PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Three incumbents faced challengers in Portsmouth's city council election, and early results seem to indicate only one will be re-elected.
Council members Chris Woodard, Bill Moody and Paul Battle were challenged by Donna Sayegh, LaKeesha "Klu" Atkinson, LaKesha "Onyx" Hicks, Mark Hugel, Nathan Clark, Ronald Diggs, Sharon Anderson and Vernon Tillage.
With 97% of the preliminary votes tabulated, Battle and Woodard both appear to have lost their re-election. Hugel and Tillage were the top vote-getters with 19% and 17%, respectively. It appears Moody will remain on council for another term, with 16% of the vote.
It's an embattled council that's faced several scandals in the last few years. The city is also on the verge of some big changes, with the Rivers Casino set to open in 2023.
Moody has served on the council since 1998. Ahead of the election, he told 13News Now he wants to “right the ship," and that his priorities were fighting crime, helping businesses and boosting trade and technical education programs.
This was Hugel's second time running -- he tried for a seat in 2020, also. He's a former Norfolk Naval Shipyard Commander said he shares the common concerns of crime, taxes and infrastructure, and has a five-point plan for public safety that includes better trade and technical education programs for high school graduates.
Tillage used to serve on the city's school board. He said that experience helped him understand Portsmouth's needs, and if elected, he hoped to recruit police officers, invest in education, attract and retain businesses, lower taxes and rebuild infrastructure.