Photo by Gene Marrano
Despite a lopsided loss to Greg Habeeb in the 8th House District special election on Tuesday, Ginger Mumpower’s return to public life may not be over. “I’m not finished – I’m just getting started,” said the defeated Democrat contender for the General Assembly seat vacated when Morgan Griffith was elected to Congress. Republican Greg Habeeb won that seat on Tuesday by about a 2 to 1 margin, reflecting a GOP edge in the district that includes Salem and part of southwest Roanoke County.
Mumpower, a businesswoman (jewelry stores) and an elected member of Radford City Council at age 24, is not sure how she will be involved in political circles in the future; she did not flatly rule out a rematch with Habeeb in November, when the former Salem Republican leader will have to run again. “I will look for other opportunities to serve the people,” is all Mumpower would say on Tuesday, when she met with supporters at a pizza joint in Salem.
Habeeb raised about five times as much money as Mumpower did (he had a war chest of $130,000) and brought in Griffith and Governor Bob McDonnell to stump for him. Griffith in fact worked the polling places on Tuesday in Salem, handing out literature about Habeeb. “I felt like I was competing against multiple politicians,” said Mumpower.
She noted on Tuesday that she in fact turned down campaign funding offered by lobbyists, feeling that may have put too much pressure on her to look at issues a certain way. “I feel good about where am…. about my running,” Mumpower added. “I was trying to give voters a choice.” Mumpower said she would “work with Greg,” whenever possible to make sure the concerns of 8th District voters are addressed in the General Assembly.
She wants to see Habeeb be an advocate for small businesses and would like to see the new delegate be “open-minded” about funding for a public rail connection to Roanoke. “He’s not interested in discussing [the issue],” said Mumpower.
Former delegate Chip Woodrum, who first asked Mumpower about running in November, was proud of the fact that, “dollar for dollar we got more votes than they did,” but in the end that wasn’t nearly enough to overcome the Salem-based Republican political machine that has now made Habeeb a delegate at age 34.
“I can only offer who I am and what I believe in, then its up to the voters,” said Mumpower, who advocated “people, not politics,” during her bid for the 8th District seat.
“You can build on this,” said Woodrum, who was gerrymandered out of his district by House Republicans during the redistricting process almost a decade ago. “[Mumpower] ran a creditable campaign.”
Supporter Rich Cranwell said that Mumpower had to deal with blogs supporting Habeeb, blogs that claimed she had to declare bankruptcy when her Ginger’s Jeweler store closed in Roanoke. That was not the case; Mumpower just wanted out of the retail business at the time. “She’s a fighter,” said Cranwell, son of former House majority leader Dick Cranwell. He could visualize Mumpower back in political circles down the road.
“I do not walk away from this feeling regretful,” said Mumpower, who felt the push to create jobs was her most important campaign plank. “At the end of the day I felt good about who I am and what I have done.”
By Gene Marrano
Posted By Valerie Garner
Categories: Election 2011, Elections, Politics, State Politics
Tags: democrat, Election 2011, house_of_delegates