BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE (Princess Anne Indy)
VIRGINIA BEACH – The Rev. Dr. Veronica Coleman, a Democrat and the founder of New Jerusalem Ministries in Virginia Beach, will challenge state Del. Glenn Davis, the Republican incumbent, in the 84th House District in November.
Coleman defeated Erin Edlow in an unassembled caucus held this afternoon at the Bow Creek Recreation Center. About 160 Democrats who are registered voters within the district made the decision.The 84th District, contained entirely within the city, includes communities such as Courthouse, West Neck, Landstown and part of Ocean Lakes.
Coleman, formerly a nursing home administrator, lives in the Buckner area. She served as president of the Virginia Beach Interdenominational Ministers Conference.
She also worked in ministry at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church for 20 years before starting New Jerusalem Ministries in 2010.
“I already serve people,” she said while voting was underway at the recreation center. “I just see this as an extension of that service.”
Coleman has campaigned on issues such as growing the Virginia economy, healthcare for all, Medicaid expansion and redistricting reform.
Coleman, reached by phone following the victory, said the contest with Edlow was one of ideas, not personality, and she said either of them would have made a better choice than Davis.
“I want to spend some time listening to constituents, finding out exactly where they are on the issues,” Coleman said. “I need to hear from them and hear what really is on their mind.”
She said she would campaign, in part, by showing how what citizens now have lines up with their needs and goals.
“Tonight I rejoice,” Coleman said. “Tomorrow I get back to work.”
Some people who attended the caucus also had national issues on their minds, given the result of the 2016 presidential election.
Mary Weber of Green Run, an Edlow supporter, said that Democrats had an opportunity in the coming general election for state offices.
“I really think the Democrats have a better chance than ever thanks to Mr. Trump and his friends,” Weber said.
The Rev. Dr. James H. Allen Jr. came to the recreation center to help support Coleman, who he said has a strong base due to her service in the community.
“She’s been working in this area a while,” said Allen, associate minister at New Hope Baptist Church. “The church does a lot in this area.”
“What we want to do is get the best candidate we can to beat the incumbent,” added the Rev. JoAnn Langston, associate minister at Rehoboth Baptist Church.
“Dr. Coleman can do it,” Allen said.
After the result was announced, Edlow released a statement of support for Coleman via social media.
“I have full confidence in Veronica Coleman’s ability to fight for our shared values this November, and I urge you to join me and support her this November,” Edlow wrote.
Dave Belote, chairperson of the Virginia Beach Democratic Committee, said in a telephone interview that he will certify the results with elections officials on Monday, May 22.
Belote said Coleman’s candidacy will mean a strong choice for voters in the 84th House District come November – a “formidable presence” in the race.