All News & Blogs
Endorsements not always clear-cut in mayoral race
View More Images from this story
Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 4/1/2008
In January, he stood on the steps of City Hall as Tom Tomzak announced he'd seek another term as mayor of Fredericksburg.
Yesterday, Tomzak's campaign sent a letter written by him to its e-mail distribution list and labeled it an endorsement.
But the Rev. Lawrence Davies, a former Fredericksburg mayor and pastor of Shiloh Baptist (Old Site) Church, maintains he isn't choosing sides in the May 6 mayoral election, where Tomzak faces a challenge from at-large Councilwoman Debby Girvan.
"I'm still endorsing both of them," Davies said, repeating a statement he made when asked at Tomzak's Jan. 31 candidacy announcement whether his appearance constituted an endorsement.
"When the current campaigns for the Fredericksburg mayoral election began earlier this year, I decided to remain 'neutral' toward either candidate," Davies wrote in his letter to Tomzak. "As I explained to your opponent Mrs. Debby Girvan and to you, I felt uncomfortable about choosing sides, having supported you both in the election four years ago."
In a phone conversation, Davies said he was supporting both candidates for different reasons.
In Tomzak's case, Davies praises his support for the Kalahari Resorts water park hotel proposed for Celebrate Virginia.
"Without Kalahari it is obvious that we would be in serious financial difficulty," Davies wrote.
Girvan has said repeatedly that she thinks the Kalahari incentives package is too big.
Davies released another letter yesterday praising Girvan for her role in raising money for the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and comments she made that spurred local philanthropist Doris Buffett to donate money to make the Dixon Park Pool free to city residents.
"Debby Girvan has been responsive to citizens' concerns over the past four years," the letter states. "Mrs. Girvan promised to get things done and she did."
When Tomzak and Girvan won their respective seats in council chambers four years ago, they shared many of the same supporters. So now that they're running against each other, many of those past supporters are having to make choices.
Former Mayor Bill Greenup said he has liked having both Tomzak and Girvan on the council, but he's supporting Tomzak for mayor.