Newport News, Hampton mayors bet oysters and crabs on which city has higher census turnout

Newport News

FILE – this April 5, 2020 file photo, shows An envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident in Detroit. A federal judge on Thursday, May 21, 2020, agreed to impose financial sanctions against the Trump administration for failing to produce hundreds of documents during litigation over whether a citizenship question could be added to the 2020 census. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — In a true Tidewater-style bet, two mayors on the Virginia Peninsula are going head-to-head to see whose locality has the highest turnout for 2020 Census responses.

Mayor McKinley L. Price, of Newport News, and Mayor Donnie Tuck, of Hampton, made a bet to encourage more people to submit their self-responses to the 2020 Census in their respective cities.

Price will give his counterpart James River oysters if Hampton gets more responses. If Newport News sees a higher turnout, Tuck will hand over a dozen Hampton crabs.

According to a joint news release from the cities, self-response turnout in Hampton Roads and across the country are lower than anticipated. Community outreach plans were stifled by the coronavirus pandemic.

 As of May 25, Hampton’s self-response rate is 62.7 percent. Newport News is at 60.6 percent. 

The finish line is July 1.

“It’s imperative that all residents, regardless of where they live, respond to the 2020 Census,” said Price.  “For every person who does not respond, localities lose $2,000 per person, per year.  Mayor Tuck and I are committed to working together to ensure our cities are completely counted, so we have the funding and resources we need for the next decade.”

Check out the Mayors’ Census Challenge video for details on their competition.

“The more people talk about how Hampton is going to win this competition – I mean, how well the two cities work together on projects like this – the more they are reminded to fill out their forms,” Tuck said. “People may not think of themselves as residents if they are here temporarily, for the military or college, but they count for the Census.”

To respond to the 2020 Census, visit, call 1-844-330-2020, or return the census envelope received via mail. 

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