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Alexandria candidates launch campaigns, Gaskins and Chapman lead in fundraising

Alexandria’s political scene is heating up, as a number of Democrat candidates formally launched their campaigns over the weekend.

City Council Member Alyia Gaskins held a packed kickoff at Indochen in Cameron Station on Sunday, following her opponent Vice Mayor Amy Jackson’s kickoff on Jan. 21 at Doyle’s Outpost in the West End. On Saturday, City Council Member Kirk McPike launched his campaign at Pork Barrel BBQ in Del Ray and City Council Member John Taylor Chapman did the same at Port City Brewing Company.

In her speech, Gaskins didn’t get into her positions on large projects in the city, like the Potomac Yard arena or the massive WestEnd development, but said that she is devoted to the nitty gritty of policies that maintain a quality of life for residents.

“I am running to be your next mayor to make sure that your city, that my city, that our collective city is a place that is safe, affordable, accessible, and one that truly and finally works for all of us,” Gaskins said.

A third mayoral candidate, Steven Peterson, will announce his candidacy to the Alexandria Democratic Committee on Monday, Feb. 5, followed by his formal kickoff later in the month.

City Council Members Sarah Bagley and Canek Aguirre are also running for reelection and have not announced when their kickoffs will be held. Aguirre is finalizing details for an event in Arlandria next month, he told ALXnow. Candidate Charlotte Scherer, a former Alexandria magistrate, is holding her campaign kickoff on Feb. 21 at Mount Purrnon Cat Cafe & Wine Bar in Old Town.

Chapman has been on council since 2012, and is the most senior member running for reelection. An Alexandria native who grew up in public housing, he said at his kickoff that doing City Council work is a “labor of love.”

“We have a thriving city,” he said. “It takes good policy, it takes advocating for resources.”

The other candidates with intentions to run haven’t announced when their campaigns will formally launch. They include Alexandria School Board Members Jacinta Greene and Abdel Elnoubi, West End Business Association President James Lewis, Del Ray’s Jesse O’Connell and Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority Resident Association President Kevin Harris.

The Democratic primary is on June 18. No Republican candidates have entered the race.

Campaign finances

Gaskins is leading the money race so far, raising $46,000 with $34,000 on-hand as of Dec. 31, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. Jackson has raised $16,900, and has $15,800 on-hand.

Longtime City Council Member Del Pepper endorsed Gaskins and donated $3,000 to her campaign.

“She has the ability to work with people she disagrees with,” Pepper said at the event. “You’ve got to have that if you want to be a good mayor.”

In the Council race, Chapman leads with fundraising, having raised $19,579 with $16,624 on-hand. McPike has raised $14,790, with $12,087 on-hand, followed by Aguirre, who raised $7,020 and has $10,716 on-hand. Bagley raised $3,320 and has $856 on-hand and Scherer is self-financing her campaign and contributed $900.

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