Sunday, December 8, 2013

Don’t stomp on Sam Rasoul’s hard-earned primary win

Sam Rasoul speaks after win.

Sam Rasoul speaks after win.

UPDATE: Sunday – Dave Trinkle posted on his Facebook page that he has no intention of running as an Independent for the HOD. (See post at the end.) It was confirmed by a paid supporter who asked to remain anonymous that Trinkle earlier had planned to wait and make up his mind on running as an Independent by next Wednesday.

Saturday: The third time was the charm for Sam Rasoul, a small business consultant. Rasoul ran for two years in an effort to unseat Congressman Bob Goodlatte. He challenged Mayor David Bowers in a primary. This time he squeaked out a win over the anointed Democrat Councilman Dr. Dave Trinkle.

Rasoul was CFO of Kissito Healthcare Inc. before becoming CRO for their International arm.

Earlier on primary day the NAACP held their 63 Annual Lifetime Membership luncheon at the Holiday Inn. All candidates were invited and all came. As the luncheon dragged on all the other candidates left except Sam Rasoul. Surrogate Joe Hancock spoke for Dave Trinkle and raised eyebrows when he called other candidates neophytes. Boyd had a surrogate speak well for her. Rosen had no surrogate but Sam Rasoul stayed and when he was called to the podium he spoke eloquently. The other candidates hustled back to the civic center to the shake hands of voters who had already made up their minds. Whether that impressed any voters at the luncheon to vote for Rasoul we’ll never know. It certainly spoke to his character.

Sam’s father, Ralph, when told by Sam’s wife, Layaly, that Sam had won the primary he broke down and cried she said.

It has been repeated by those who know him well that Trinkle was not running for city council again. His term expires July 1, 2014 with an election in May. When asked Saturday after Rasoul beat him by 44 votes if he was planning to run again for city council he said he wasn’t making that decision right now and left the door open.

Vice Mayor Court Rosen’s loss was staggering. He garnered the highest vote count to be Vice Mayor in 2012. His 462 votes paled in comparison to Rasoul’s 846 and Trinkle’s 802. Trish White-Boyd received 522 votes and serves her well if she decides to run for city council. While Freeda Cathcart after two failed attempts running for the 17th district House of Delegates is seeking a seat on city council.

Roanoke City Democratic Chair JoAnn Edmunds announces the count.

Roanoke City Democratic Chair JoAnn Edmunds announces the count.

The loss for Rosen and possibly votes for Trinkle could be attributed to the fact that the Republican precincts of Roanoke City are not in the 11th district. Lee-Hi precinct, a large and predominantly Republican precinct, is in the 17th district represented by Republican Delegate Chris Head. It also split the South Roanoke votes in the 11th district.

Both Mayor David Bowers and Senator John Edwards endorsed Trinkle. Maybe Roanoke voters have a mind of their own and don’t like a candidate shoved down their throat. He had the big money backers and was the only candidate that had TV ads and large full page newspaper ads.

My take is that the main reason for Rosen’s humiliating loss was that the Republican leaning districts like Lee-Hi, Garden City, Jefferson-Riverdale, Grandin Court and Monterey held Rosen’s vote total down, way down.

Another deterrent for many voters in the 11th district was Trinkle and Rosen’s vote on selling Huff Lane School for hotels. The Huff Lane voters and neighborhood groups sympathized with the chopping off of a piece of a neighborhood for more tax dollars than say National College (now University} would have generated. National’s bid came in below the minimum acceptable bid and was not publicly revealed until I made a FOIA request and examined the bids at the Economic Development Department.

See reporter Jordan Fifer’s article in The Roanoke Times and the sore loser, sour grapes of Mayor David Bowers and Dave Trinkle (considering an Independent run). A surefire way for a Democrat to get a Republican elected. Is Bowers holding a grudge because Rasoul challenged him in a primary in 2012?

Sam hugs wife Layaly after count announced.

Sam hugs wife Layaly after count announced.

Why did people vote for Sam Rasoul? He’s not well connected though he had a Union endorsing him and Pilgrim Baptist Church minister (independent of the church). Since I live in Northwest as does Sam Rasoul I can say I’ve never seen signs on Cove Road for different candidates. All candidates were represented. Northwest was split as was Southwest.

It wouldn’t be the first time Trinkle ran as an Independent only to be welcomed back into Democratic arms. He ran on an Independent “For the City” ticket with Gwen Mason and Alfred Dowe, Jr., and defeated the Democratic ticket of former Mayor David Bowers, former Sen. Granger MacFarlane and former council member Bill White, Sr. in 2006. All going  back to the Victory Stadium debate. Two popular Republicans ran that year also.

That Independent ticket had the backing of Delegate Onzlee Ware and Democrats Nelson Harris and Bev Fitzpatrick. Harris and Fitzpatrick were voted out of the Democratic City Committee and effectively the Democratic Party.

At a subsequent Democratic reorganization where David Bowers ran for chair and lost – they were all welcomed back into the Democratic fold. Bowers did the same thing as an Independent defeating Democrat Mayor Nelson Harris in 2008 and later Bowers was welcomed back into Democratic arms.

Though it is unclear what Mayor Bowers is crying foul about in Rasoul’s nomination win it is probably not about the process itself. In my opinion it has more to do with Court Rosen working behind the scenes siphoning votes from Trinkle. It was for certain that it had to do with Rosen and Trinkle voting for hotels to replace Huff Lane Elementary School.

Sam Rasoul shares the good news.

Sam Rasoul shares the good news.

It could also have been a drip, drip for Trinkle on “ethics” – a topic that did not come up in the candidate forum. Trinkle defended the tax-exempt bonds awarded to him for his once owned Shenandoah building until public pressure took its toll and he relented.

His delinquency in paying the Fork in the City restaurant’s meals taxes. His bounced checks to vendors and Blue Ridge Beverage that resulted in a warning from the ABC Board, a Warrant in Debt for rent due to the Market Foundation and last but not least complaints from employees of bounced paychecks while he himself was taking skiing trips and buying an RV said one employee.

If Trinkle stomps all over Sam Rasoul’s hard-earned victory and runs as an Independent it not only will jeopardize a Democratic victory but will speak volumes about his character, elitism and selfishness.

Rasoul will face Republican Sheriff Octavia Johnson in a Special Election on January 7. Johnson was defeated in November for a third term as sheriff by Democrat Tim Allen.


From Dave Trinkle’s Facebook page:

Let me state my position clearly. I do not intend to seek the 11th District House of Delegates seat as an independent candidate. Sam Rasoul has been chosen to represent the democrats in this race and I support his candidacy. I ask that my supporters do the same. I intend to eagerly help Sam prepare for the challenge ahead of him and will offer my expertise and knowledge whenever appropriate so he may serve as a strong voice for the Star City and Roanoke Region in Richmond. It is critical that we all work together as a team to ensure his success in the special election on January 7, 2014.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2013, Elections, Politics, State Politics

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments (4)

Steve Goodwin

December 8th, 2013 at 3:07 PM    

Excellent evaluation Valerie! As usual, you're right on top of the City shenanigans.

Dennis Hendrix

December 8th, 2013 at 5:33 PM    

Bowers is definitely finished in politics. If Trinkle runs as an independent, thereby giving the race to the Republicans, his careers as a politician and a resurant owner will be going down the tubes as well.

Elaine Owens

December 8th, 2013 at 6:21 PM    

Excellent reporting on this race, Valerie. I am pleased that you reported on the distrust (disgust?) of Northwest Roanoke toward the powers that be. The city is changing, and the" old guard" can't stop it. I agree with the comment by Dennis that David Bowers is probably at the end of his political career. After the bruhaha about their salary increase, City Council may undergo massive change come the next election. I may not live in the city any more, but it sure is fun to follow the politics.

Terry Huxhold

December 8th, 2013 at 8:11 PM    

As a hard working advocate for Sam Rasoul I was very disappointed in David Bowers comments. This does not serve the party well at all, but from this article it looks like both Bowers and Trinkle are only interested in their self interest and not that of the party or the people they represent. I was very surprised at the results, thinking that David Trinkle would come in dead last. It goes to show that money can almost buy you an election. Glad it didn't in this case. After all the money that David Trinkle has spent on this election, I wonder how many people that David owes will be screaming for their money again. I do like Court Rosen and was sad to see his fourth place finish in this race. Court will most likely get a vote for re-election, but never again for David Bowers or David Trinkle. Time for them both to go.

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