With seven months until Richmond hosts the 2015 World Road Cycling Championships and a critical budget year for the City, Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones has decided to resign as chair of the Virginia Democratic Party, NBC12 has learned.
Jones plans to formally announce his decision Friday at a meeting with fellow democrats in Glen Allen. The Virginia Democratic Party confirmed the move before 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Governor Terry McAuliffe personally asked the mayor to serve as party chair in 2014, with Jones promising to serve in the position for at least one year. Next weekend will mark a year with Jones as chair, with no timetable for the mayor to now vacate the post.
According to sources close to the Democratic Party, Jones did not enjoy serving in a role that required going on the attack against Republicans. Instead, Jones thrived in the grassroots outreach and leadership engagement aspects of his position.
Party insiders say Jones was more hesitant to get in the weeds of the day-to-day political debates, unlike more boisterous chairs in the past.
Jones also made clear to Gov. McAuliffe in 2014 that his first priority was to govern Richmond. With 2015 a critical year to prepare Richmond for September's international cycling event, Jones decided to focus his attention on the race.
Pressure is increasing for Richmond to deliver a premier, well-organized sporting event, one that will have international prominence.
2015 will also be a year in which Jones needs to concentrate on the city's budget, and move past the saga of Richmond Schools Superintendent Dr. Dana T. Bedden interviewing for the vacant superintendent's job in Boston.
As of late Wednesday, there is no clear successor for Jones. A statement from the mayor on the subject is not expected until Friday's Glen Allen meeting.