PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Voters have to choose among six candidates for Portsmouth Mayor, in a contentious race that will decide whether Kenny Wright will keep his job.
Wright has held office for six years, the last four after he won the seat in an election in 2012.
Former city manager John Rowe, who was fired by Wright and a majority of city council, is the highest profile candidate trying to unseat Wright. Rowe has raised the most money by far, according to campaign finance reports.
Other candidates are likely to split the vote. They include Pastor Barry Randall, businessman Shannon Glover, sculptor Cliff Page and retired businessman Jim Sturdevant.
The challengers say Portsmouth needs new leadership, but Wright has defended his record, citing private investment in the city in recent years and an improvement in the city's bond rating.
Many political analysts believe a crowded field favors the incumbent.
"It's a divided field, I think it's quite likely that we'll see a situation that no one gets to fifty percent and so it will be a question of who gets the most votes across that field of candidates...that favors the incumbent," said Dr. Jesse Richman, an ODU professor.
Two members of city council are not seeking reelection. Curtis Edmonds and Danny Meeks are stepping down, while Elizabeth Psimas is seeking reelection.
Portsmouth voters will also decide on five school board seats.