HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – Two Democrats are in the ring duking it out in Portsmouth and Chesapeake for your vote, and they are names you’ll recognize.
State Sens. Louise Lucas from Portsmouth and Lionell Spruill from Chesapeake have been around for a long time.
Thanks to redistricting conducted by an out of state independent group, it put two long-time incumbents in the same district.
These two have 60 years experience between them, and one won’t be returning to the State Senate.
Between them they have raised almost $2 million dollars.
Top donor for each? Dominion Energy.
That has given about $867,000 dollars total to both candidates to put commercials on air like these:
“There goes Louise Lucas. Making sure you know she’s got a Hummer, but here’s what Senator Lucas doesn’t want you to know,” Lionell Spruill’s commercial states.
We sat down with Lucas and pointed out that Spruill said Lucas only cares about herself.
“He is desperate. What do you expect him to say? He is trying to save his political life, and he is going down,” Lucas said as she put up her fists as if to get in the ring.
She’s all decked out with boxing gloves and a Sunday-go-to-church dress. She shot the commercial on a Sunday after going to church, and she is wearing the clothes in the commercial.
“I’m Louise Lucas. As the leader in the Senate, I built the Democratic brick wall to stop Governor Glenn Youngkin and MAGA extremists who are knocking down a woman rights to choose.”
The truth is Lucas, not alone, had other Democrats helping build what is known as the Brick Wall.
Spruill’s ad brings up three issues:
“She voted with Republicans to weaken Obamacare (Source for the claim: SB 235: 4-22-20)
It is true. Spruill voted against Lucas on a procedural amendment.
“My main reason was pre-existing conditions,” Spruill said. “That’s what I wanted, and you wanted pre-existing conditions, and she voted no. … For me the whole thing was to include pre-existing conditions.”
We asked Lucas about that.
“Look every amendment, I voted against Spruill, I was voting for then-Governor Ralph Northam’s Amendment.”
That is true, and on the final vote, Lucas was in the majority vote 35-5.
“How many people were with Spruill? There were five,” Lucas said. Three-fourths of our caucus were wrong and he was right? Give me a frickin’ break.”
Spruill’s commercial against Lucas also claims that “she voted against stronger clean water laws that protect our kids from lead and arsenic (source: HB 1257 3-5-20)
That is true.
Lucas voted against it, and Spruill was for it.
“It was a procedural vote,” Lucas said. “It went to the House of Delegates, and the House approved it. They approved it and it never had the chance to come back to the Senate.”
The Commercial continues:
“And get this: Lucas voted against Stronger Safety Rules for Nursing Homes.” (Source: HB 5005 11-9-20)
Spruill added this bill was against priority COVID-19 testing for nursing home employees and patients “to make sure the nurses and the staff were protected. First, how can they take care of our citizens when those taking care of them are not safe.”
Lucas said that she “voted against the procedure to determine which one would move forward in the legislative process. That is all that was. It was about the one that moves forward.”
What Spruill’s ad doesn’t say is that he, too voted for the measure, in the final budget bill.
“And when Republicans came after Obamacare in my committee, I told them ‘Hell no.’ We worked too hard for them to take Medicaid expansion away. I am beating back the Republicans, and I won’t stop fighting.”
Spruill’s other issue with Lucas is that “you always hear her saying, ‘I and me and saying all that. For me it’s not about I or me, it’s about we and the people and not about I.”
Lucas responded to that.
“If he were winning, he wouldn’t be doing this,” Lucas said. “He is behind and that is why he has gone negative on me. I hoped he (wouldn’t) had done this, but game on.”
She said holding up her fists.
A few notes about the Hummer in the commercial against Lucas. It is not her hummer and is not the license plate that is on her Hummer. She claims she has not driven the hummer to Richmond in a year and a half.
She now drives a Lincoln Navigator, which could cost over $100,000 brand new.
Lucas is adamant – if elected and Democrats remain in control of the Senate – that she will become chairwoman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.
Spruill insists that is not a guarantee.
However, if that does happen, Lucas would be the first African-American to hold that position.