By Brian Wheeler
Thursday, September 22, 2011
officially announced his withdrawal from the
Charlottesville City Council
race at a press conference held Thursday in front of City Hall. He endorsed two other independent candidates he said best represented his priorities.
“I have some financial bills and debts that I have to pay off,” said Long in an interview. “It has prompted me to start [working another job] over and above the job at UVa. I am not going to have the time and energy to mount an effective campaign.”
Long works in patient transportation at the University of Virginia Medical Center. He ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2009, coming in fourth behind Bob Fenwick and the two winners, Democrats Dave Norris and Kristin Szakos.
Three Democrats — Satyendra Huja, Kathy Galvin and Dede Smith — and now four independents — Scott Bandy,
Andrew D. Williams
and Bob Fenwick — are competing for three seats on city council in the November general election.
Long was joined at his announcement by fellow independent candidates Collins and Williams, whom he endorsed.
“This current local election is just as important as the 2008 election for President,” said Long. “All it takes us is 5 minutes to go into the voting booth to vote for a change in government and to get rid of the ‘Democratic machine’ here in Charlottesville.”
“[Collins] shares my passion for the homeless, on economic issues and also for public transit,” Long said. “There are differences — he goes a bit further than I would — I mean he is active in the Socialist Party, but having said that, a lot of what he says I agree with and I think he would be good for Charlottesville.”
Long said he was endorsing Williams, the only African-American in the race, because he was young, articulate and bright.
“I want to see the young people in this city get involved in politics…and I agree with him on a great many issues,” Long said. “And I want to address the fact that Democratic Party this year chose not to endorse an African-American candidate for city council.”
Long collected the required 125 petition signatures to place his name on the November ballot. According to the city’s deputy registrar, Dianne Gilliard, the ballots have been finalized and Long’s name will remain a choice for local voters.
“There will be a notice that he is not an active candidate in both the voting booth and in absentee ballots,” Gilliard said.