chevron’s aggressive spending may have backfired.
Uche Uwahemu, who ran third in the mayoral race, said, “The election was a referendum on Chevron, and the people obviously made it clear they did not appreciate the unnecessary spending by Chevron, so they took it out on the rest of the candidates.”
Thanks to Attorney David Benowitz.